One of the biggest life lessons, I've learned is that I will not be happy all of the time. I will be human. When I let go of striving to be happy 24/7, I accepted what is and found more inner peace.
When I was about 11 years old, I remember asking myself what the point of life was.
I know, deep right? Some angsty pre-teen days just trying to figure out the reason we are all here—inspired by melodramatic music (looking at you Mayday Parade and All Time Low).
I remember answering “to be happy.”
Satisfied with this answer, I hopped into bed and slept peacefully without realizing that this would be a vivid snapshot in time I would always refer back to. Whenever I questioned my life, I would think back to this moment and say “remember, you figured out that the goal is to be happy!”
It’s only now that I’m realizing that I was missing a very important part of this answer.
All this time, I was striving to be the perfect woman. You know, the one who has it all together. The one who wakes up at the crack of dawn to get in an intense workout, followed by having all of the energy in the world to cook a healthy breakfast, slays her work day doing what she loves as she grins heartily, and happily navigates all of her relationships without a single conflict. At least, this is how she looked to me in my mind.
I strove to be this person. Yet, I always came up short. I would wake up at 5:45am to get in the intense workout, make myself breakfast, enjoy aspects of my job, maintain lovely friendships, yet it was never enough. I always still felt somewhat empty. Why wasn’t I fulfilled?
I began to resonate deeply with the song “Satisfied” from the musical Hamilton. There’s a lyric that is sung multiple times that says “I will never be satisfied.”
At first, I would always joke that this song is the epitome of my life and then laugh about it.
Through the laughter, I realized the sad truth that this struck my core. Maybe the song is right.
I will never be satisfied.
Yep, that’s me. Exactly. To a T. I guess there are people out there that are insatiable and that’s just who I am. This was a sad realization, and I tried hard to find evidence that this wasn’t true. Ironically enough, by searching for situations that lived up to my expectations, it exacerbated how many things I found that didn’t live up to the insanely high bar I set.
It wasn’t until I started reading Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed (a must read!) that I realized I am not here to be the perfect woman. She discusses that she always felt broken chasing this ideal, like how I always felt unsatisfied. It’s because it isn’t achievable.
Glennon, a huge idol of mine, goes on to discuss what if we let go of trying to be the perfect woman and just accept ourselves as the human that we are.
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Something clicked after reading that. Aha!
What if the main goal of life isn’t to be happy, it is to accept being human?
Being human means feeling all of the emotions (even the unpleasant ones), making the mistakes, learning the lessons, taking up space, and, most importantly, loving to the fullest.
Striving to be happy all the time is impossible in our human bodies. Of course I was always unsatisfied. I was chasing after the wrong goal.
We are here to be human.
If embracing my humanness is my goal, then even in my darkest hour where I feel grief, sadness, anger, pain, misery, or if I perceive myself to be a failure, I will know deep down that I am indeed succeeding.
I am human, and I will never have everything all figured out. In fact, as a human, I am constantly learning and evolving even when I think I have my head wrapped around it all.
And although I will never be the “perfect woman” who is constantly beaming with happiness, I am pleased to tell 11-year-old me that I am content with my humanness.
I am satisfied.
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