Can anything outside of yourself make you happy? I think, most of the people are conditioned to believe that it can.
How often do you think “if I only had this or that person or thing, everything would be fine; if only this or that changed, my life would be perfect?”
Since we are very young we hear stories about a perfect prince or princess that would appear in our life one day and magically make everything right. The media are full of pictures of gadgets we need, a wonderful vacation to take, “an amazing body to get in just 30 days” to complete our lives and make us happy.
Nothing and nobody can make you happy. This is the job you have to do yourself.
Waiting for someone to make you happy is a very dangerous practice. Think about it. If someone can make you happy, they can also make you unhappy all the same.
I cannot even remember how many times I have heard from my clients statements like: “she makes me mad”, “he drives me crazy”, “if he/she only did this or that I would be so happy”, “he/she makes me miserable”.
Also watch: How to Find Happiness in Your Marriage
Nobody can “make you” anything
If you believe they can, you are giving your power away. It is like giving somebody else a remote control to yourself. They dictate how you feel, what your day looks like, what the level of your happiness is. With one simple word or action, they can change your self-esteem, your trust in your own capability, your perfect life into hell.
It also puts an incredible amount of responsibility on the both of you. If your partner is responsible for your happiness, you are also responsible for theirs. Do you really want to do it? Do you want to think all the time what to say, what to do, how to behave so you will be in line with your loved one’s expectations?
It might feel attractive at the beginning; being everything to somebody else, but it may get quite tiring and problematic after a while. You start planning, compromising, negotiating your every move to make things right. You may even start lying or hiding the true so you won’t “hurt your partner’s feelings”. You may become a prisoner in the world you created in order to “make your partner happy”. You may resent your partner and yourself for it.
There is another way. The way of taking responsibility for your own happiness. Sounds impossible? Think about it. You cannot control everything and everybody around you to behave the way you like, the way that “makes you happy”. You can try, but it never works. Your perfect partner may leave you one day, or get sick, or simply have a bad day. It may rain in the middle of your “perfect vacation”, your “perfect car” may not be so perfect anymore; your neighbours may get a better one.
Know your power
You cannot control those things; the only thing you can control is your reaction, your response to a situation. This is where your real power lies. Don’t let others tell you who you are and what your life should be like. Don’t let anybody to “make you” happy or unhappy. Know your own values; know what is really important to you in your life and focus on it. Don’t dwell on bad weather or bad behaviour; you cannot change it anyway. You would be just wasting your time and energy.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Eva is a co-founder of Discover Counselling located in Squamish, British Columbia. She helps her clients to overcome self- limiting beliefs that prevent them from having a satisfying and meaningful life. She also works together with her husband of 40 years, Josef. They use a unique couple-working-with-couple method in relationship therapy.