DIY,  You


Oh. My. God.  Can’t you just be happier?  My About page literally says: “Here’s a little secret you probably already knew: being a mom is hard work.  We manage a million things a day, often on a shoestring, and the pressure is to be flawless.”

No matter what, especially moms, we can be at zero and still expect ourselves to smile.  Happier.  In general, people can force a smile when really, they are not happy.  That is the stuff depression is made of.

If you find yourself saying, I’m so sad more than I’m so happy, check out our post on ending the sadness loop.

I mean honestly, would we yell at a car on empty and expect it to keep going without fuel?


So, why are we so damn hard on ourselves?  We have this pressure to be happier despite our sadness. 

The message plays on, why can’t you just be a “good” girl.


Ever heard the phrase, your vibe is your tribe. 

Let’s get real.  How many people are you hanging out with that you do not like? 

Are you hanging around with women who are not themselves and then we are not ourselves around them and vice versa. 

How can someone be themselves around anyone, if they do not have the courage to be themselves? Thus, giving permission to others to be themselves.

Let’s take off our polite glasses and take another look.


By this I mean, what most people do not know about me is my mother left me when I was 11 and my father left me when I was six months old. 

Guess what lens I was looking through?  You do not have to guess, I will tell you: no one loves me.  If they (my parents) loved me they would not leave me.

I was always planted in victimhood and fostered anything that grew from it.

That was my life in a nutshell and still can be if I do not keep my story in check.  Guess who got close to me? 

No one. 

So, I was either blocking being hurt or being hurt if I wasn’t blocking.  It was exhausting.  I was not open to the pain or connection with anyone.


When it feels bad, I remind myself not to write a story about it.  By this I mean: describe the situation exactly as it is, not as your “baggage” glasses see it.  This would look like:

My mom left me when I was young – when I needed her most.  Constantly telling myself, I can’t get close to anyone because, they are going to leave me too. 

It is so very painful, and self perpetuating considering, not everyone was my mother.

That is my translation of what happened. 

What was really happening? 


Why? Because it had already happened, but my memories kept it alive.

That’s right, nothing.  I do not blame the moon, or tell a story about myself every morning it leaves the sky.

People would deem me crazy if I blamed the moon for abandoning me each morning.

Yet, I did it everyday when it came to my abandonment story.

Why does it mean something about me when my mom leaves physically or emotionally (e.g., drinking).

Her leaving does not mean anything about me that I do not make it mean.  When I can separate those two things I become present to what really is happening.

The trick to staying present is to identify, and acknowledge when your story filter is pulling you back to through the lens of past pain.


There are two things in this world: fear and faith.  You can put your faith in the wrong thing (eg., fear) or the right thing. 

Either way, standing in a place of being able is as much your decision as the painful paradigm you see yourself through. 

Fear will make you small. If you acknowledge your fear you are set free. 

What is brought in to the light is it’s actual size. Think about the boogie man under your bedand the power of a flashlight.

To take that example further, I recently started listening to this podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The two sisters explore a system at the end of their show where they talk about a weekly happiness demerit and awarding a gold stars. 

That is what inspired the video above (and this post).

Now, y’all know I have four kids.  As a mom you can get bogged down with guilt trying to manage one or 10 kids.

Recently my cousin gave us a sandbox.  Mind you, my nine-year-old had been asking for one for two years (and I had been saying no for as long). 

Once I got that bad boy home, and set up, my son has played with it every day since.

Queue the shrinking.

What I didn’t realize was the story playing in my parenting story. The guilt had me believing he didn’t love me because I short changed his requests for so long.  Ridiculous; emotions can run high, so don’t beat yourself up (or me).

Treat yourself like a toddler Gretchen says.  Her podcast is packed full of gems.  (On a side note: I just hope she’s not right about this sandbox war scene I am seeing him play at 10 years old, which could end up being his adult career.) 

You wouldn’t yell at a child for being tired or hungry.  You wouldn’t have yelled at me for feeling insecure about my mother leaving me, so I won’t beat myself up for feeling bad about my nine-year-old potentially not liking me… like mother’s can subconsciously do without realizing it..


You hold the key.  Man, I seriously hate that saying, but there is a reason the phrase has stood the test of time.  I had to stop telling my story. 

Give myself the happiness demerit and move on. 


Here is the conversation that is different from the video above, but powerful none the less:  “Mom, I made you leaving mean a lot of bad things about myself.  I have lost a lot of time and relationships to that story, but I am putting it down now. “

Not to mention my mom was appalled by my view of myself.

So, if you are feeling sad, as so many of us do because, we are only human. 

Stop, listen and release.  Give yourself the happiness demerit and follow it up wit a gold star for figuring it out.

Forgiveness, and grace, are some of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones.  Time marches on, so leaving as much of it where it happened will help you travel baggage free.



In the end, my son no more thought he didn’t love me than my mother did.

If you are carrying all this stuff – these stories – how can you possibly get your arms around anyone else? 

How can you get love if you can not give it? 

Put the baggage down. 

You can be happier!

Now, after forgiving myself, when I look at these pictures or walk outside and see him playing, I am happier.   

No effort required. 

More than that I see him in a new light… his own.   I gave myself the demerit and now I’m available for every bit of his amazing designs. 

It is a perfect world he lives in, especially when he “injects a little fiction” (the green snake with arms) into what he does.

Give it a try!  Check in on yourself.  Identify your happiness demerit and gold stars when your energy feels low

Your day will turn out a little more amazing.

Until next time, may your comebacks be greater than your setbacks.

And if you find yourself saying, I’m so sad more than I’m so happy, check out our post to break the sadness loop.


  • Linda

    Julie, I’ve been working through your Happier Challenge and it works! I was at a hunting camp this weekend and desperately needed to calm down! Thinking back on what I learned in the challenge, I downloaded a short mediation a few weeks ago. I not only got through the weekend I enjoyed it!

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