They were talking about a new relationship and were going on about how much fun they were having. New relationships are fun and full of joy. But I do cringe when I hear anyone say their significant other makes them happy. Or that they want to find someone to make them happy.
There's one huge issue with wanting to be made happy or trying to make someone happy.
When we want to be made happy, we give the power of our emotions to an outside source. As in the above example, the relationship is new and exciting. What happens when it's not new and not so exciting? Relationships are cyclical just like life. How odd. Or what happens if the other person makes a mistake? Do we become unhappy? And who's fault is that?
Happiness is like any other emotion. It's a choice. In the book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey, one of the things we should do is control how we react. I'm not saying people shouldn't have knee jerk reactions. Nor have I mastered this skill. But because I know where a lot of my anger, sadness, and fears come from, I can make decisions to just change my mood. Sometimes I'll need to listen to music, or think of something pleasant. It's a choice.
What if someone attacks you physically? Should we be passive? Passive or not depends on the intent of the attack. If it's a verbal one, I'm not gong to resort to kicking someone in theballs. If it's a life and death situation, I'm not going to just stand there and think of a daisy. I'd jump out of the way from an oncoming car.
In everday life, I try to choose peace and happiness (Do or do not... there is no try). It places the responsibility of my emotions on me, empowering me. That way, in the greater picture, it doesn't matter what happens in my life, I'll know why my emotions may be going awry and be able to choose to let it to go.
Most people don't realize this. They think money, finding the right person, getting that candy apple red sports car, or buying a mansion is going to solve their emotional issues. And it's not. Those things can enhance the experiences of our lives, but they cannot make us happy. We deciding those things makes us happy puts power in those things. And if and when we lose them, our mood plunges.
Further proof of this is when sociologists have studied people in third world countries who have little materialistic wealth; they tend to be happier than the average westerner. Why is that? They don't see how green the grass is on the other side. They see how green their grass is here. They're wholly appreciative of what they have.
Enjoy the little things in life like great TV, movies, art, etc. Hang out with friends and family. Ok...maybe just friends. Desserts are great in lifting moods. Have music in your life. There's a reason why iPods are so popular. Yes, these are still outside things, but think of them as a crutch for now. You're still making the decision to focus on other things, and eventually you'll just make the decision to let go and be happy.
And that brings us to my hero's wife in my book. Her issues of happiness are highly dependent on her husband. Because of this there are interesting conflicts that play out with a war going on in the backdrop. A lot of painful words were written. Words that I beat. I know. Bad joke.