When Brady and I were engaged to be married, 4 years ago, we met with our Stake President to interview for our living ordinance & sealing recommends. We talked about each other, and being husband and wife. He gave us great counsel, but one thing he said is something I have struggled with but finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of.
“Ashley, if you put your husbands happiness before yours, you will be happy.”
That was it. That was the big winner. It has been on my mind ever since. It sounds like one of those sayings that you hear from everybody.
Somewhere down the road I developed a very selfish attitude. I was sick of people being rude. I was sick of letting others be mean to me specifically. I developed this attitude that if someone expects something of me, they are expected of the same also. I noticed a very angry and selfish person shine through each day. Oh, you want trash talk Mormons? Well no wonder they all trash talk non-mormons. Or something like that. Oh, you want me to accept the LGBTQ community and support gay marriage in Utah? Well you better love your neighbor, the Mormon, who doesn’t support gay marriage, and THAT’S OKAY. It’s just irritating. Even writing this still brings up some of those feelings.
I hate it. I hate this person I’ve become. I hate the way I’ve changed. I’ve somehow become this very closed off, anger bottled up inside, complaining woman and I hate her. I’m tired of being her. I’m tired of feeling hurt, singled out, lonely, selfish…. I’m tired of anxiety and depression. I’m tired of the way it controls my life. I’m tired of letting my friends down by not showing up. I’m eternally sorry and I regret not being a better friend. I’m just tired of all the negativity in my life. The “nothing ever works out for me,” or how about the “well, with depression and anxiety, everything is 10x harder,” and while that may be true (that last one) it doesn’t give me the right to see myself as more-deserving than others BECAUSE of this difficulty I face each day.
What does this have anything to do with the title of my blog post?
I promise, I will get there.
With this new attitude or “way of life,” it started to destroy everything in my life. My friendships, my relationships with family members, my marriage relationship/friendship, my work-life, my church-life, my health & fitness, my finances…. everything. I felt like everything was falling at the drop of a hat, and it definitely was. It was around the end of April when I met with my new friend Karli. She and my sister had planned to meet up one Saturday to do weight/measurements & meal planning. My sister said that she was a previous trainer at the gym she attends, but now she does more personal training/meal planning for others. I was interested because again, I was miserable with this way of life I was living. After the meeting was over, I thought about it for like 30 mins – 1 hour before texting Karli myself. We picked a date & time to meetup. I was serious about this life change, and I knew my health was the first place any of this wanted “change” was going to happen.
On our first meeting, we recorded my weight and measurements so we knew where we were starting. We created goals together and talked about foods that I liked (or should I say, foods I DO NOT like). A couple of hours after our meeting, she emailed me with my meal plan attached. I was so freaken scared but knew deep down, I wanted this for myself. I wanted this for myself. Fast forward to today. The day I made the decision to want to make the health change that I needed, I changed. I noticed a physical change as well as a change in my every day thoughts. I honestly wanted to spend more time with my husband. I wanted to see my family and friends more. I started making an effort to go to social events (aka hanging out with friends) even though I thought I would die from anxiety. My effort at changing my attitude about and at work started working. I started CHOOSING to feel happy, to be nice to others, to do something for my husband, to just clean the freaken bathroom. I can’t tell you exactly what it is or why things in my life started changing but they just did.
You cannot make someone change or become better, or do something different. They have to want it for themselves. And until that happens, all you can do is love them.
My life is different now. I feel different now. I’m choosing reading over social media. I’m choosing private blogging over trying to be a business blogger. I’m choosing personal photography over business photography. I’m choosing my health over temporal “wants.” I’m choosing discipline/debt snowballing over obsessive compulsive/anxiety-driven shopping. I’m choosing honesty over hiding. I’m choosing God over doubts. I’m choosing the Gospel of Jesus Christ over finding joy and peace in temporal things or people. I’m choosing to smile when I wake up because I prefer to have a better day than yesterday. I choose my husband over anyone else. I am choosing to give the benefit of the doubt. I am choose to say sorry and to admit to my mistakes.
I love my husband. He is my best friend. I love spending time with him, cuddling, watching a movie, or driving in the car together. I love that he teases me and I love that he accepts my apologies. I love that, even though times have been hard, he’s choosing to be with me forever. I love that we’re growing stronger together as a team, rather than two individuals legally married. I love him. I love him so much. He is the calm to my storm and I’d be lost in life without him. Putting his happiness before mine has truly changed the happiness I experience each day. He means so much to me and it’s important to me to make sure he is happy. His happiness IS my happiness.
I cannot end this blog post without first sharing my gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. He is always there when I need someone the most. He is always there when I’m upset about how lonely I feel each day. He comforts me in ways that I never look for comfort in. He answers my prayers when I kneel humbly each day. He has blessed with me with a beautiful life, an amazing husband, a loving family and endless opportunities. Heavenly Father comes first in my life. Without Him, everything else isn’t possible.
I’m doing my best each day and as I make these new decisions to cultivate what matters most to me and the Lord, I find myself feeling happier and more at peace.