Even if we may be our worst enemies.
My mother is a profoundly unhappy woman. I’ve never seen her be truly happy. Not even during vacations or holidays.
Especially during vacations and holidays.
For as far back as I can remember, I blamed myself for being the root of all of my mother’s problems. Until one day I finally realized that there was no way a child could have been the cause of all the problems of an adult.
At the root of my mother’s unhappiness lies just one thing: unwarranted expectations. She’s a lonely woman who’s never quite understood, or figured out a way to be content with her life. She has, all her life, expected somebody else to make her happy. I know that because she has said so herself on various occasions.
She’d compare me and my father with other children and husbands and wonder why we were such awful people.
Other children made their mothers happy. I, on the other hand, was some ungrateful spawn of the devil.
I, as I was (and am), was never enough for her.
The real problem, however, as I see it now, is that she herself was never enough for her.
As unfortunate as it is, I see many people go through the same problem. They may not turn violent or abusive, unlike my mother, but that doesn’t change the fact that these people remain unhappy their entire lives.
I believe it is safe to conclude that a lonely person who goes out there looking for a partner or decides to become a parent as a way to quell their loneliness, will never be content, much less happy.
Not unless they stop expecting someone else to make them happy.
An experience, good or bad, depending on how it’s used can be turned into something of benefit.
Take my abusive childhood and adolescent years for example. As bad as things were back then, I can at least say that I’ve learned to be self-sufficient.
Do I get lonely? Of course, I do.
There are days when I’m depressed. Some days I feel let down by a partner. Some days I let down a partner. On days that I do not have a partner, I seek the warmth of another body next to me, over me, around me.
But at the end of the day, deep in my heart, I know that I’m a person who’s content with life as it is. I know that no matter what happens, even if a partner leaves me, or cheats on me, or doesn’t understand me, I’ll be OK.
I’ll be OK because I have me.
And at the risk of uttering platitudes, let me just say this. I am enough. And unless you’re enough for yourself, you’ll always be lonely and unhappy, and more importantly, you will never be content with anything. No matter how much money you make, how many promotions you get, or how big of a house you live in.
Unless you’re enough for yourself, nothing else will be enough.
If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s not a job or a house, it’s not even our partners. It’s ourselves.
Let’s take this one step further.
What are the things you depend on for your day-to-day happiness? Your job? Your home? The games you play?
The more you cut down your dependency on external factors, the more you’ll come to rely on yourself. And if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s not a job or a house, it’s not even our partners. It’s ourselves.
We are the only ones we can control. Even when we screw up or make mistakes, we can do something about it.
Our partners hurting us? Not a thing we can do about that! We can go for counseling, and that may or may not work.
We can work our butts off to keep a job, but if the company goes up in flames, we’re out of jobs no matter how much we devoted ourselves to our job titles.
They’re mostly just shams.
Ultimately, we’re all we can count on.
If we can take away the unrealistic expectations of others from our lives, we can not only be more content at the end of the day, we can also make our partners’ lives easier.
I’m no superhuman.
I preach, but that’s not to say that we’re to discard all human emotions.
Loving means relying on or being relied upon. That’s what a partnership is. And when that partnership breaks, no matter the reason, it hurts.
Self-sufficiency isn’t discarding all humanity.
It is simply the acknowledgment that we all have our own lives. That none of us can entirely devote our lives to someone else. Or something else. It is the feeling of being OK with ourselves when we’re left to our own devices.
Hurting and being hurt are parts of being alive. That will never change. However, if we can take away the unrealistic expectations of others from our lives, we can not only be more content at the end of the day, we can also make our partners’ lives easier. Or our children’s, or friends’.
Clingyness often repels others. When we become clingy our partners cheat on us, and our children hate us and leave us. The root cause of that is unrealistic expectations.
But when we’re self-sufficient, all of a sudden life improves. That’s because self-sufficiency gives us confidence. And confidence attracts others to us. Because when we’re confident in our own bodies, in our own companies, it takes away the unrealistic expectations of others. Which unburdens those around us and makes it easy for them to be in our company.
As simple as that.
It’s really ourselves that we need to be happy with. Sure, there will be times when we may be overly critical of ourselves. We may screw up, we may even fail over and over… but still, at least we can do something about it. Other people? Not so much.