Friday, June 11, 2010

Who makes you happy?

Careful. That's a trick question. What was the first thought that came to your mind? "Spouse"? "Kids"? "Friends"? "Family"?

How about "Self"?

No, it's not selfish. More like self-preserving.

I'm not saying the other people in your life can't contribute to your happiness. Of course they do - from time to time. Overall. For the most part. But every once in awhile, the stars may not be aligned, and you may not be able to rely on those people for your happiness. Oh, you can rely on them for support... or advice... or encouragement. But happiness?

That's up to you.

I know some people who ride others' coattails for contentment. I've been guilty of it, too. There have been times in my life where I was in a place I wasn't comfortable with - wasn't used to. I needed something familiar because that's what makes me happy. That ended up being a "someone". Yes, it's easy to jump into someone else's life and live it for awhile when you're just not happy with your own. But at the end of the day, it's their life that you're visiting, not yours.

I've been accused of being "too independent". To me, again, it's a form of self-preservation. If I'm going to fail, it's going to be on my watch. If I'm going to succeed, I'm going to reap the rewards all on my own and know that I did it myself. I will appreciate those in my life, and I will realize their value, but I will not rely on them for my happiness. Yes, they are a part of my prosperity, but you never know when one of them might bail, so I'm not going to bank on them for my own bliss permanently, thank you.

Do I slip up? Yes. That's why I write this. I get in my happy place and decide that I can handle turning over the wheel of well-being to someone else and let them determine whether my day is going to be good or bad. Inevitably, I'm disappointed, and I return to the one thing I can count on - and be accountable for - myself.

I'm sure there are differing opinions out there on this - I wait for that email from my mother chiding my opinions - but that's OK. That's the risk I take when writing publicly. And obviously, your comments will be duly noted, and appreciated... but they won't make or break me.

Only I can do that.


  1. I agree with you - wholeheartedly. Even though we are supposed to give of ourselves, and we are to think of others before ourselves, if we are deficient in some way in our inner being, we can not offer ourselves to others. So, in other words, we DO need to take time for ourselves. We DO need to do things for ourselves; recharge, re-energize, refresh.

    I am definitely one that is way too independent (I blame my parents) and I know that because of that, I can not rely on others for my happiness, my sanity or my contentment. But what I do know is that, at times, others can bring me joy, fulfillment and satisfaction. I just need to make sure I am not sucking THEM dry... =) (That rarely happens, in my case.)

  2. I have to agree with husband and I frequently remind each other of that saying, "If you need a helping hand, look at the end of your arm." Mostly because when I want/ask him to do something and it doesn't get done (because it's not important to him) then I end up doing it myself. He's all for me being independent (more things off his to-do list) but doesn't like the idea of me being so feministic at times, like how I won't iron his clothes. I think I could stop making dinner, cleaning the house, and doing the bills, and as long as I ironed his shirts, he'd be thrilled! My problem is that I have a difficult time doing things for people or counting on them because it makes me feel weak and like a doormat. Who wants to be a doormat? The problem though is it then difficult to turn over anything to my husband, which would probably help make our relationship stronger. It's a thin wire to walk. After 11 years of marriage, I'm not any closer to the answers than I was at the beginning, although I do iron more shirts than I used to!
    Great Blog!


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