Happiness Income? What does that have to do with Trauma & Trust?

What does happiness have anything to do with income? Again, I went to my analytical brain and began dissecting the idea that was forming in my mind. 

First, let's get into what we know and how we feel about happiness.

Webster defines Happiness as (noun) - the state of being happy.

We hold an individual and unique definition of what happiness looks like to us. Much like fashion preferences. Some of us feel great in business attire, or dressed up, while others feel sexy and free in sweatpants and t-shirts. 

Here's an exercise for you to dig a bit deeper into how happiness fits in your life. Take a scale of 1-10, define your happy moments. Those times when you felt elated (happiness on steroids) and valued (feel important at that one moment.) Isn't that what you're looking for when you seek happiness? However, I believe we hold onto the idea that IF we find happiness, happiness will heal our wounded soul it will stick around versus becoming fleeting, moment to moment. That's a huge reason most go on diets, color their hair, spend money on fashionable clothing, buy name brand things, all to be valued amongst their peers. 

Second, let's define Income. Websters defines Income as money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments

You know me by now - switch out the words to the definition of money and use it for rating happiness. It may sound far fetched but visualize the 'value' you place on happiness. Money is just that, an exchange of value, right? So let's use what we know. In your group of friends do you feel happy or not? Does it build you up (increase in value) or tear you down (decrease in value)?

Remember the definition of money? Combine that with (defining happiness) .... money received (receiving those feelings of happiness), especially on a regular basis (consistently feeling of value from others), for work (how happy are you with your job?) or through investments (what you invest your time in, does it bring you happiness?) 

Ponder those experiences you've been remembering, those times YOU felt happy. You felt good in a great outfit, your hair went perfectly, your make-up was just right, you got the attention of someone who gave you a sense of importance. All that is finding happiness from the outside.

That's why happiness doesn't feel sustainable. It's dependent on others' reactions to you. That why finding happiness is like a hamster wheel. Sometimes your hair goes great, other times it doesn't ~ unless you're Barbie!

So in summary, happiness is like grasping air when we seek it from external sources. Isn't all we just talked about considered external when you feel happy someone loved your outfit? When you felt important and valued amongst friends? 

We can all agree then, WE seek after happiness - but how do we transition to seeking happiness from within? That's the million-dollar question!

Now it's time to talk about why happiness is fleeting? I believe it's connected to life's traumatic experiences. 

Webster defines trauma as trauma - 1. A deeply distressing or disturbing experience: a personal trauma like the death of a child. 2. emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis. 

Gennaro Ambrosino wrote a Facebook post on November 3rd, 2020. I don't know her but her post touched me deeply. I am just recognizing how much trauma stole from me. How trauma put up barriers around my soul to NOT feel, and not receive from others. We all have stories, no one's story is better or worse than the other - TRAUMA is TRAUMA! 

Trauma is like a happiness inhibitor and we all have different levels that are unique to us.

I will share her post in Red and I'll share why this hit close to home for me in Blue. 

The inability to receive support from others is a trauma response. I have spent my entire life making it my life's purpose to NOT to need any support or love from others. I remember after being married seven years, my husband said, 'You still don't trust me, do you?" I'm just now, after 45 years of marriage feeling vulnerable enough to trust.

Your “I don’t need anyone, I’ll just do it all myself” conditioning is a survival tactic. I remember thinking, if I clean my bedroom one more time, my mom will notice me. Even after many years, what gave me some sense of understanding is when I realized, I can't draw water from a dry well. My mom was not capable to emotionally connecting, how does a child understand that? They don't! They figure out how to cope. And you needed it to shield your heart from abuse, neglect, betrayal, and disappointment from those who could not or would not be there for you. This, I believe was the arrow that pierced my heart. I know this to be true in my life

What was your trauma? Feel free to share your experience - not to keep you embedded in your trauma but to be freed from it. Ask any question here if you need extra support. 

From the parent who was absent and abandoned you by choice or the parent who was never home from working three jobs to feed and house you.

From the lovers who offered sexual intimacy but never offered a safe haven that honored your heart.

From the friendships and family who ALWAYS took more than they ever gave.

From all the situations when someone told you “we’re in this together” or “I got you” then abandoned you, leaving you to pick up the pieces when shit got real, leaving you to handle your part and their part, too.

From all the lies and all the betrayals.

You learned along the way that you just couldn’t really trust people. Or that you could trust people, but only up to a certain point.

Extreme-independence IS. A. TRUST. ISSUE.

You learnt: if I don’t put myself in a situation where I rely on someone, I won’t have to be disappointed when they don’t show up for me, or when they drop the ball ... because they will ALWAYS drop the ball EVENTUALLY right? Sad to say, this is how I parented. My children had no idea why I did this, redoing everything they did, I'm sure they felt like their effort wasn't good enough but in reality, it was me. I couldn't accept what they did because somehow I'd lose them. I had to be needed, right? Warped thinking! 

You may even have been intentionally taught this protection strategy by generations of hurt ancestors who came before you.

Extreme-independence is a preemptive strike against heartbreak. I still struggle to cry. I feel, but I don't cry outwardly. If I do then heartbreak is at the surface and I've mastered burying it! This is one of the hardest habits for me to undo.

So, you don’t trust anyone.

And you don’t trust yourself, either, to choose people. I've begun to trust spirit! I trust my intuition over trusting other people.  

To trust is to hope, to trust is to be vulnerable...

...But no matter how you dress it up and display it proudly to make it seem like this level of independence is what you always wanted to be, in truth it’s your wounded, scarred, the broken heart behind a protective brick wall.

Impenetrable. Nothing gets in. No hurt gets in. But no love gets in either. I've learned a few things that have opened my heart - not wide, but open.

Fortresses and armor are for those in battle, or who believe the battle is coming. I have done a lot of energy work to bring down these walls. My fortress is much more opened and I owe that to my grandchildren! My adult children and my best friend, husband Doug.

...The good news is trauma that is acknowledged is trauma that can be healed. To heal the trauma is to learn how to seek happiness from within. Find that source of self-worth from within. It's possible! I promise you're not alone on this quest to find sustainable, lasting happiness.

Some other coping skills for trauma are addiction, weight gain, or seriously overweight, which has put your health in danger - can you see a theme? Self-destruction or slow death.

Remember: Feel free to share your experience here

Look around www.JodykHill.com and decide where you want to begin!