When did we start placing our happiness in the hands of others? When did we start forcing the responsibility of ensuring our contentment on someone else?
The first question asked when starting out in a budding romantic relationship or contemplating the success of a friendship almost always ends up being “Do they make you happy?” Time and time again, I have heard my friends ask if my current romantic partner makes me happy, and shamefully, I admit that in the past I have asked the very same of my loved ones during squabbles with their partners or amidst friend group drama.
But in my, let’s call it naivety, I failed to realize that I and everyone around me was asking the wrong question. It was never supposed to be “Do they make you happy?”, but instead, “Am I making myself happy?”
After all, why is it someone else’s responsibility to see to it that we are consistently happy in our day to day lives? And yes, undoubtedly there is some reader who is thinking, “But what if they are constantly arguing with you and they make you cry or” and so on and so forth. When it comes down to it, you will always be incapable of controlling the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. The responsibility lies with you to create clear lines of communication with you and your loved ones. How can you ask if someone else is making you happy if you are not even giving them the chance to, nor creating an environment in which they can contribute towards your happiness? Ask yourself, “Am I making myself happy by communicating my needs with my partner and friends? Am I making myself happy by telling my loved ones how their actions make me feel?” And if you have in fact done all of that, you can create the space in which these people can contribute healthily in your life, then ask, “Is their presence in my life contributing towards my happiness?”
Happiness is not something that simply falls into your lap one day. You are not lounging under the shade of a tree, and there is no shiny red apple to elegantly grace you with its presence. Happiness is not something a single person can give you; one bite from a perfect apple is not going to satisfy you for all your days to come. Happiness is something you must choose to work towards every day. It is about making decisions that are healthy for you and the life that you are building for yourself. It is being grateful for what you have and all that will come in the future. It is learning to say goodbye to things and people that threaten this state of mind.
Every puzzle piece revolves around choices—choices that only you can make. Choices that you will make if you are finally ready to accept that you deserve happiness.