As humans we are self-centered beings with a tendency to be selfish. We want to be happy. And unless we are psychopathic or narcissistic we usually want to make others happy too, within certain limitations.
How do we balance others’ happiness with our own? The key is being detached from the outcome. We need to know that despite our best efforts we may not succeed in achieving our goal of making others happy.
Balancing our happiness with that of others is like walking through a field of grass without bending any of the blades. It’s next to impossible. Sometimes we put others first at our own expense. This is at the root of “codependence” where our feelings are controlled by how others’ emotions, words and actions. This can lead to people-pleasing and to an excess of emotional stroking in order to “make” someone like and appreciate us.
The trouble is this effort does not work in the long run. We fool ourselves into thinking we have control over others. We forget that their happiness, as ours, must come from within their hearts.
I’ve been confronted with this truth regarding a number of relationships, particularly with one long-standing relationship. I feel as if I have failed to understand him, to get him to accept and love me as I am, without his correcting, criticizing, berating, or judging me. And oddly, when I mention why I feel the way I do toward him, he seems to have forgotten any of his past behaviors that led to the estrangement. They’re wiped from his memory as if they never took place. And so the residue from my past unhappiness with him remains mine with no resolution.
The circle of people on whom I can rely for love and support has grown smaller. Some of this is part of getting older and the busyness of life, but I’m still baffled by it. Relationships simply change and not always in ways that make me happy, no matter how hard I may try to stay in contact.
Like many, I’m hooked on the outcome of how I believe my relationships ought to be, based on my intentions and efforts. I need to look within myself as to why I persist in making such efforts when they are exercises in futility. What am I trying to get out of them? What is the payback for such efforts? What fear is driving me and is that fear motivating my attachment to the outcome? Questions to ponder for me….and likely for you.
© 2017 Michael Parise. Portions may be excerpted from Michael’s book: Life Interrupted, Taking Charge After Everything Has Changed
Since 1979 Michael has worked with individuals and groups to take full advantage interruptions and changes to balance responsibilities, simplify their lives, and find greater productivity and peace.Want Michael to speak for your next event? Or hire him as your personal executive Life Coach to improve your relationships at home and at work? Call 813-444-9641 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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