Whose Happiness is it Anyway?

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Do you feel un-nerved or unsettled unless you are making other people happy? I don’t mean by prancing around in a funny outfit and being the amusement for all to enjoy; I’m thinking more about doing things for people, being there for them no-matter-what – being good old reliable you? Is this where you find your happiness?

It’s something I've invested a lot of thought into recently as it crops up in my work with adults and young people…..from the little girl that can’t decipher her own likes and wants from that of her Mum’s or her little sisters and the man’s self-worth that comes from the gratitude of others.

This pattern often develops as a child, from the wonderful feeling of belonging when you are accepted and appreciated for what you have done, from the need to be recognised for something – how lovely to be the one that is useful to everyone and from the praise of doing a job so well; receiving the physical contact maybe, and a treat for your efforts.

Is it familiar for you, to offer to do something even though it is out of your way, and it is as much effort for you to do it, as it would be for the person you are doing it for to do it themselves?

In my experience of working with clients who experience this in their lives, who seek their happiness in the happiness of others, there is a strong undertone of resentment. When you discount your own needs and preferences, those who like you for that, will often discount your needs and preferences too – if they’re not important to the individual, why would they be important to others?

Are you thinking, ‘but that’s just who I am’?

Yes indeed it is, and you are very valuable to those who are lucky enough to be special to you. Yet what if you don’t like that feeling of resentment, what if you constantly wish that people would prioritise you like you prioritise them? What if you’re sick of thinking that people are only around you for what you have or can give? If you think like this, then there is the opportunity to change.

Change would mean that you are able to be authentic, you can say no, you can offer a compromise and you can do things for yourself without needing reassurance or approval from others; and the main advantage is not having that uncomfortable, sick feeling in your stomach and the fear that people will leave or abandon you for allowing them the responsibility - to take care of themselves.

You would be the authentic you, with needs, wants and wishes, with the confidence to live life for yourself and you would have given yourself the greatest gift – to enjoy your very own happiness.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

If you would like to talk about your own changes or difficulties, please contact me.