Inner Happiness

It’s a term that has come up an insane amount of times in the past few days. Friends, therapist, myself, Google. I Googled “Inner Happiness,” because that’s how desperate I was to find a meaning I could work with. Inner happiness has been missing from my life for a long, long time, since before Dawn passed. I’ve talked about the last 18 months of her life and how difficult it was to deal with, be it from the pain nobody could seem to diagnose or treat, or the deep feeling that the battle was being lost.

Since she passed, I’ve found my happiness in things outside of myself. I’ve found it in doing things I hadn’t done much my whole life. Happiness, to me, was in staying up late, or missing work. It was in leaving my children with others at the drop of a hat, or at the bottom of a bottle. It was in relationships with wonderful, yet unattainable women.

I’m not saying I won’t find happiness in some form of these things, but to the extremes I’ve been using them, it’s not been healthy. It’s immensely easier to take advantage of these things and enjoy the feeling they give me than it is to recognize how they actually affect me when they were used in excess. A good friend brought this point to me and I pretty much refused to listen, but after a couple of days of thought and looking within myself, I know she’s right. Maybe that makes things easier for me – simply accepting it as unhealthy on that level.

I suppose this is rather bland and ambiguous, but specificity isn’t the point. The point is I didn’t manufacture my own happiness. I made everybody else generate it for me, which isn’t fair or healthy.

Once I came to this realization, I wondered what used to make me happy. The most obvious and most difficult to remedy is the happiness I got from companionship. So let’s push that aside for now. The other things that made me happy, that I enjoyed, came to mind as such, in no particular order:

The boys
Outdoors
Diet Coke
Cooking
Beer
Cigars
Video Games
Flight Simulator
and now – exercise

Yes, beer is on that list. I had a couple at lunch yesterday and stopped long before it was a problem, and it felt good to feel that control again. I suppose it came from the realization that quitting drinking wasn’t what made me happy; quitting drinking before I was drunk was what made me happy. Unhappiness came in excess, yet again. I’m still vigilant and cautious about alcohol, and so are my friends in my stead.

I’ll move forward with these things in mind and try and continue to work these things back into my life instead of what I’ve been doing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve gone too far, hurting myself and other people along the way. I hope I’m forgiven by those I’ve hurt, but I understand if I’m not. I know now I don’t have carte blanche just because I’m not married anymore, and I feel terrible about the disrespect I’ve given. I can cultivate a new, happy life that is fulfilling, fun, and most of all respectful to the people who mean the most to me, no matter where they are or how they fit into my life.

Most importantly, I need to be patient and let time do its work. It’ll get better. It already has started.

2 comments

  1. Cathie Gentz says:

    I found “happiness” was a condition that waxes and wanes so I look more for inner peace or joy. That comes with God, your dad, you and your sisters, those 4 grandchildren, my pets, my home, personal achievement and being able to help others. Family and friends have given me that too. It’s a feeling I have at all times, no matter what conflicts I’m dealing with and, in fact, those things help me get through those challenges. You’re right about patience because you realize you have that peace best when you’re not working at it. Don’t deny your spirituality in whatever form it comes either. It doesn’t have to be in a church on the first day of the week. I’m not much of a church goer – but I pray to him and talk to him and look for his presence every day. You’re search seems to be on the right track, Mike. I think you’ve come a long way this past year.

  2. Cat says:

    i believe in you. <3

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