I guess when you grow up expecting the worst, it’s really hard to learn to enjoy the good times in life. The tragic part of this is you don’t even realize how hurt you are until you learn to embrace happiness and let go of the pain. This could be summed up as a circle of self-inflicted suffering in which you tend to recreate painful situations that connect you to what once you interpreted as love, even though that feeling of love was corrupted due to the intense hurt that came with it.

Well, now that I am close to my 40th birthday I am here today to share a recent source of pride, I am not afraid of happiness anymore. Getting here was not an easy path, but my heart is clear and I am not denying myself happiness any longer. But let me explain what happened and how I learned that love was painful. As a child, I came to associate love and pain because the person I loved the most was always in pain, and her pain hurt me so bad and so deep to the point I became convinced love needed to be painful to be real. My mother’s battle to overcome cancer marked me in ways I didn’t realize until I started getting connected to my deepest self to get in touch with my scariest feelings.

It’s been years of awareness, self-talk, and amazing people that have brought me here. The two most incredible influences are my children. I welcomed them into my life still under the illusion of painful love because they both were diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Over the years, they have taught me to smile like never before, they taught me to believe that joy was still alive, and their love healed me and helped me grow and embrace happiness.

I always pictured reaching my 40’s as a big deal: a significant day and time in which I would have everything I always wanted. Somehow my goal was never to be happy but to have the things that would allow me to be happy. Now, almost a month out from my 40’s, I feel pride in saying that I have worked hard to be who I am today, that I have stepped back on professional dreams to embrace spiritual satisfaction, and that I am a happy individual who loves to laugh, who loves herself, and despite being totally aware of her weaknesses, I am someone who is incredibly grateful for my strengths and for all the efforts I have made to become who I am today.

I have let go of drama, painful and abusive relationships, feelings of unworthiness, and like that, I have learned to speak up, to expect the best from others, and to welcome good things with the certainty that nothing lasts forever but we have to enjoy every second of the present moment. We have to love without planning on how to overcome the breakup. We have to live without killing the joy in an attempt to control the outcome.

I am not afraid anymore of happiness. I am happy and I am proud of my ability to make the ones I love as happy as I am. Even better, I am happy to be me and I know every step of the way has taken me to where I am today. I am grateful for that.

What do you think about it?