If Everyone is Happy, Why Am I Crying

As we delve into the busy holiday season, I wonder, how are you coping?

For many years I worked toward having the perfect holidays filled with excitement and making everyone happy.

Except for me.  I went to bed every night crying I didn’t do enough, I wasn’t enough, I was a failure – as a mother, daughter, wife, friend.

Yes, it is easy to get busy with so much to do that things fall through the cracks.

  • As we put dinner leftovers away I find the Jello that never made it to the table.
  • One gift was not the color the person wanted.
  • Despite looking day and night, the most requested gift could not be found.
  • Too much of one food – not enough of another

And I cried.  Everyone else was happy, but I cried.

Why?!?  Why was I doing this?

I wanted to be perfect.

I wanted everyone to walk away with everything they wanted.

And perhaps

  • I wanted everyone to talk about the awesome gift I have them.
  • I wanted everyone to remember my dinners.
  • I wanted everyone to look at me.

Ouch!!  That hurt.

Was I doing this to please them? Or was I doing this so they would look at and be pleased with me?

I noticed I was so busy making sure everyone else was happy – but I forgot to include myself in that happiness.

Perspective makes a difference.  

Mark 7 talks about how evil comes from a person’s heart. I wasn’t evil. It isn’t evil to want to make others happy, is it?  But as I thought further I had to look at my motive. Was I being greedy, seeking their approval?  Was I envious for their admiration?  Was I being prideful in thinking I was perfect?

I was stopped in my tracks as I looked within.

Over time, I examined the perceived ‘perfection’ I desired.  I faced the reality that perfection could not be achieved and my happiness was hanging on this fact. No matter how many compliments I got, I focused on the one person who didn’t say good things. Perhaps someone had spoken with a tone that implied to me it wasn’t really that good. Getting a 99 on a test wasn’t good enough. It means I still did something wrong.

I was setting my value on how I perceived others valued me – and if I felt that even one person did not value me, I was worthless.

I read somewhere that seeking the approval of others made their opinion an idol in my life. I was putting their valuation of me above God’s valuation of me. Ooo, that one stung.

I started to examine each self-defeating thought or comment I made to myself from the perspective of God’s eyes. He sees a woman after His heart. A woman – not perfect – but loved and forgiven.  He loved me so much He offered His Son as my Savior!  I started slowly to accept I am worthy for who I am – not what I have done.

My perspective evolved. The tears faded away.

Sure, I left the jello in the fridge and there wasn’t enough chocolate cake.  No one left hungry.

Someone got the wrong color item.  They can exchange it if it means that much to them.

I have now created “My Holiday Rules for this Year”

  1. What gets done, gets done
  2. Don’t stress over what doesn’t
  3. Enjoy the moment
  4. Don’t try to ‘buy’ happiness
  5. Include laughter in the plans

Perfection is not possible. I will make mistakes. This does not determine happiness. I will start to enjoy the moment for what it is, when it is.

Happiness comes from accepting myself.  I do the best I can. I offer what I have at the time and strive to grow.  But the tears for not pleasing everyone else are over. My “Holiday Rules” will become ‘Daily Rules’.

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