It's November, and this time of year always gets me thinking about what I've thankful for.I always feel a bit nostalgic during the holidays, but I've spent a lot of time this entire year thinking about what makes me happy. For longer than I can remember I had a habit of doing everything that suited everyone around me. If someone needed something I would drop whatever I had going for myself to help them. It didn't matter if it was for the kids, a teacher, a group I belonged to, or a friend, I put everyone else first.

Somewhere around the beginning of the year I realized I couldn't do that anymore, and I began looking for places I could change. I've taken some heat for my own changes this year from family and friends. Some people have seen what I'm doing and have understood and applauded it. Others...not so much.

Regardless, I've found a semblance of inner happiness that makes it easier to maintain. I've looked hard at myself and those around me over the last year. I've paid attention to what I respect in others and what turns me off in people. I've figured out triggers in each of my relationships and have worked at avoiding them. I mean, if you know that talking about an ex is going to cause a fight with your current man, why bring it up, right? Unless you want to fight. I don't.

I've looked hard at myself and things that I do to irritate others. Sometimes it's a matter of pushing their buttons unintentionally, but I'm working to become more aware of it. Life is too short to spend it fighting and arguing and making everyone around you miserable. Or being miserable. I still have work to do, but since the beginning of the year I've noticed a mental shift in myself and a lot of the people around me. It's made me realize something. Until I could make myself happy, I couldn't really make anyone else happy. My efforts to change myself have changed others around me from my kids, to my husband, to friends and family and coworkers.

I'm grateful to be surrounded by people who understand me and who're willing to stick by me while I figure myself out and learn where all the new parts of my life fit.

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