Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi
In September, as I was preparing to perform a wedding ceremony, I was inspired to begin including in my wedding words something new. For me anyway… “You are called not to make each other happy, but to be happy together.”
I know this may sound contrary to much of what couples love about being together. Many of them tell me, “He or she makes me so happy.” This sentiment and feeling is real. And it’s a wonderful feeling to have. But the reality is another person can’t make you happy. You allow yourself to be happy because you associate happiness with who they are or what they do. But ultimately, you are the one who makes yourself happy. You are making the choice to let in the joy, the delight, the peace of being together.
Whose responsibility is it anyway?
Did we learn to believe others make us happy, angry or upset, content or free from our upbringing? Did an authority figure tell us, “You have made me proud because of your grades, your behavior, your smile, the way you dress, etc., etc.” Then you were rewarded or punished accordingly? So we got the idea we had the power, and others had the power to affect how we look at the world and feel in it.
We were being taught conditional love. If we met the conditions someone deemed made him or her happy or not, such as liking of our grades then we received approval. But how many times did we receive approval just because of nothing, for just being?
Probably not often enough to learn self-empowerment.
Not that those who love us meant us any harm. The “be who I want you to be so I can be happy” value system has been passed down from generation to generation. Our parents were taught it by their parents and they were taught this by their parents, etc., etc.
But there is no lasting joy or happiness in depending on another to make us happy. Sooner or later the ones we depend on to make us happy won’t be able to. And then we find ourself wondering if we married the right person. OMG – what have I done?
Our Big Toe
Enduring happiness comes from our deciding to be happy no matter what is going on around us. Then we are able to share that with another, to be happy — together. This is the central truth of self-actualization, or knowing who we are. We make our self happy by our decision to be happy. Then we share that happiness with our mate, our family, our big toe. It doesn’t matter. Happiness is our choice to make.
Give it a Try
You can experiment right now. No matter what is happening in your life right now, whether you just got a promotion the weather is too cold or too hot. Maybe your father-in-law just chewed your mate out. Or you can’t pay a bill. Whatever it may be, in this moment you can decide to be happy anyway. Let every story you are telling yourself about how good or bad something is, go. Instead, replace your story with a more fulfilling choice, like, “everything is always working out for me.” (My new mantra). You choose your state of happiness.
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition. Martha Washington
By making this choice, you give the gift of your presence to your spouse, your boss, your…big toe. You are happy. Then he or she can decide if they are going to get on the bandwagon with you, or stay in whatever less than happy mood they might be. Plus you change the atmosphere around you because like birds of a feather stick together, happiness begets more happiness.
Coming at you now is a bit of my spiritual training: Jesus said, “To him who has, more is given. And to whom who has not, is taken away.” What you focus on grows, whether it’s good or bad.
Here’s the added benefit of making the decision to be happy on your own: you take the pressure off your mate to make you feel, or be anything. He or she can be who they are, work through it, expand what they like about where they are or not. But the power comes because you have made a choice to take a stand for what is real and enduring: unconditional love. Unconditional because there are no conditions that must change in order to make you happy. When we get to this place, we are usually surprised that things DO actually change but not because we did anything other than choose to be happy within ourself
Our Natural State of Being
Happiness is our natural state of being. When we are angry or upset, it’s just a way of showing us we are off base from WHO we really are. Being angry or resentful isn’t bad, just a road sign pointing out that we have given our power to direct our life to someone or something else.
My belief is your relationship will be a lot more satisfying when you are happy as an individual. In other words, “You are called not to make each other happy, but to be happy together.”
Just a reminder: I appreciate any referrals you may make to your friends or family members who are interested in having a fabulous, personalized wedding ceremony. Please direct them to my website at www.nmiwo.com. Thank you!!