Choosing Happiness over Strength

Now that I feel myself becoming happier by the day (literally, the upward curve is insane!) – I’ve taken some time on reflecting how I got to be where I am now, and how I prevented myself from getting here a lot sooner.

These types of reflections – where you honestly and critically look at your behavior, not through a lens of defending your actions or justifying your emotions, but through a lens of objective observation and brutal honesty – can be equally painful as they can be enlightening. But as such: they’re damn important. Especially if, like me, you can share the outcomes and (hopefully) influence some of the brains around you as well. To prevent them from being the same dumbass you yourself have been on many an occasion. Voila.

So. In general – I feel like I know myself pretty well. I know how I tick, and why I tick the way I tick on most of my ticks. I’ve come to grips with a lot of the cogs that make me tick a little differently than most people tick, and I’ve found ways to handle the strange ticks when they’re ticking me away from normal ticks. All in all, I’d say I’ve got a good grip on who I am as a person, and what I need in regards to personal happiness.

However. One of the strange things about me, is that there’s often a hierarchy to the things I’m trying to achieve. And that hierarchy is often less-than-optimal. Strange. Stupid, even.

An example. I, like many other people, aspire to be happy. I aspire to be strong. I aspire to be loved and love in return. And I aspire to own a great number of fluffy small creatures. But in the grand scheme of things – I often find myself working harder to be strong that I do on being happy. And I sometimes place my own happiness before finding love with someone else. And when I get the chance to pet something fluffy? All of the other things totally fade to the background.

Thing is. Sometimes that order might be incorrect.
Or, were I to prioritize differently – I might sooner land in a spot where I have all of them at the same time. But looking at these aspirations, ambitions and (the correctness of) their hierarchy is often not something that’s easily done in the heat of the moment.

A painful example here is the past year of my life, and the heartbreak that ruled most of it. My priorities, as proven in the last month, had been all fucked up and thus prevented me from achieving maximum potential. Because these past few months you’ve all seen me putting ‘being strong’ before ‘being happy’ and well: That is a stupid hierarchy, because when you’re happy, being strong is a whole lot easier.

You see: my brain is kinda simple. It works very much in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ (uit het oog, uit het hart -out of sight out of heart- , as we Dutch say it more pungently) kind of way. So usually, when I’m experiencing a breakup, I cut these people (and anyone associated with them) from my life entirely. If I don’t see them? Hear them? Read about them or are otherwise confronted with their existence: they don’t actually exist as far as my heart and mind are concerned. Getting over someone is easy.

But when, during these past 6 months, the ex in question was constantly still making himself visible throughout my day to day goings-on (by loving content on my blog, or commenting on fake accounts, or people reaching out to me to report on his actions) –  getting over ‘it’ proved damn near impossible. Every time his name popped up, I was thrown back into vivid memories. Every time I heard ‘his’ phone sounds – I felt the instant pangs of loss.

And every time I would tell myself to get over it. To be strong, because strong is at the top of my ‘should be’ pyramid.

Blocking him felt like I would be losing somehow. So did banning him from commenting on the blog. And when several subtle hints that he wasn’t wanted didn’t work, I decided to just suck it up and not let him know how he was (still) getting to me. Constantly. Pretend that I didn’t notice. Act like I didn’t see. Fake that I was doing fine regardless of any attempts to counteract that.
Even though I KNEW I needed him gone in order to get over him – I placed more value in seeming and acting ‘strong’ over allowing myself a chance of happiness.

Until I didn’t.

And when I finally got up the nerve to step up and TELL him to back the hell off. To DEMAND that he’d stopped attempts at being in my life and to DISSAPPEAR from it entirely. When I finally broke the silence for that one conversation that I’d been dreading, but still got the result I needed – everything slid into place.

Because out of sight WAS out of mind. Out of sight WAS out of heart. Because when I stopped seeing his name every other day, I stopped thinking about him altogether. And when I stopped looking for past comments and picture, I forgot about them as a whole.

A heartbreak that had haunted me for months on end evaporated quicker than Olaf the snowman in the blistering summerheat. And as the weight of him was taken off of my chest and heart, I felt that instantly flourish back to life. Opening up to possibility, happiness and the man who now stole it right as it was bursting with new love to give.

So what I’m trying to say is that you need to be honest with yourself about your needs.
The point I’m trying to get across is that you should be aware of that hierarchy.
And what I’m mostly trying to convey is that you HAVE the power to change them both. Your needs AND their hierarchy ARE in your control. And as such you ARE the captain to your own happiness.

Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to be happy, instead of trying to be strong.
You’ll get to be stronger for it after. I promise.

24 thoughts on “Choosing Happiness over Strength

  1. This is really interesting. I’ll write a response post later. I’m really glad things are going so well for you now. That priority change seems to be doing wonders for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK, well I *was* going to write a whole post, but my brain is having an off-day, so I’ll be concise here instead.

      I guess I just wanted to say that I think you *did* display strength by confronting your ex. It’s just a different kind of strength, one that requires bravery. Massive well done, it can’t have been easy. And now… (hopefully) he’ll leave you alone and everything will heal.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks!
        I suppose you’re right, in a way, indeed. Hadn’t looked at it like that, thanks for the pointer 😀
        Hope your brain is doing better!

        Like

      1. Haha! OK, I thought that you would say the opposite, Z -“Nick, of course this is a thing!” And now I am stuck with a thing I’ve heard all of my life, but never really given a thought! Perhaps a good example is the image of ‘Rosie The Riveter’ – the WW2 poster girl – beautiful & tough, flexing her bicep, staring steel-eyed into the camera…more power to her elbow!

        …Your advice is good for me. But maybe I’m more Popeye The Sailor!
        🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good. I’m glad to hear that.

    I used to know this girl named… umm… when I’ve needed to give this girl a fake name for the purpose of anonymously telling stories, I’ve always used “Amber,” so I should start with a disclaimer that it’s a coincidence that Amber is also part of your full hyphenated name, and that me picking that name has nothing to do with you. These stories aren’t in my blog, because they happened much later, although I’ve thought about telling them anyway and pretending like they happened when I was a university student, because Amber’s maturity level is somewhere around that of a university student, probably lower.

    Anyway, I had two separate stints as Amber’s flavor of the month in the summer and fall of 2015. The second time was full of her canceling plans, backing out at the last minute, and standing me up. She genuinely was going through a rough time, and we eventually had a difficult conversation that it wasn’t the right time for her to be in a relationship with anyone right now, and that she cared about me too much to see me keep getting hurt. Then, a few weeks later, she was banging someone else, someone who stopped banging one of our other friends to start banging Amber, and Amber couldn’t understand why our other friend and I were both so upset at that situation.

    Anyway, she was still part of my life through the end of 2016 because we were running in the same circles of friends. Before all that happened, I felt like we were really close, even in the four months in between our two stints when we weren’t trying to be more than friends. After all that happened, she just never told me anything beyond the smallest of small talk. In early 2017, she ditched all of us and got new friends, and I think a new boyfriend too, but she would occasionally like my social media posts, and every 3-6 months she would message me on Facebook asking how I was doing. I would reply, I would ask how she was doing, and then I wouldn’t hear from her for another 3-6 months.

    In early 2018, I decided I was tired of that crap. Just hearing from her every 3-6 months was enough to get my hopes up that maybe we would at least be close again someday, if not more. I unfriended her on Facebook and unfollowed her on Instagram. My Instagram (my other one that I use with non-Wordpress friends) was public at the time, and every once in a while she would like a photo. In 2019, after some people from the one part of my life that I keep out of my social media found my Instagram and started sending me friend requests, I made it private… and within an hour somehow I had a follow request from Amber. I’m not sure how she knew it had been made private, I don’t know how Instagram’s formula works, maybe I started showing up on her suggestions now that I was private, but either way I didn’t accept.

    That was the last contact I had with her. I’m glad she’s out of my life; I don’t need that last shred of hope that we might be close again someday. Her actions clearly show that we will not, and that she isn’t worth it anyway. (However, if karaoke ever opens again here, and I ever happen to be at a karaoke bar and she walks in, I will go over to the DJ and ask if I can change my next song to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3umaLe37-LE

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh Zoe ‘E’ Love Is Not Just One ‘Cat’, One ‘Dog’, Or One Human

    Love Is A Feeling We Feel And Sense to Give

    And Share For Free With

    All

    or

    We Do Not

    Love Is Your

    Own It Belongs

    to No One Else

    Yet You To Care

    Give Share Free

    Best With Least Harm

    NoW Or Not SMiLes

    Once

    You

    Earn Love This

    Way As There

    Is no Welfare Love

    This Love Is A Muscle

    That Will Rise Mighty High With Wings For All

    Or Fall Only Lonely As Big As Half A Foot or So Deep hehe

    And This

    Is No

    “Logical Song Alone”..;)

    -Super Tramp

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Your own happiness (and knowing what actually makes you happy) is ALWAYS priority Number One. PERIOD.
    You can easily make a comparison to the Oxygen Mask-tutorial aboard a plane: first help Yourself. Only then you will be able to be there for someone else without putting yourself at risk.
    Although Maslow’s pyramid starts at a more basic level, when it comes to social interactions in general and love (for a partner or your kids) in particular, THE BASE-tier is being happy.
    Loved reading this post, mostly because I’m HAPPY for you! Gave me a smile (to know you’ve found your way again). Enjoy (life), Zoe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think a person should do all that they need to be in a better stare of mind. If blocking him that time made you feel better then you should have banned him from everywhere that time only. You would have gotten over much faster. And yes out of sight out of mind is definitely true . When you see people with whom you shared memories, it stirs up feelings which otherwise die a slow needed death.

    Like

  6. Beautifully written, Zoe.
    You’re the Captain of your own ship (which indeed requires you to KNOW the ship and to have the guts to steer it in any direction you want).
    Furthermore I think it’s the better option to speak out and tell someone about your feelings, whether it’s this ‘nagging thing’ or outright love or happiness that someone ‘brings’ about you.
    I know they say: ‘No reaction is also a reaction, and it’s a powerful one.’ Still I think (and prefer): speaking out is a powerful way of steering your own ship.
    Welcome to open waters and new horizons! Enjoy the Voyage 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh how I love your honesty, your brutal honesty about your experience and lessons. Reminds me of myself and that reminds me, I am not alone.

    Like

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