Two Kinds of Happiness
I’ve come to know two kinds of happiness. When they stand together, I am fulfilled and, well…happy.
I lived the good life in New York, a happy life, with everything a girl could want. But, in the quiet moments, I still felt an invisible emptiness in my core. It took yet another life crisis to finally decide to heal the emptiness and a heart-breaking journey began.
I desperately needed time to be alone to figure myself out. My father had recently died and my mother was very ill, so I had good reason to spend time in LA to help care for her. I left my partner, my friends and my life in New York of 12 years.
Suddenly, I felt free. In between caring for my mom, I reconnected with friends and family, and found time for some much needed fun. And, there were countless days I lay in bed and cried. Crying for the loss of my parents, for myself, for hurting my loved ones, for the life I was leaving, and because I knew, deep inside, that I had to trust that everything would be okay. That I would be okay. With a fierce commitment, support from friends and family, and some professional help, I got through it. It took a village.
Slowly, I rebuilt a new life for myself and pursued my own dreams. I later looked at my journey through what writer and life coach, Dr. Martha Beck, calls the essential self and the social self.
The essential self is the deep, knowing part of you that’s been with you all your life and always will be. It’s the same You that you saw in the mirror at 6 years old as you see now, the You who would be there no matter where you were born.
The social self is the part of you that is socialized into your particular family and culture. Our “social” personality develops as we grow and learn social behaviors and skills to stay connected, be accepted and succeed.
My social self was happy and safe. I had the money, lifestyle and financial security I always thought I wanted and needed. But, my own desires were so deeply buried I couldn’t even identify them. As I got reacquainted with my essential self, I found a deep well of self-love, undisturbed by the circumstances of my life. I had found the other kind of happiness and had truly come home.