I’ve always been a happy person. However, now that I’m almost 39, I look back at my 20’s and realize I was happy on a surface level. Back then I didn’t feel a deep sense of fulfillment and joy. Being surface happy is sort of like always having sex with no orgasm. It’s still nice, but let’s face it, an orgasm is the best.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the steps I take now to ensure my true happiness on a deep level. Here’s what I’ve compiled:
- Happy women don’t apologize for who they are. We may have spent years censoring ourselves because we didn’t want to step out of the box we put ourselves in. Worrying about judgment to the point of playing small. Instead, we have come to terms with ourselves and who we are at our core level. And really embraced, “If you don’t like me, there’s the door”. It’s the most freeing and liberating thing ever.
- Happy women have made peace with their bodies. Notice I didn’t say, love their bodies. Body love is such a complex issue that I think it’s still a one-day-at-a-time thing. Simply making peace with our bodies—especially living in a culture that has raised us to feel fundamentally insecure—is a huge step in a direction that can give us immense feelings of self-acceptance and self-love.
- Happy women set and maintain healthy boundaries. We understand that “No” is a complete sentence. We understand that it’s okay if someone gets angry that we won’t go against what we want just to make them happy. We understand that sometimes those uncomfortable conversations are necessary in order and (sometimes with a racing heart and shaking knees) we have them.
- Happy women have made peace with their past. We aren’t afraid of therapy (in fact, we often love it). We understand what our issues are that have stemmed from our past but we no longer blame the people they have stemmed from or the circumstances. In other words, we understand that we are now grown-ups, and it’s up to us to take the responsibility of moving forward, try to let go, and create the life we want.
- Happy women love themselves unconditionally. Even when we screw up. Even when we get dumped. Even when we feel uncomfortable in our skin. We don’t put markers or mileposts on our self-worth and self-love. We love ourselves no matter what.
- Happy women practice self-care. We go to the doctor and dentist. We listen to our bodies and feed ourselves healthy foods and move our bodies in ways that honor our need for movement (aka exercise).
- Happy women nurture their friendships. Human connection is essential and female friendships that are strong, trusting, and healthy are imperative to your happiness. We make time for our friendships and let go of those that aren’t reciprocal.
- Happy women connect spiritually. Whether it’s going to church, connecting in nature, doing yoga or meditating, prayer, being in nature, or whatever it is that helps you connect to the spirit inside of you. That spirit that represents the larger Universe that you can express gratitude for and ask for guidance.
- Happy women have healthy sexual expression. We don’t feel shame about sex. We masturbate without feeling weird or guilty. We can talk about sex with our partners from a confident place. For happy women, sex is about pleasure, intimacy, getting needs met, and self-expression.
- Happy women listen to their intuition. We hear that whisper or feeling we have about something or someone and we acknowledge it. Personally, there are still times when I don’t act on it until much later, but I always know it’s there.
- Happy women express themselves creatively. We make time for whatever it is creatively that lights us up. It might be painting, acting, dance, writing, scrapbooking, designing, anything that fulfills that need.
I want to emphatically add that none of these things are easy all the time. These practices are just that, practices. Work on one thing and maybe another will fall by the wayside. Work on that one, and then you face a crisis and have to start over. What this all comes down to practice and consistency.