Tea Time with Trish: What Are You Willing To Do For Your Happiness?
I currently have two amazingly brave friends who are willing to do whatever it takes to live authentic and happy lives. In the eyes of others their decisions may appear crazy…even rash, but they are determined to follow their path of happiness even though it no longer comes in the form of what society has told us happiness is.
I will refrain from telling their personal stories, since that is for them to tell (and I do hope to get them to share their stories here!), but what I wanted to draw your awareness to is asking yourself, “What am I willing to do for my happiness?”
Many people are coming to the realization that life is no longer working for them as it once did. We always get what we need at the time we need it, and over time what we needed in the past may no longer look the same. And it’s up to us to listen to the signs that a change is needed. If we don’t listen…well, the signs will just get louder.
I certainly know this was the case for me. I no longer was happy or content with my teaching career. I knew this for years, but did not know any other way. My fear of needing stability and security kept me in a place that was not feeding my soul. I was silently suffering. On the rare occasions that I did voice my feelings they were met with comments like, “But you get a pension, ” “ You have good benefits, ” “Teaching is such a great career when you have kids…you get summers off.”
I would then go back to trying to convince myself that I had it good. Don’t rock the boat.
Of course, those types of feelings can only go suppressed for so long before something has to give. I would wake up most mornings with an overwhelming feeling of wanting to cry; I put no effort into how I dressed or looked; I called in sick to work way too often; and though I’m not proud to admit this, my work seriously lacked. I put in just enough to get by, and as much as I had hoped I was covering this lack of motivation, it didn’t go unnoticed by my principals and follow teachers.
Guilt lurked every time I called in sick to work, but there were days I literally felt I just couldn’t do it. I recall numerous days driving to work, only to pull off into a gas station and call in for a substitute teacher (this was before the days of cell phones!).
This behaviour escalated to the point that I had my principal pull me into his office to ask if there was something wrong with me. Was I dealing with something that he needed to know about? This question did and didn’t shock me. What really hit home was when he said the reason he was asking was because I was calling in sick nearly as often as another teacher who was dealing with cancer.
Wow! Really? What was wrong with me? This, of course, added to my guilt, yet only curbed this tendency.
Eventually, I moved to another school and was working part time. This was okay for a while, but the discontent was persistent and I fell into then putting in minimal effort to get by. I was still the first to have my marks in, and every year I wrote personal notes to each student moving on to high school, but the occasional bright spots in my days were vastly overshadowed by the feeling I was meant to be doing something else.
Once again, it became evident I wasn’t hiding my low morale and work ethics. Even though it wasn’t vocalized in words, a suggestion from my principal to switch into a different role spoke louder than anything. Even though the suggestion was cushioned with the idea that this was really serving me, I knew in my heart exactly why the suggestion was being made….and honestly I couldn’t even blame him, so I didn’t fight it. I knew he was right.
I thought perhaps a change of scenery would help stop the persistent feeling of being stuck. My principal was going to be starting up in a new school, and many times principals had some control over being able to take teachers with them, so I decided to apply. As it turned out, in the first interview round I was the only one who applied. This principal came to talk to me, and let me know that he was going to hold off making a decision until another interview round came out. Once again, I knew exactly why he was making this decision…and I couldn’t blame him.
I had, however, applied for other teaching jobs, and I got hired by a different principal that I knew from my first days of teaching. This principal hired me on the spot because of his knowledge of my previous work ethic. I was glad for the change of scenery, but also concerned that this principal who knew me for the good teacher I could be, may now end up seeing my decline.
Well, that was the last year I taught. I couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t being fair to the principals, the students, nor myself. I took a leave, and from there began to focus my sights in a different direction, which eventually led to me finding what I was passionate about.
I then heard through the grapevine that when one of my previous principals heard I was no longer teaching and had decided to start a new career, he said, “Good for her. Some people are just not meant to be teachers.” He did not mean this in a derogatory way…he was being honest with what he saw. He was right. He knew it; I knew it.
The interesting thing is that all these “rejections” or comments on my performance didn’t even sting much. I had an initial reaction to them, but the initial reaction was short-lived because deep down I knew I couldn’t argue with their rationale. I couldn’t get angry; I saw what they saw…and I was numb to it.
At the time I was embarrassed to tell these stories, because I knew I was better than this. But regardless of that knowing, I just couldn’t dig down deep enough to pull up my boot straps and do better. I now know it was because I was being pushed to follow my heart. My higher self was screaming to me to listen up and start living the life I wanted.
It took a while, but I eventually listened.
Not all the changes that we need require that we take drastic action…however in some cases it does.
I believe that to easily take the required and inspired action, we first need to work on ourselves; to become more self-aware. From that place we are able to take the steps that are needed for our happiness to expand…knowing we aren’t victims of our lives.
For me, I used the time on my leave to put the focus back on me and what I wanted, and I then took baby steps in getting to that place of comfort that ultimately led to me resigning from teaching.
I am seeing that more and more people are no longer willing to settle and live a “good” life when they know it can be great. What are you willing to do to make your life great?
To learn more visit http://www.AbsoluteAwareness.ca
Trisha Savoia is founder/owner of Absolute Awareness, and creator of the Moms Who Want More Program. Through her programs, writing, and speaking she uses her skills and experience as a mother, teacher, & Clinical Hypnotherapist to mentor moms who want more out of their lives – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She teaches moms how to slow down, peel away the layers to find their true selves, and to listen to their intuitive sense so that they can create a sense of fulfillment, meaning, and happiness in their lives.