Everything Miz Meliz, The Happiness Project

Love & Marriage

My husband and I have been married for twenty years now.  We are totally in love and we are a “happily married couple” in every sense of the phrase.  When people ask me how we stay happily married I usually give them the spiel about communication and being friends first, it takes an equal partnership, yadda, yada, yada.  All of those things are true of any healthy relationship.  With close friends, family and even at work things run smoothly if you follow one rule – If you don’t understand something, ask.  I believe what makes a happily married couple is two people who are happy to begin with that are willing to stay together.

There have been plenty of times when either one have us have been unhappy for one reason or another.  So far, we have been lucky to never be unhappy at the same time.  Sad at the same time, yes. Distressed, worried, yes.  We have always been able to support each other through difficult times.  Generally, my husband is a pretty happy guy!  When he has been unhappy about our marriage or about me, he was willing to work through it and he has always been very devoted to me.  Even at the worst of times, I have supported him and been able to stick with it.

I am an optimistic person for the most part.  I have suffered through clinical depression.  When I feel like the world is closing in on me, I begin to count my blessings and being married to this man is always at the top of the list!  Gratitude goes a long way on the path to happiness.  When I am truly happy with myself and my situation, my love flows freely.  When I am able to truly love, and be loving, the feeling spreads to those around me.  My beloved responds and showers me with his love.  The root of my happiness starts with what is in my own heart.

Our Wedding Day, April 11, 1992

My husband is my “true love.”  But, I have been in love before.  I had a crush on an upper classmen in high school and after he graduated, he came back to volunteer!  I was determined to get a date with him.  We became friends and did start dating.  I was trying to play things cool and was open to dating other people.  I thought I was doing the mature thing and that would keep him interested.  I had already begun dating the person I eventually married.  My big crush took the “high road” and stepped back to let me decide what (or who) I really wanted and he joined the Air Force.  When he left he said, “You’ll always be my girl.”

We wrote to each other for awhile and as would be expected, my relationship with the boy who stayed around got stronger.  After awhile, I lost touch with my crush.  But, in my heart, I was waiting for him to come home to me and sweep me off my feet.  Instead, I got a call from him to tell me he was getting married.  I was heartbroken!!  I asked him, “If we had kept writing to each other would I be the one making the wedding plans?”  He said simply, “You will always be my girl!”  That didn’t help!

Every few years, he would come home to visit family and friends.  No matter where I was living or working, he would find me.  Many times I would get a call out of the blue and it would be his deep distinctive voice saying, “Hey girl.”  My heart would sink.  I would get that tingly nervous feeling.  We would get caught up on each other’s lives.  When I saw him, I always had a feeling that I lost him when I had the chance and that he came around to see me because he wanted me to make a move.  I never had the nerve.  Besides, I was married to a wonderful guy!  Then, as both of our families grew, we lost touch again.  I hadn’t heard from him for a very long time.  We were friends on Facebook, but I really didn’t even follow or keep up on him anymore.  He had stayed in the Air Force as a career and had travelled the world.  It had been about six years since I heard from him.  Then I got a call at work.

He had retired, was divorced, and was planning to move back to the area.  What was that middle part?  And he wanted to know if we could get together when he was in town.  Was he back to sweep me off my feet?  It’s been twenty-five years since we had a romance and I was still thinking he could be coming back for me.  Well, not really.  The teenage girl trapped inside me who was still pining for him heard that he was coming back.  The sensible me did the right things and asked questions.  But that sneaky little girl was still curious!

He came to my office and took me out to lunch.  He was still handsome and interesting and was everything I had remembered him to be.  He told me all about how he and his wife split up.  He told me he needed to take care of his ailing parents. He asked me about my life, family and work. We talked for hours.  I decided to ask him what made him think of me and if he still had any feelings for me after all this time.  To be honest, I have no idea what he said.  He spoke.  It sounded positive. He said the right things, tactfully, sweetly, honestly.  I am sure of it.  But all I could think about was, “What the heck do I think I am doing?”

The adult me answered, “You are flattering yourself.”  True that!  I needed it and deserved it, everyone does!  After all, it was flattering.  He was coming for a visit down memory lane and he thought of me. But it definitely wasn’t at all because he wanted to see if I was willing to take him back after all these years.  Don’t think it’s because he is that much of a stand up guy that he wouldn’t break up my marriage.  Of course he wouldn’t.  But I’ll never know for sure.  No, it is because he was already seeing someone!!  It turns out that he was networking for job connections so that he could move here to be closer to his girlfriend!

I just want you to know that all of this nonsense taught me some lessons.   First, love never dies.  First love, school girl crushes, puppy love, it lasts as long as you remember how it felt to love someone.  Like a flower, you can tend to it and it can take root and grow and grow and eventually branch into new directions and last forever.  Or, you can pluck it and put it in water.  It may last awhile that way and be beautiful.  You can preserve the memory of its beauty and press it in a book.  It will remind you of your youth and how you were once someone’s girl.  But if you take it out and touch it and try and make it grow after all that time, it will crumble and fall apart.  Some things are just not meant to be.

That doesn’t mean it was a waste of time!  The other thing I learned is that an idea trapped in one’s mind fades away quite easily.  All you have to do is let go.  It took seeing him again to make that happen.  It took thinking about it and planning and evaluating all the what if’s and could I evers.  Could I have seduced him and begged him to come back to me?  Would he have?  Could I have a chance to start over?  I guess not or I would be writing a heated love connection story right now rather than giving advice on what to do about unrequited love!  The point is, I let go of the pipe dream.  I was the stand up girl.  I was in love with my husband.  I did not go looking for this guy!  I helped him get an interview at my work and put in a good word.  I was relieved when he didn’t get the job.  I’ll bet my husband was relieved, too!

Our 20th Anniversary

Love & Marriage

The Happiness Project

Chronically Distracted

May 1, 2012

by Melissa Reyes

http://mizmeliz.com

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

My Authentic “Bad Ass” Self

AYWM 9: “Authenticity: Emphasizing What Makes You Different”

In the past few weeks I have evaluated my strengths and looked at the things that I am passionate about. This week I am thinking about what it means to be authentic and what makes me different.

I agree with C.A. Kabu who says that authenticity is a funny thing. She says, “You know it if it’s there, and you definitely know when it’s not. Defining authenticity requires much introspection. You have to think about your character, your values, your strengths, and their intersections. Eventually, you realize that the definition of authenticity is perhaps simpler than you expected. You can, for instance, reach the conclusion that being authentic is actually related to having a sense of who you are and sharing it with the world without reservations.”

Considering this helped me to determine why I should care about being authentic, how I can fully embrace my uniqueness, and how my life can change when I remain true to myself.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a kinda “been here, done this” feeling as I go through these exercises. I have been enjoying going through old journals and comparing my perceptions of my life from ten years ago to now. Some of the questions I asked myself back in 2001 are very similar to the introspective I am working on now. What fascinates me most is that even though I am most definitely in a different place now than I was back then, and I have changed and matured in many ways, the core of my being, my beliefs and values are very much the same. I do live an authentic life. It is when I lose sight of who I am and who I strive to be, that things get difficult.

In 2001, I asked myself the following questions at the beginning of a journal that I called. “I Love My Life.”  By answering these questions, I was able to determine who I was and who I wanted to be.  I believe this is when I embraced authenticity and learned to love myself.

  • Is my overall outlook on life marked by hope and optimism?
  • Are there things in my life that I am passionate about?
  • At the conclusion of a day or week, do I often have a warm sense of satisfaction about my accomplishments and contributions?
  • Can I become very still and experience a sense of peace?
  • Do some parts of my life bring me a healthy sense of pride?

     

    What makes me different from all the rest? I see beauty in everyTHING!


You Are a Snowflake, Right?

By Karen Caterson

Hi, Snowflake. You are a snowflake, right?

We all are! I mean, we’re all unique, beautiful, one-of-a-kind—just like snowflakes.

Of course, all of us gorgeous, individual snowflakes are also part of our culture, our society—our SNOW.

And there are a lot of wonderful things about SNOW. Joining with other snowflakes can be fun (think snow forts, snow fights, snow angels, and snowmen).

But…

In our culture most of the emphasis is on the SNOW, way less on our uniqueness— our individual snowflake beauty.

We can even lose our snowflake-ness to the SNOW.

We all are snowflakes (unique and beautiful), but we’re not always comfortable with that.

Sometimes even thinking about our snowflake qualities (our differences, our beauty) makes us squirm—we can feel more like a flake than a snowflake.

But knowing our differences—and living them is what makes us authentic. And being authentic leads to making a difference in the world as we share our unique offerings!

So, how do we emphasize what makes us different—when we’re not always comfortable with our uniqueness (our snowflake-ness)?

It starts with awareness, mindfulness.

We can allow ourselves to get curious about the times when we feel or think differently than SNOW (than whatever is status quo at the time).

Many of us really enjoy connection, so we intuitively look for ways that we’re like others—ways we agree.

Purposely looking for how we think and feel differently can seem very odd, but continued mindfulness and curious reflection about our differences (our uniqueness) will grow into being more comfortable with our snowflake-ness… and that will grow into our snowflake beauty being emphasized naturally.

There is no one in this world that is exactly like me. My thoughts and feelings are entirely my own. Sometimes I feel like there are no original ideas. I strive to be different. I want to stand out. I want to shine. If I have an idea, I Google it. I am always disappointed, but not surprised, that someone somewhere has already thought of it. As a young person, I thought I was a trend-setter. Truthfully, I was trendy. But I spent a lot of time with people who weren’t so they thought I was the fashion-forward person. Did that make me a poser? No way! I always knew what I liked and I was not afraid to be me. I think that is what being authentic means. Not being afraid to stand up for oneself and being courageous enough to show your true colors.

I would say that I am off the charts when it comes to living my life authentically. Do I sound conceited? Why shouldn’t I have a sense of self-pride? I just did some serious soul-searching about what makes me unique and special. I can’t get over my bad self right now! I am on this! Right? Well, okay. The truth is sometimes, it fluctuates. I feel that lost feeling, like I am feeling my way through a forest. Things don’t always go my way. I resist or try to control things. I fall short of my potential. I start to listen to that critical inner voice. When I remember how good things truly are and I remember my focus, I can find my path fairly easily.

Right now the path is illuminated with those new bulbs that are supposed to last six times as long as the old kind and be more energy-efficient. . . and I see where I am going. It’s a lovely road that includes a lot of fun stops along the way. In six months from now I would like to be writing regularly and maintaining my blog while maintaining the balance of managing a home with three teen boys and working full-time. My goal for this period of time is to give each area of my life my all. Mostly, I want to be happy, keep up the energy that I am experiencing now, and stay true to myself. And as C.A. Kobu says, “When you are in touch with who you really are and welcome your authentic self with open arms, your life acquires a different and marvelous flow, and you feel oh so good!” Oh yeah! I sure do!

Visit Karen Caterson at Square-Peg People

See C.A. Kobu flourish at http://wakeupandflourish.com/

Join A Year With Myself and explore your authentic self . . . http://ayearwithmyself.com/

Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

I am Great

I was standing in a waiting room of a doctor’s office with my parents and my three little boys.  My mom was seeing the doctor.  My dad and I were entertaining the kids.  It had been about an hour when my mom finally came out.  As we stood at the counter waiting to make another appointment, I saw this posted to the wall in the receptionist’s workspace.  It was an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of paper that read, “I Am Great” and I read it out loud to my kids and my father.  When the clerk came to her desk I said, “I love that. I really needed to read that today!”  She said she wrote it when her kids were small.  Then she did a remarkable thing.  She took it off the wall and gave it to me.  Thank you Ms. Elizabeth!  Where ever you are!

A Year With Myself, Everything Miz Meliz

Truth is Essential

Ronna Detrick says, “Self-love is something we hear about all the time. And we feel pressure to do it—all the time, perfectly, proficiently. But pressure is not consistent with self-love, whether self- or other-imposed. Rather, it comes through grace—and permission, time and patience.”

“Love is patient, love is kind… It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (from 1 Corinthians 13).

As Ronna puts it, “These are the nourishment and sustenance of ever-growing self-acceptance and self-love; of telling and living your truth.”

These unedited, uncensored words and feelings are my truth:

I will take time to practice grace. I give myself the permission to live my truth. I give myself the time. I have all the time in the world. I will be patient with myself.

If I extended myself endless patience and kindness, I would feel calm and totally free.  I could do no wrong!  There would be no clock timing me. No deadlines. No worries or concerns.

I would never ask myself, “Am I doing the right thing?”  or “Do I even know what I am talking about?”  I would never be hard on myself or feel badly about what I am doing or not doing.

It wouldn’t bother me that the dishes and laundry pile up.  I wouldn’t stress about how the bills are going to get paid.  Or, if I need to exercise more or watch my diet.

I don’t know if I could handle just gliding through life that way!  Would it seem like I had no cares at all? No, because I do care.  Caring about these things makes me me!

Endless patience.  That means no limits and no constraints.  Just time.  All the time in the world.  All the “eventuallys” would slip away and become “whens” rather than “if I evers”.

Endless patience.  That means having faith that it will be.  Just knowing it will be.  Trusting myself that it will be.

And Kindness.  Instead of putting restrictions on myself and feeling bad and guilty, I would just be kind, understanding and loving to myself.

It really boils down having faith in myself and trusting that I am responsible and I will be what I need to be and do what I need to do when it counts.

If I were to let go of my internal record-keeping, the laundry list of all that I’ve done wrong, and all the places in which I feel inferior, sub-par, or less-than, I would feel happy with the way I am.

I like myself.  I honestly do like myself and I think I am great!  I am great!

If I could let go of the feeling that I need everyone to agree with me, I would breathe easier and be happy.  If I could stop harping on past mistakes and just keep on keeping on, rise above the misperceptions and not take things personally, learn from the errors and make adjustments and absorb the rest, I could breathe freely and rest peacefully.

If I were to be ever-so still and listen for my own internal voice, the one that existed before the irritating ones took over, I would hear these words:

You are who you are Melissa.  You are beautiful and kind.  You care about others.  You love your family.  You are smart and talented.  You make things happen.  You are special and sweet.  All that matters is that you remain true to yourself.  Take care of yourself.  Enrich your spirit and feed your soul.  Live all the moments of your life.  Be.  Do.  Love.  Lift yourself up.  Stay strong in the knowing.

If I were to do whatever I wanted, whatever I felt—no ramifications or risks —I would stop working.  I would make my home beautiful.  I would walk.  I would write.  I would travel.  I would be with my loved ones.  I would have parties.  I would shop.  I would have fun.  I would laugh more.  I would drive.  I would eat out.  I would wear comfortable clothes.  I would sleep in.  I would stay up late.  I would drink and smoke.  I would get better at Scrabble.  I would go to the beach.

If I could say anything I wanted, whatever I felt – no ramifications or risks – I do not know if I would say anything.  I don’t feel the need to explain or justify.  I just want to be free to express myself and hope that I am understood.  I want the world to know that I have good intentions.  I want to be happy.  I want others to be happy.  I want to help them.  I love the people around me.

I would say . . .I accept you.  Please accept me the way I am.  Please just ask me if you don’t understand me.  Am I really that hard to understand?  Am I hard to like?

If I could say anything, I would ask these questions.  I would say, “Excuse me – but what is it about me that you don’t like?”  “What don’t you get?”

“Because, I am just doing my thing here.  I am just happy to be alive and I want to be a good person and survive another day.  Is that okay with you?”

I would tell my boss and co-workers, “Put me to work.  Use my talents.  If I don’t do things right, tell me.  If I need to get better, give me a chance.”

I would tell my friends,  “If I hurt you in some way, please know it was unintentional and I honestly do not want to hurt you.  I want to make you happy.  I want to make you feel secure.  You can trust me.  You should know that I love you.  I have nothing against you.  I think you are amazing!  I appreciate you and your talents and abilities.  I wish I could know you better.  I wish you would take time to get to know me. I wish you wanted to know me better.  Because, I am great!

If you want to read more about Investing My Faith in Myself, Click Here:

https://mizmeliz.com/2012/09/16/investing-my-faith-in-myself/

To see the poem, “I am Great” Click Here: https://mizmeliz.com/2012/02/16/i-am-great/

This is my truth.  Considering my truth, I was reminded of a poem given to me by a friend years ago.  He told me his mother gave it to him when he came out. 
 
In Latin, Desiderata means, “Things desired that are essential”. . .
 
Desiderata— written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s —
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all it’s sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

“Keep Peace in Your Soul”

There is more to me than meets the eye.
 
 http://www.ronnadetrick.com/
http://ayearwithmyself.com/about-the-program/
http://mibizevents.com