Everyone has a different idea of what's awesome.
If you're planning a wedding, or any other major life event, most people are more than willing to share this idea with you, sans solicitation. Generally, I'm not a fan of giving or receiving unsolicited advice, but it was interesting to hear what makes other people happy. There's a pretty big diversity of dreams out there. Hearing them helped me get a clearer and stronger sense of what I wanted. It also reminded me how important it is to ask questions and listen to others when they are floundering and seeking guidance. The answers are inside of them. It's just up to us to support and empower them to find the answers that will fit their definition of success and joy.
People love to help others.
They really do. One of the nicest things you can do is let others help you. For me, that's pretty dang hard. I have a natural inclination to "sweat the small stuff" and worry about things being done my way. I chant everyday to help my use my attention to detail for good as well as to be able to take a chill pill sometimes.
You can't do everything yourself. Sometimes you've just got to let other people help you. Yeah, they won't do it exactly as you would've done it. (Perhaps they'll do it better!) In the end, those details don't really matter as much as the loving bonds that are strengthened. In this age of automation, a time when almost any service can be purchased, it's rare and precious to have an occasion when people can really show up for you. Let the love rain in, feel the abundance, and let that give you the energy to pay it forward.
I wanted to marry my boyfriend three years before he proposed. When he finally proposed in December, I was happy for about two weeks. After that, being engaged felt really awkward. Our relationship was still super, but it was hard being in that weird in-between stage and not having answers to questions like "When are you getting married?" and managing unsolicited advice on everything from the wedding to child-bearing from interested loved ones. On top of that, a variety of family challenges came up soon after our engagement.
All this is not to complain; it's just to say that you shouldn't expect to get happiness from external life circumstances. You've really go to work hard to cultivate your happiness from within. As the clock ticked and I dealt with extreme PMS-related depression right before my wedding, I felt the severity of how true this is. I remembered that Nichiren Buddhism and my awesome life coach Kate Hanley both champion the idea that "life is happening for me, not to me."
This year, I worked hard to use the internal and external challenges that our engagement and wedding presented to battle issues I've dealt with over my entire lifetime (procrastination, control freakyness, indecisiveness, etc) and to therefor become a stronger, better human being and wife. I'll continue to work hard. Courageously determining to be happy no matter what is what actually helps us create a happy life.
Are you married? What lessons did you learn from your wedding or engagement?
Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning.