An Engagement, and Handling Happiness

I have an announcement to make: as of Thanksgiving Day, Max and I are engaged! This makes me so happy; I almost can’t stand it! I am so in love with my fiancé, and I’m excited to spend the rest of my life with him.

engagementWhat this brand-new baby of an engagement has made me realize about myself, however, is that I am one impatient and unmindful woman. Although I talk a lot about practicing mindfulness, I still have a long way to go.

The problem with being mindful is that sometimes you just have to sit in your emotions, feel your feels, and deal with it for a little while, even if that feels is happiness.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but for so many of us, we are conditioned to feel down, anxious, sad, fearful, or just bad in general, and we tend to push those feelings away by any means necessary. We try to feel numb rather than bad.

On the other hand, I worry something is wrong if I’m not worrying about something. I guess this is just so I have something to worry about, right? So when things in life are going right, when I feel happy, I have a hard time just sitting in it and allowing myself to feel good. My gut reaction when I feel anything at all is to push it away, to numb it out.

I’m learning, though. Planning a wedding is helping. How can you look at pages and pages of beautiful wedding porn on Pinterest and not feel happy? It’s full of flowers and babies in dresses and mason jars filled with seashells and lace and satin, and I’m going to hyperventilate just thinking about it. Planning a wedding also means surrounding myself with friends and family, most of whom never see one another. I get to imagine a million different scenarios and dresses and flowers and color combinations, and all of it is fun and exciting and beautiful.

Of course, the wedding isn’t about looks; it’s about celebrating our relationship. It’s important to acknowledge our feelings along the way. I love this man, and as hard as it is for me to admit, I know it’s ok for me to feel stressed and scared along with safe and happy when it comes to the event. It doesn’t mean our love changes. Emotions are fleeting; they don’t dictate our relationship.ring

I am impatient, as well. At times I wish this was all planned by someone else so I could just sit back and enjoy it (or hide?). Picking a venue, a color scheme, a dress, a theme: it’s almost as hard as finding the husband in the first place!* At the same time, I wish the wedding was happening tomorrow so I could just go ahead and make those big decisions NOW and let’s get on with the partying!

So what to do about all this? What do we do about anything in life? Take a deep breath, sit down in the middle of ourselves, and feel the feels. Try not to turn them off or push them away. These feelings usually tell us the truth about ourselves and the world around us, so use them for good.

*For clarification: This is an example of verbal irony. I never looked for a husband. I was just lucky enough to meet an amazingly handsome, talented, and hilarious man who I also happen to want to spend the rest of my life with. I happen to think that if you are “looking” for someone, you’re never going to find him/her.

**A note about the pictures: Picture 1 is Max and me at his parents’ house in Northern VA. We were clearly dressed for pictures.

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2 responses to “An Engagement, and Handling Happiness

  1. So thrilled for you friend!

    I’m obsessed with this researcher/writer named Brene Brown who studies vulnerability, shame and perfectionism and she writes beautifully about this feeling (having a hard time allowing yourself to be happy, worrying if you’re not worrying.) I found a little snippet that was similar to a longer theme in one of her books: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Catastrophizing-How-to-Feel-Joy-Without-Fear

    Enjoy your joy, my sweet friend!!

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