Yesterday a coworker, who has only known me for a month, said, “You have great communication skills.”
I must have done at least 10 cartwheels right there. Yipeeeeeeeee. It worked, it worked. I managed to do it; I managed to change a vice into a virtue. How did I do it? By answering five questions; of course it has taken more than 10 months but the important thing is that it worked. Those questions were:
1. Am I as happy as I can be?
The answer was no. I used to be, but somehow I lost that sensation. The only place I was truly happy and light spirited was inside a classroom. I love teaching; I love being inside the class with those inquisitive minds. But as soon as I stepped out, I felt a dark heavy load all over my body. No, I definitely wasn’t happy. I mean if someone screams at a stranger in a parking lot, then something is not going right in their lives.
2. Do I want to be?
It took some time to realize that I can even ask such a question. I don’t have to remain unhappy. I have the right to want to be happy; the question is do I want to? It’s not an easy as it sounds. I had to make a conscious decision to want to be happy. After a couple months of thinking, I finally answered, yes, I do; I want to be happy.
3. What makes me happy?
Once I answered question 2, I asked myself, ‘ok, fine, so what makes you happy? I started making a list of cliché stuff, like chocolate, beach, sound of water, etc, when I realized that none of these things make me happy anymore. Other than being in class, nothing made me happy!!! I had sunk so low in this abyss that I had no idea what made me happy anymore. So the answer to this question was either nothing…or maybe I don’t know.
So I started observing myself closely. The days that I came home in high spirits, I made a list of things I had done, seen, talked about, thought about, even eaten. I did the same thing for days I came home and went straight to bed without exchanging a single word with anyone.
Eventually I managed to pinpoint the source of my unhappiness. It wasn’t external, it wasn’t the people around me, it wasn’t my work, my home, my environment, it was me. I was the source of my unhappiness. I wasn’t happy with who I was, with the Noushin (my real name) inside me. So I had to ask the next question.
4. What do I love/hate about myself?
To my surprise, this question was now easy for me to answer. I made a list.
What I hate:
- I’m quick tempered
- I’m reserved
- I often feel unloved/unappreciated (to me being loved and appreciated is the same thing)
- I don’t let go
- I expect people to be mind readers and if they don’t I think they don’t care
- I have very low-self esteem
I then realized that all of the above can be narrowed down to 1 thing: I don’t communicate.
If I communicate and tell people how I feel, things wouldn’t bottle up and I won’t lose my temper quickly, I’m reserved because I’m not comfortable talking about my emotions, I don’t let go because I don’t tell people when I feel they have hurt or wronged me, I have low self-esteem because I don’t object when people put me down.
5. What are my steps to happiness?
So to be happy, I had to learn to communicate well. Nothing should bottle up. This way, I can get rid of my vices, which would make me fall in love with myself, which would make me happy.
I now feel I have been happy for the past 2 months or so. Is it just because I communicated every time I felt I was going to curl up in my cave? I think so.