About five years ago a colleague, whom I also consider a friend, shared with me how she had reached a point in her marriage when she was ready to walk away from it all and they had been married at the time for over 10 years.
This woman is smart, confident, successful, attractive, well-liked and a leader in her community. She’s a best-selling author, motivational speaker, success coach and loving mom. One would easily assume that based on all of the positive attributes in her life that her marriage was equally fulfilling, but that wasn’t the case.
She said that as the years went by in their marriage they had begun to grow apart. Being the success coach that she is, she was always ready to take action and move things to the next level, her husband was not. He was comfortable with the familiar and saw no need to change. This caused her spirit to be uneasy because part of her wanted to grow, blossom and expand, yet another part of her didn’t want to do that if it meant putting her marriage in jeopardy. So for a long time she went against the desires of her spirit and stayed in that “comfortable place” – which honestly was no longer comfortable – for the sake of her marriage.
She said for months she wrestled with the thoughts in her head and heart about whether she should stay in her marriage or leave. She thought about her children, her husband, their families and friends. She played out the scenario of splitting assets, moving into a new home, joint custody and therapy. She meditated and prayed for guidance on how to handle this situation so that it could end with the best possible outcome for everyone. Finally, she decided that she had to do what was best for her.
The decision didn’t come easily she said. She felt guilty about how her choice to put her needs first would affect others. But she also had to remind herself that her intentions were not to purposely hurt anyone else but to make herself happy…even though hurt feelings would naturally be a byproduct of her decision. Yet in the end, she decided to follow the call of her inner spirit to grow, blossom and expand, even if it meant doing those things without her husband. In her mind, divorce was just around the corner and she was preparing for it.
She slowly began doing things that honored her and made her feel good. Some things were small and simple but they meant the world to her. The biggest shift in her decision to honor self however, came in the form of an invitation to a party.
Every year she and her husband were invited to a costume party that friends of theirs held at their home. Every year she wanted to go….he didn’t. Every year, they wouldn’t attend, only to hear how much fun they had missed. This particular year she had decided to leave her husband in order to make herself happy, the invitation arrived in the mail. But this time instead of “asking” him if they were going, she “told him” that the annual party was approaching and that she was going. That was that!
Weeks went by and her husband hadn’t said two words about the impending party. She had already purchased her outfit and was extremely excited about going. The day before the party she was out running errands and had called home to check on her kids. Her oldest, a then “tween”, answered and they chatted a bit then she asked, “Where’s Daddy?” Her child replied “Out looking for something to wear to the party tomorrow.” She was stunned!
Not only did her husband find something to wear, he attended the party and together, they had a ball. From that point forward their marriage experienced a dramatic shift and they rediscovered each other and remain happy. But here’s why….
When she had made up her mind to make herself happy and leave her husband, she started putting herself first. A change was taking place within her. They were small, subtle changes but big enough to cause a ripple in her husband’s awareness. And as she told me, “Kitara, when I stepped into the woman I am supposed to be, my husband stepped up to keep up.” And she went on to tell me that a male mentor of hers told her “When you stop being a little girl and become a woman, your husband will stop being a little boy and become a man”.
Her husband realized that his wife was growing to a new level. She was playing big and if he didn’t step up his game he was going to lose her. So instead of denying what was going on, he embraced it full on and did what he needed to do to save his marriage. Could it have gone the other way? Of course! She could have ended up divorced – but she still would’ve been happy because she was honoring herself.
The whole point here ladies is that so long as it does not intentionally hurt another or yourself, it is okay to do what you have to do to make yourself happy. In fact, you should do what makes you happy! Yes, hurt feelings may be a byproduct of your decision, but purposely hurting another is not your intention, experiencing joy and answering the call of your inner spirit is.
Many of us teeter along saying “I wish I were happy” or “I just want to be happy!” but we haven’t truly decided to be happy. Make the decision to be happy. Step into it, embrace it and own your happiness. It is yours after all and no one else can truly make you happy for true happiness is found within. So do something good for yourself….do YOU.