Never wait for another to “make you happy”

Noth­ing, includ­ing hap­pi­ness, comes from the out­side, so, nev­er wait for anoth­er to make you happy

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Getting Past the error of “make you happy”

One of the things we real­ly need to rec­og­nize is the utter futil­i­ty of think­ing that any­thing, and espe­cial­ly hap­pi­ness, comes to us from the out­side.

The rea­son this belief seems so real is that this is the real­i­ty of infan­cy and childhood.

When we are lit­tle, every­thing is giv­en to us. We are hun­gry, some­one feeds us, wet, we are changed, cold, and we are cov­ered. Mom and dad seem to be god-like fig­ures that appear and dis­ap­pear mag­i­cal­ly from our lim­it­ed, almost autis­tic real­i­ty. As we have no expe­ri­ence, no per­son­al his­to­ry, what we per­ceive is this: I have a need, and “god” mag­i­cal­ly appears and ful­fills it.

Most moms and dads want us to be con­tent, to be hap­py. When infants cry, adults rush in to make it all bet­ter. Now, remem­ber, the infant has no way of know­ing that this is because (s)he is an infant.

In other words, the kid is not thinking, “OK, I’d better enjoy this while I can, because soon I’ll be expected to look after myself.”

What is impressed on our child-mind is that res­cue comes from out­side. Then adult­hood comes along, and it is abun­dant­ly clear that there is no exter­nal res­cue. Yet for many, this is com­plete­ly unacceptable.

Vir­tu­al­ly all sex / rela­tion­ship issues are the result of this fun­da­men­tal misunderstanding.

It’s like this: the hor­mones kick in, and you are drawn to a par­tic­u­lar per­son. On one lev­el, there is the whole “pro­cre­ate” ener­gy. The cues are sub­tle and below the lev­el of obser­va­tion, and involve sight, sound and smell. Let us not for­get  —  we are mammals.

adult child

We are also think­ing mam­mals. And part of our thought process is a “just under the sur­face” long­ing to be loved as we were as infants  —  to be tak­en care of. As this thought bub­bles up, we come up with all kinds of “rea­son­able” sto­ries about why this would be emi­nent­ly fair. No mat­ter how this idea is described, how­ev­er, it is always a one-way street. Let’s look at how this might be act­ed out.

Some peo­ple are bar­gain­ers. They think, “I’ll treat my part­ner as a king or queen, and then they will treat me the same.” 

Oth­ers are roman­tics. They think, “Final­ly, I have found some­one who rec­og­nizes how spe­cial and pre­cious I am. (S)he will always be at my beck and call, feed­ing me, chang­ing me, burp­ing me… 😉 ”

Oops. I tipped my hand!

The root of this kind of imma­ture think­ing is, to repeat, our child­hood expe­ri­ence of being cared for. None of us would be alive if our par­ents had not cared for us (no mat­ter how poor­ly or basi­cal­ly) as infants. Despite being unable to remem­ber any or the details of this time, at our core is a cel­lu­lar mem­o­ry of being looked after.

Let’s get real here:
It’s just kind of dumb to expect to be tak­en care of after we can care for ourselves.

Oh, I know. Hol­ly­wood has been feed­ing you bilge about true love being all about being treat­ed “spe­cial.” You do know, don’t you, that movies aren’t real, right?

As we look at the above approach­es, we see that the com­mon idea is either enti­tle­ment or bar­gain­ing. Enti­tle­ment is the idea that “I am spe­cial, and the world owes me, and must treat me kind­ly.” Bar­gain­ing, “I am going to have to bribe some­one to treat me as spe­cial, to give me what I deserve.”

Many rela­tion­ships do start exact­ly this way: each part­ner goes out of their way to be kind, giv­ing, help­ful, gen­tle, and car­ing. And as we all know, the nov­el­ty begins to wear off around year three.

That’s because both of the “kids” get tired of the inces­sant, whiny demands of their part­ner. Inter­est­ing­ly, this is also the point where, when one whines, “You need to do this for me, if you love me!” that the cor­rect reply becomes, “For god’s sake, grow up!”

Indeed. Growing up requires giving up both bargaining and entitlement.

The rela­tion­ship I have with Dar­bel­la is based upon the joy I cre­ate for myself as I observe Dar liv­ing her life. I have some­one to talk to who “gets me,” and who choos­es to live with me with­out judge­ment or demand. She’s with me because she want to be with me. She is not try­ing to make me into who she wants me to be. And I see her, and respect and love her for exact­ly who she is, in this moment.

She can­not make me hap­py. There is no way for her to get into my head and sort out how I am view­ing my real­i­ty. Only I can do that. There is no way for her to antic­i­pate what I want, nor can she meet my unex­pressed expec­ta­tions. (I can­not tell you how many times I heard clients say, “We’ve been togeth­er for three years! He should know what I want by now!” Yikes!)

Adults ask for what they want, and are will­ing to take per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty to get what they want. I’ve always said that if I want some­thing bad­ly enough, I can get it. I just might not be able to get it from the first per­son I ask. 

It is not Dar­bel­la’s “job” to meet my every need. My mom­my did that, until I was 2 or so. I am not mar­ried to my mom­my. Dar’s only “job” is to show up and be hon­est­ly her­self. My “job” is to show up and be me. Period.

Hap­pi­ness is an inside job. It is not a fac­tor of our loca­tion, our employ­ment, whether or not we are get­ting what we want, or who we are in rela­tion­ship with.

It is always and only about how I choose to view my life and my reality.

Hap­pi­ness comes when I declare myself to be happy.

Every time you notice your­self judg­ing anoth­er for “not mak­ing you hap­py,” give your­self a shake. Ask your­self why you are choos­ing unhap­pi­ness, and what you could do, right now, to shift that, for your­self. Take full, per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty for who you are, where you are, and how you are.

You are an adult now. You are total­ly and com­plete­ly respon­si­ble for your life. If you are in rela­tion­ship, remem­ber that rela­tion­ships are places where we learn about our­selves  —  where we receive feed­back and share curiosi­ties about “how life is on our planet.”

Be with your part­ner because you are inter­est­ed and “turned on” by their life-walk. And vice versa.

Embrace hap­pi­ness as a life-choice. It is not some­thing that hap­pens to you. It is how you view what is hap­pen­ing to you. It is an inter­nal sense, rather than an exter­nal gift. Lat those around you off the hook, and do what you need to do to be happy.

In oth­er words, it is time to grow up. 

Note: If your present rela­tion­ship needs work, well…
check out The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever.
It’s my rela­tion­ships book… you’ll find all the help you need!

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