Recently I had the opportunity to talk to a friend going through a relationship break-up and although I’m not their coach (I tend not to coach friends) we got talking about what they are going through, how they got there and what the future holds.
Everyone has their reasons for ending a relationship but I was struck by the fact that this friend seemed to hold their ex wholly responsible for not making her happy in hers and although she praised him for being a wonderful, kind, caring, love and intelligent person who was great with her kids, in the same breath she also went on to say that she just wasn’t happy and wanted someone who would make her happy.
I was interested to know what stopped her from being happy in her relationship if her ex had all of those positive characteristics, although I knew there was more to it than how ‘nice’ her partner had been.
I believe our relationships are great catalysts for learning more about ourselves and I wondered if there was any new awareness as a result of their time together. There didn’t seem to be. My friend instead went on to confide that not one of her partners had ever made her really happy. All of them were great men, but none of them were what she wanted and she was tired of being let down all the time.
As I listened to this confession I felt sad for her.
The list of boyfriends, husbands, partners and flings, all came short of GIVING her the happiness she most desired. That’s not to say they didn’t try. In fact her most recent ex, the one we has begun talking about in the first place, had done more than most to try and make her happy. This had even become a bone of contention in their relationship because as she asked more of him, trying to get to that feeling of happiness, he lost more and more of himself and then she felt he had changed too much!
I saw clearly in that moment that the regular and reasonably quick ending and beginning of new relationships was for her, a constant renewable search for a happiness that would never be found.
Why as a Relationship Coach would I say this?
Because the happiness she is searching for is only available in the one place she hasn’t starting looking.
Inside of her.
When we depend on our partners to make us happy we give away our power and we abdicate responsibility for our lives. We place blame and continue to look away from ourselves, preventing growth and missing the path of true happiness.
It is not anyone’s job in life to make us happy. If we begin a relationship with the expectation that THIS person, THIS time we will be happy, we run the risk of disappointment because no matter how happy our relationships can be, our partners still cannot provide an endless supply of happiness for us to absorb and feel. When the honeymoon is over and our lives together move into the usual, the routine there will be times when our partner might be a source of frustration, at others they may be unavailable or not able to feel enough happiness themselves to then also share. What then?
Who provides our happiness when our partners can’t?
Your happiness is always there for you. It waits inside of you, ready to be nurtured, embraced and shared. The best we can do for ourselves in our relationships is to access it, grow it and express it, building a core of happiness that is not dependant on another, but is instead full and rich and able to be freely shared with those we love, without concern for it being diminished or taken away for good.
Without this reserve, without the knowledge of and ability to create our own happiness, we will always look to others to give us what they have absolutely no power to give and when we end up disappointed again, we will blame the very person we placed more expectation that is reasonable on and begin looking somewhere else.
Unfortunately for my friend, I think she will go on seeking for a while longer yet, because she isn’t ready for the awareness that is needed to access her own happiness, but I hope that day comes for her soon so she can experience the fullness of love that is possible when we trust in ourselves that we already have all that we need.
Photo credit: a little tune