It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere. Agnes Repplier
One of the things I take pride in is taking responsibility for my own happiness. As much as I love the people in my life, none of them get tasked with making Jenny happy, which is a good thing because I believe they couldn’t succeed anyway – happiness and confidence come from the inside out, not the other way around. It’s my own job to decide whether I’m good enough, up for the task, and having fun.
Which is why it surprises me sometimes to look up and realize that I’m leaning. I caught myself fishing recently, looking to have others tell me that I’m on the right track and that I’m going to do fine. It’s normal as I’m in transition, but it doesn’t fit with my idea of myself. Usually I wait until the decisions are all made and I’m settled and confident of my direction before I tell anyone what I’m up to. I don’t let them see me “making the sausage” as the saying goes – and by then I’m not seeking their reassurance because I have things figured out. The downside of this is that I can seem aloof and disconnected. So I decided to try another tactic for the career change and cross-country move I’m currently staging; I asked for advice and opinions – and didn’t realize how much I wanted everyone to prop me up.
It’s just a different dynamic, but one that challenged my own sense of independence. It’s a big question, how much others’ opinions should factor into our own happiness, and one that everyone answers differently. Should we need reassurance? Or should we wean ourselves from it and simply be grateful if it comes our way? How much of our connection with others depends on the leaning?