“Tell everyone you know: ‘My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.’ And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they’re doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel-and then, you’ll love them all. Because the only reason you don’t love them, is because you’re using them as your excuse to not feel good.”
I saw this great quote earlier in the week on an equally great site called I Am That Girl. It really struck me because I think as a society, we’re largely groomed to place our happiness in other people. “Happiness” is this thing we seem to spend a lifetime trying to attain. When you ask people what one thing they want out of life, I think a lot of people would say “to be happy.” I think if you prodded on that question some more, people would feel like they could attain happiness if they had a certain number of friends, if they had a significant other or a spouse, if they made a certain amount of money or had a better boss at work. The common thread with all these things is they have nothing to do with the self…they’re all external things or things related to other people.
That’s not to say that having friends or a significant other/spouse isn’t great or something that can make us all happy and I am certainly no stranger to allowing people to determine my happiness. Growing up, especially in high school, I placed so much of myself and my mood in other people whether it be a friend or a guy I liked, or even a teacher. I had no idea even how to even make myself happy I don’t think. I based it all on external things and on people and never realized that’s not really how it’s supposed to be. Or how miserable that can actually make a person.
Of course I think on some level we all want to be liked and it’s natural that people liking us would make us happy. It’s natural that we want to have fun people or someone special to share experiences with in our lives. But I think the fine line is basing our lives on that. Being unhappy if our lives don’t fit into a certain set of circumstances or if we don’t have this person or that in our lives. Or…if people don’t like us. I’ll be honest, I like the fact that I can get along with almost anyone. I’m sure a lot of us do. But at some point in life, we’re all going to come across a time where someone isn’t going to like us, or we’re going to lose a friend, or that guy we’re really into won’t be into us back and somehow we have to learn not to let that break our happiness. I wish I could sit here and give one of those handy 12 Steps to Not Letting It Get You Down lists or something but I’m quite sure it’s not that simple. I think Esther was really onto something in saying “practice feeling good.” When do you really hear someone say to “practice” feeling good? It’s something I think a lot of us just expect to happen. We expect everything in our lives to add up just right so we will finally feel happy but we never really try to dig to find it within ourselves. I think this is where we have it wrong. I’m sure it’s much easier said than done, but I think if we really just tried to practice feeling good, to practice feeling happy on our own, without anyone else’s help…we really would be a lot, well, happier.
I’d never thought of the last sentence before either. That you can’t really love everyone because you use them as an excuse to not feel good. Wow! It makes complete sense though. Only when you’re truly happy with yourself and you let go of trying to make everyone else happy or let them affect how you feel can you not allow their opinions or disapprovals to get to you. We actually use others as a road block on the road to feeling good and feeling happy when we should be trying to find what actually makes us happy, from inside.
Thank you for the words of wisdom Esther Hicks. You’ve given me a lot to think about and I hope someday we all will be able to let everyone off the hook in our lives.