by PATRICIA MILLER
We hear people say it all the time,” My goal is to be happy!”
But how often is that really the case?
Honest and true, is it to be happy? Or is it to feel happy.
These are two very different things. Let me explain.
I was never the giggle out loud -always smiling- ray of sunshine in the morning- kind of girl. I just wasn’t made that way. Do I laugh? Yes.when something is really really funny. Do I smile? Yes. All the time and most of the time at complete strangers. I always have and probably always will.
Do I have a family and people I love and who love me ? Yes.
A job? Yes. A few in fact.
So am I happy? Yes and I always was. Even at 285 pounds, I was happy. But did I feel happy?
Some might think how dare you, or how could you be happy and be that heavy. I use to say that it was because size never mattered to me. I liked myself no matter what size I was or that I had someone who loved me, so I was happy. I didn’t feel happy however.
If I asked myself if I felt happy, I’d now say only a few times in my life can I say I felt happy.
I know this might sound crazy or maybe alarming but I think for some of you, you’ll get it.
Feeling happy is a state of mind. I can BE happy a.k.a content and not FEEL happy.
Happiness is something that bubbles up inside of you until you just can’t handle it anymore.
Sometimes we cry, sometimes we cheer or sometimes we sing and dance all because there is so much happiness we feel. It’s that enthusiasm that comes to the surface and we can’t figure out what to do with it. That’s, Feeling happy.
I’m asking because for many people after weight loss surgery they expect to FEEL happy just because they are losing weight or their bodies are shrinking.
They get new clothes, new friends, sometimes new spouses ( it happens more often than you think) and they wait to feel that happiness set in for life.
Weight loss doesn’t just get you to a place of happiness . What you feel in the beginning is like the start of a new relationship or a new job. Like that new car scent. In the beginning it is the greatest thing you could imagine. After a while, you start to realize, “Oh this is work, this is discipline.”.
All of a sudden, you are rethinking those choices you made. The high of feeling “Happy” starts to wear off. That is totally normal.
New cars don’t stay new and new born babies grow into toddlers (and before you know it teenagers) and things will feel very different.
This is the space in which dangerous habits can take over and some might
suggest depression and the feeling of being lost comes into play. No one tells you that those wonderful over the moon sunshine and roses feelings will fade and it’s up to you to figure out how to stay happy. Not just feeling happy but actually happy. The kind of happy that allows your head to rest on your pillow without a tear falling or to kiss your kids goodbye and not worry all day about them the kind of happiness that people can see coming from with in. A kind of peace that says inside, inside my body, no matter the size no matter the shape I am happy.
It’s what we all search for, some of us our entire lives.
Weight loss surgery is not going to give you that peace. If you are thinking of weight loss surgery because you think it is going to be the answer to all your woes, I promise you it is not.
Will it improve your health? Yes, if you do what you are suppose to post operatively. Will you feel and look better? Well that’s a matter of opinion and only yours will count. It is not a guarantee that you will like yourself thinner. As strange as that may sound, I know a lot of patients who did not like themselves as thin as they could possibly be. After all we are not all meant to be a size 2. We just aren’t. That will not find you happiness.
My best piece of advice is to find something that fills your soul. No matter what it is. A hobby, religion, volunteering, anything that has nothing to do with your outer shell. Something that you look forward to doing every time you are asked to do it.
Have you ever meet someone who has a job that they don’t really need to have, but they go everyday and they just love what they do. Sometimes they volunteer and don’t get paid at all. They radiate a happiness when they talk about their passion. About what makes them happy.
My suggestion is do this as early as you can in your journey. This way when you FEEL that post surgery happiness, you’ll also have the real happiness to keep you on track .
Patricia Miller is a weight loss surgery patient advocate and volunteer. Find her live on Facebook every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Follow Fusion Union on Facebook to catch the live broadcast and ask questions. Keep an ear out for a possible radio program in Bristol with Miller as host.