I was having a conversation with my parents about relationships. As I felt my father hammering home the fact that people just need to be happy over and over again, I tilted my head to the side, thought a little and then blurted out, “That’s a crock!” Hear me out, because he probably looked at me the same exact way you are as you read this. But as I listened to my father talk about how important it is to be happy and that people have to do what makes them happy, I thought to myself, “What happens in relationships when you’re not happy?” Is it over then? Is it over at the moment you are unhappy or is there a certain allotted amount of unhappy before you’re privileged to move on? The idea that you have to be so obsessed with your “happiness” in a relationship made me realize that “happy” is so self-serving.
Yes we all want to be happy. But what does that really mean? It’s different for every person for sure and let’s be honest, there will be times in your relationship when you are freaking unhappy! That’s one thing I know for sure, so please don’t waste your breath telling me about your one friend that’s happy all the time. Not trying to hear it. Relationships are hard and in the midst of that, you may have some completely unhappy and dare I say it, even miserable days. But that’s where love becomes a decision and not based on feeling jovial or light-hearted.
Our dependence on a false sense of happiness that we’re supposed to be experiencing in relationships is probably why half of marriages are ending in divorce. At that same UPPN Mixer I mentioned in the previous Dear Love post, we had a linguist get up to talk about what the term love actually means in its African origin and it literally means extending to meet the need of another. I’m paraphrasing, but I will keep shouting until I am blue in the face that we have to learn that LOVE is not just about us and how it makes us feel at that moment. The “ME, ME, ME” mentality is why so many people are unfulfilled in relationships. TOO busy thinking about themselves and not the person they decided to be in a relationship with!
Am I saying to get over yourself and be miserable in a relationship and call that love? No! I think you guys know me better than that by now. But I get afraid of that phrase “You have to do what makes your happy,” because I understand how fleeting of an emotion happiness can be. I have been happy and then completely and utterly depressed in like point two seconds in a random day. And I am not talking bi-polar disorder or anything like that, I am just talking about something great happens and then immediately after something frustrates me. If I treated my relationship that way, I wouldn’t be in one.
We have great and amazing times. We also have really tough and confusing times that are hard to break out of. But we choose to love each other even in the moments when we aren’t particularly happy with one another. Because it’s life and there are ups and downs and if you don’t prepare yourself for that, you will jump from relationship to relationship searching for something in someone that that they simply will not be able to give you. Our happiness – our joy, has to come from within. It has to come from our ability to put one another first instead of constantly thinking of ourselves. It’s a CHOICE to be happy.
So yes, sometimes relationships go sour and you can’t resolve it and you can’t get through the miserable times and you have to let it go. But so many of us don’t give love that fair chance to turn back around. We’re too anxious, chasing happiness like it’s the next high. Like the next person won’t also have flaws, or like the things that you brought to the table that were detrimental to the relationship will change even though you have not acknowledged them.
Happy is self-serving, and love is supposed to be all about serving another. Heart check! Are you chasing happy and not giving love a fair shot?