Building Happiness On Stable Ground

Last night I had a dream (nightmare?) that there were people out to murder me.
For reasons I cannot explain, I wasn’t too scared about this predicament. I was only sad about how little time I got to enjoy this “reborn” Rachael–the Rachael who is the happiest she’s ever been in her life.
Ever since this dream/nightmare last night, I began to contemplate what feels different about my happiness this past year compared to my happiness in 2010 when I claimed it as “the best year of my life.” It was a year of personal cross country and track records, school records, and immense joy while running.

Only, I was very aware (and constantly feared) that this happiness could be taken away at any moment. If my eating and weight went awry (which it did), if I suffered from a debilitating injury (which I did), everything would be gone and I would have nothing to look forward to, nothing to be proud of, and nothing exciting worth living for. I based my worth–and happiness–on running and food.
It was a happiness built on shaky ground.

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You often hear how happiness can be tied to your sense of self worth. When running and control over food were taken from me, I felt as if I were facing a black wall of lost hope. I had no idea what to do or how to look forward to anything in life.
It took me years to learn that if I love and appreciate myself, I will always be there for myself. And even when the toughest circumstances in my life arise, I will not feel as if I am falling into an dark abyss of hopelessness.
This isn’t to say I never need my family and friends. And this doesn’t mean I won’t ever be sad or depressed or go through hardship again–but it means that my whole world will not crumble if I lose a piece of it. Yes, I will be sad–and I have every right to feel that way–but I will also offer myself forgiveness, love, and respect, and I will honor my body and mind.
friendsIn my dream/nightmare, when the killers found me at last and I was about to die, all I felt was that I had unfinished work to do here on earth (getting my book published for one, haha). I had had a great year of “rebirth” (I love this new Rachael!) and the last words I spoke before I supposedly died (and woke up from the dream/nightmare), was, “This has been the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”
As I spoke those words in the dream/nightmare, I felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for having had at least this much time with the new Rachael. The only thing I was losing by dying was the fun and joy in living with this happiness and getting to share it with others.
This past year makes me excited to keep living. There is no black wall before me. There is not one thing that I may lose that will cause my entire world to crumble. I rely on my friends and family, but a very important person I rely on is myself–
Because I’ll need her until the day I die.

~

My second book focuses a lot on this theme of happiness and how I reached it. I’m excited to continue working on its revision/editing and hopefully get it published after the first book!

About Rachael

Rachael Steil is a graduate from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts. Steil an author, speaker, and a recipient of the Spirit and Outstanding Runner award for the Aquinas College cross country team and has received 6th place All-American accolades in cross country as well as 7th place in the NAIA track nationals.
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3 Responses to Building Happiness On Stable Ground

  1. Rachel says:

    You seem to have a lot of murder dreams…

  2. Tamara Steil says:

    Amazing post – love how you converted a potentially devastating murder dream into something positive and uplifting.

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