Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too! Why not?
Happiness: pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction.
One day after work, I was feeling like life was crushing the breath from my lungs. My husband picked me up and on the way home, a deep sorrow flooded my soul. I felt defeated and depleted by everything going on in my life, in our lives, and I was at the breaking point where I wanted to give up fighting against the grain. Where was the light at the end of the tunnel? I felt drained of strength, energy, willpower, peace, self-confidence, authority, influence and most of all joy. But the mistake I made was to try to replace joy with happiness. “I am not happy!” I said to my husband as I cried from a bleeding heart. I really felt so unhappy and I believed I deserved to be happy. Not because I was so amazing and perfect—I was not by any means—but yes, we deserve happiness in life. Someone laid down his life over two thousand years ago so we could live a good life.
A common thread for us all, as it is so eloquently written in the Declaration of Independence,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Happiness is an unalienable right endowed upon us by our creator, but I was Les Miserable, and I was tired of faking it. I felt limited and entangled by the cares and snares which the world smothered me with, far from freedom. Have you ever felt trapped like that? I was a slave to my circumstances and emotions.
My husband asked me, “Why do you feel unhappy? What do you want?” I did not have the answer. It was not my husband’s fault and there was nothing he could do at that moment to make me happy. It’s not his responsibility to do that anyway; it was something I had to receive within myself.
Although I must admit, there was a time when I thought my husband was supposed to make me happy. Isn’t that what the fairytales were all about? The knight in shining armor saves the princess from the evil dragon and they get married and live happily ever after. My husband was supposed to be this rich guy who would rescue me from poverty and shame like the Cinderella story and I would live in bliss forever.
If you are in a relationship or a marriage and you are depending on the other person to always make you happy, you are setting yourself up for tragedy. A man or woman was never made to fulfill you; they were created to be a companion. They are your partner, not your source of happiness. Though they bring you joy and cause emotions of happiness, this is only an outward stimulation. True joy radiates from within.
There were moments in my life where I wanted more, and I wanted to stop having to fight so hard all the time to get it! I wanted to be able to do more and enjoy life to its fullest. I would always find reasons for why we had not arrived, why I wasn’t in my happy place. The reasoning mind will always accommodate you in your distress by filling your thoughts with negativity and images to add fuel to that fire. I thought, Well, if my husband had a better job, if we didn’t have kids, if we didn’t have all this debt, if we hadn’t moved, if we never bought that house, if we hadn’t been fired, if we had better opportunities, if we had more connections, if we had made better decisions, if we had our own business, if we had more money, if we only knew the right people, if, if, if, etc. All of these “ifs” would run laps in my mind for days and even months. Every time my husband and I hit a wall in life all the “ifs” would jump off the subconscious shelf and beat on my mind all over again.
I started breaking down. I was becoming weary and angry and impatient. So the easiest thing was to blame my husband for my unhappiness. I believe a lot of marriages fail not just from money issues but from heart issues. They never try and heal themselves, but go on hoping that superficial things or people, especially their spouse, will bring happiness. We are selfish by nature, but when we don’t fight selfishness, we become an idol to ourselves and everything centers around me, me, me. Then the blame game begins. You and I know being around selfish people is not fun. If we are truthful, we try to avoid these types of scenarios and those kinds of people because they are too self-centered. As far as they’re concerned, you are insignificant. Because your opinion is worthless in their eyes, that encounter can result in a heated conversation.