We discussed the issue of HAPPINESS just about a year ago, but I believe it deserves a revisit. Most people I run into believe they “DESERVE” a great life. They say it almost as if it were an entitlement. Over and over again, I hear people tell me, “All I want is to be happy…that’s all I want.” When I ask them what they are willing to do to create that happiness, the look at me like a deer in headlights.
The cries and demands for happiness tend to come from the weakest individuals. These are folks who will NEVER say, but inherently believe that their HAPPINESS is a derivative of everything else…and everyone else but themselves. These individuals are the equivalent of a small lake that requires feeding via multiple streams as opposed to a lake that is fed by an underlying spring. They will never admit to “wearing” this kind of weakness, but the fact of the matter is that their lives are dependent (by their own doing) on everyone and everything in their surroundings.
When someone in a stressed relationship says, “I just want to be happy (sniffle, sniffle),” what they are really saying is “YOU need to make me happy.” In other words, that person’s happiness will be a byproduct of another person’s actions. When someone says, “I want to CREATE HAPPINESS,” then you are dealing with someone who is willing to contribute to the betterment of the relationship, and to the betterment of their life.
Susie is married to Johnny. Johnny has a brother named Dickie. Dickie is a large, unhealthy, bitter, victim-minded, nasty piece of flesh whose life is anything but ideal. Unfortunately, Dickie’s outlook on life plays a very heavy role in Johnny’s life for the simple reason that Johnny is weak, and of course, easily influenced. To Susie, Johnny’s weakness became more apparent as their marriage unfolded. Johnny was not living his dream, and as you may have already guessed, blames everyone and everything other than himself. The ultimate CAUSE for his current circumstances is, of course, Susie.
Susie and Johnny often made decisions that had less-than-desirable consequences. As Johnny became increasingly frustrated with his life, he began to find circumstances and individuals that were deserving of BLAME. Naturally, none of Johnny’s own circumstances were his doing. The ultimate CAUSE of his unhappiness, as I stated earlier, was Susie. Johnny was a victim…just as his brother Dickie was a victim.
What Susie came to realize is that Johnny never asked what is really one of the most important questions that can be asked in a relationship: “What CAN I DO to contribute to OUR happiness?” Johnny was concerned only for his HAPPINESS, even though Johnny was in a marriage. Johnny’s outlook was reinforced by Dickie – a person who is afraid of taking an honest look at his own life (a life of what could best be described as crap).
An error in thinking is that a marriage is made up of two people who – individually should strive for HAPPINESS, and then bring that HAPPINESS together to make even more HAPPINESS. The reality of a marriage is that an individual’s HAPPINESS is dependent on both people contributing to each other. That may not sit well with the majority of folks out there, but it’s true. You can’t make someone else happy, BUT in a marriage, you are obligated to contribute to its fruition (happiness) for the very simple reason that you are a major factor in another person’s life.
Let’s say that you hate working out. To you, the health club is poison. However, you are married to a person to whom being healthy is a priority. Would it be fair to say that you NOT being healthy (and the consequences of a less than healthy lifestyle) will be something that could impact your spouse’s life? Will your lack of exercise and/or not eating healthy be something that could inevitably translate into a health condition that could weigh heavily on the life of your spouse? In other words, could you become someone else’s problem? With that in mind, wouldn’t it be fair to say that you are a contributing factor to someone else’s HAPPINESS (or lack thereof due to your actions)?
There are many relationships out there in which both individuals have contributed to what could best be described as a HUGE MESS. Neither individual is in love with what they do (occupation), and the marriage – due to stress, circumstances, etc., has turned to crap. Typically, however, the burden to make things “better” (aka MORE HAPPY) falls on one individual. Why? Because the other person views him or herself as a victim, and as you might expect, deserving of happiness. In other words two people dug themselves into a deep hole, and now one of them is left with the burden of getting them both out.
SPOUSE A: “I hate what I do for work and I hate my life. I am oppressed. My life is not my own! I hate living here!”
SPOUSE B: “You know – I’m not crazy about my life either – but WE BOTH got ourselves into this jam, and it is up to both of us to get ourselves out of this jam.”
SPOUSE A: “I have had enough! You can deal with all of this. I want to do X ,and that’s what I’m going to do. So stick that in your butt and…”
SPOUSE B: “Wait just one minute: We both dug the hole. Both of us. And I am not volunteering to bare the burden of digging us out. Not happening.”
This is what transpires in many relationships. Both individuals dig the hole, and then one person takes on the role of the victim. One person decides that TODAY is the day for them to be happy, and because their HAPPINESS has been “restrained” by the other person, they are now entitled to dump the burden on the other person and happily move onto greener pastures.
Not only is that WRONG, but the person who is being made into “the CAUSE” of the problem shouldn’t allow that kind of crap to go down. There are two people in a relationship, and it is up to both parties to work together so that they reach their collaborative and individual goals. No one person should be left to clean up a mess in which someone else played a contributing role, regardless of how small that role might have been.
HAPPINESS is created. It does not arrive in a gift wrapped box. It’s not deserved, and in many cases, DOES require lots of work. Life is not supposed to be good or bad. It just IS. Your life is what YOU make of it. And when things go bad, you shouldn’t start pointing fingers like a f__king dope. Instead, ask yourself what you have done or not done to contribute to your own AND someone else’s current state, just as they should be doing the same with regard to you.
HEADSPACE 2012 will give you a roadmap that will put things in a light that most people have never been exposed to in the past. It will help you see your future with a different set of eyes, and help you get back to HAPPINESS.
Have A GREAT Day!
…Dr. Marc & The Mind Virus Team