I’ve Got a Secret

Dear Women,

I have a secret I’ve learned this past year.
I’m going to tell you the secret now.
It’s kind of changed my life.
You might already know the secret, but indulge me since I just learned it.
Your boyfriend/husband/partner isn’t in charge of making you happy.
Ever.
At all.
Right but he/she DOES make me happy!
Well then that’s just an added bonus my friend.

d1a5a591bed6e2e0ea4778ddaeb38206I listened to one of Pastor Furtick’s podcasts the other day and he announced, “Newsflash! Your joy is your job.” I think that perfectly and succinctly sums up what I’ve been learning. I can rely on everyone around me to make me happy, but OH will I be disappointed. Someone else might be able to make me happy for a little while in that, you know, romantic period. But then after a while I will once again feel disappointed by the person who is supposed to be making me happy.
BECAUSE IT’S NOT THEIR JOB TO MAKE ME HAPPY!
In my recent blog, I told you I heard the phrase, “Like what you like.” It is important, but SO much more important when you are in a relationship. How quickly do you give up the things you like because the other person you’re dating likes something else and so you try to like that thing too? IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT MAKING YOU HAPPY! You quit doing all the things you like, the other person didn’t, and now you’re trying to figure out why in the world he/she isn’t making you feel happy anymore. IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT MAKING YOU HAPPY! That’s why it’s SO damn important to know how to make YOU happy before you can build/continue to build a life with someone else.
I happen to be in a relationship with someone who sees this flaw of forgetting to like what I like within me and he reminds me (thank you, Bear). He reminds me by continuing to like what he likes and also sometimes skooching me towards the things he knows I like but am not doing. He knows I’m not here to MAKE him happy. And now I know he is not here to MAKE me happy. There is an energy between us with a momentum we both love. We love each other for exactly who we are. We’ve seen each other at our UGLIEST, and even in the moments of flaring rage or paralyzing fear or agonizing pain, we choose to love each other. We make sacrifices for each other. We re-orient our lives to benefit each other. We intentionally spend our time helping each other reach goals or stand back up. It’s not exactly “work”, but it does require attention and INtention.

Rob Bell wrote, “Your marriage is only as healthy as the least healthy person in it.” You cannot be a whole, healthy person if you’re waiting for someone else to do something for you. Here’s a perfect, real-life example: If I ask Bear to take the garbage out, I mean I want him to take it out RIGHT NOW. He says he will, and 3 hours later it still isn’t done. I have two choices: be disappointed that Bear failed to MAKE me happy by taking the garbage out OR decide that my happiness doesn’t hinge on whether or not he takes the garbage out. My happiness, in this instant, hinges on the garbage going out so the cans aren’t overflowing. So I make MYSELF happy and take the garbage out (without some passive aggressive jab or dig at him). I can make the issue what it’s really about: taking out garbage. Because that’s really as deep as it goes.

The next time your happiness hinges on what someone else does or does not do, refocus. What do you like? What can you do to make YOU happy? Rob Bell also said, “It’s those everyday moments when you’re processing life with someone, that’s actually where marriage is.” Replace “marriage” with relationship, union, partnership, friendship and it still rings true. Stop relying on someone else to bring you joy. Take responsibility for yourself. Your joy is YOUR job. So get to work.

Love,
Erin

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