Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Happiness. My Responsibility.

It's not our fault really, now is it? Since the day we were born we've been relying on others to make us and keep us happy. As babies we weep aloud and a mother's response is to coax and soothe us, to make us happy again, to take away our discomfort. As toddlers we giggle from our gut and the reactions we get from onlookers are that of happiness and genuine smiles. We like it because we begin to make the connection that happiness is an outward emotion that can have positive effects on others and meet our needs when we're hurting. Happiness is an expression of give and take between humans, cause and effect between people, not at all an inward sanction of one's self. As children we look to others and favor those people in our lives who make us most happy. Is it any wonder we grow-up looking to others for our own happiness? Since birth it's the way we've been trained.

It takes a lot of growing up, a lot of inner reflection, and a putting on of big-girl panties to finally conclude that one's own happiness is solely reliant on one's self. I know Hubby means well and his heart is in the right place, but I cringe when I hear my husband say to me, "I just want to make you happy." As a sweet gesture from a husband to his wife, an expected showing of love, I would have accepted that notion 15 years ago, but not now. I know now that no one can make me genuinely happy but me. Sure, there are times others bring happiness to me but that is merely a fleeting emotion - I enjoy it while it's there. But let me ask you something directly. How do you feel when there's nothing exciting going on in your life, nothing in particular to look forward to? Are you happy? Genuine happiness is a state of being, not a state of emotion. And, the choice is yours, really. To be genuinely happy you cannot rely on others because, and I don't care who it is, people will eventually disappoint their fellow man in some capacity (usually not on purpose). Your happiness must come from you. It's what will make you stable. It is what will carry you through all of life's up AND down moments.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert finds just the right words to what I am trying to convey in her ever-so popular book Eat, Pray, Love.
"...people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."
When your eyes awake from slumber each and every morning, before you set your feet on the floor, decide what kind of day you will have. Then do your duty to keep it that way, no matter what may come to pass in the hours that lay ahead of you. You may not be able to control the state of the world around you, but you can be in total control of your own state of being.

When did you first realize your happiness was your own responsibility?

9 comments:

Betty Sneeringer said...

This is so good. Gratefulness plays a big role in maintaining happiness. I became a victim of a husband that was a misurable soul, focusing on all the wrong things, expecting me to make him happy.

aprilavril said...

see I still am in the place where I rely on others to make me happy
It really annoys me! And always known this about me and I want to stop relying on feeling only happy because of (whatever reason)
think it either takes great discipline or a fantastic realisation!

I am LOVD said...

Betty, Thank you for your comment and for sharing. I so believe our own gratitude changes our lives (which is why I dedicate Mondays to Gratitude Journal Monday). I hope the husband you speak of is out of your life. Our happiness can be affected by the people around us.

I can be around others that may not be the best for me IF I am affecting them positively AND they are not infecting me negatively (learned that from Joyce Meyer). If that starts to happen, I cut it off like a cancer for my own sake!

I am LOVD said...

April,
Thanks so much for sharing and being so honest. I used to be like that, too, and it can be exhausting. You're on a high because you've got great plans for the weekend, then the weekend comes and it's not how you thought it would be so you're really low because things didn't meet your expectations. The roller coaster ride of emotions is dizzying.

Then, one day, it just hits you really. This realization that happiness, true happiness, is internal. It starts there and you decide how to use it. Keep growing with time and you too will get this Eureka moment.

Suzan Wood-Young said...

Thanks for this gentle reminder Lily. Started out a little low this morning and I appreciate the nudge.

I am LOVD said...

Suzan,
You better get out that Gratitude Journal and start writing ;-)

Brunella Z. said...

grazie di cuore per il tuo commento e questo bellissimo post.:)
Thank you very mauch for this beautiful post and your comment in my blog.
Brunella

Suzan Wood-Young said...

No fear Lily, Gratitude has been an almost daily ritual for me since my mom gave us all gratitude journals for Christmas a few years ago. yes, I do whine about things sometimes, but I try to be thankful more often than whiny. lol!

Leah said...

yes, it seems like we are always seeking everyone else to make us happy. staying grateful and remembering all the things to be grateful for, will remind us happiness comes only from God Himself. thank you for linking up. such a beautiful post!

 

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