“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” ~ Alice Walker
Do you expect your partner to make you happy? If you do, you could be setting your relationship up for failure. Somehow we are able to let go of the Tooth Fairy and Santa, but we still want to hold on to the knight in shining armor or the beautiful maiden who will make our dreams come true.
On a deeper level it may be that we expect our partner to provide all of the loving, nurturing and support that we may not have received from our parents, and may not be getting out in the world. Many relationship difficulties can be traced to an ongoing struggle, like a tug-o-war, where each is trying to get the other to be the caregiver. This may be happening on a subconscious level, while on a conscious level it may manifest as arguments about who should get the groceries, or someone spending too much time in front of the T.V. set.
Part of the problem is that with our pace of life, we do not take enough time to nurture ourselves. If our emotional tank is running on low. then we just want someone to fill it up. We may end up siphoning from one another, until both are running on empty.
While there are certainly times when one is able and willing to be the giver, while the other blissfully receives, it is important that both partners take some responsibility for their own wellbeing. This might mean taking care of ourselves physically, with proper rest, diet and exercise, so that we can maximize our energy level. It might mean tending to our spiritual side, and staying in touch with what life is about. It could also mean doing the things we love to do individually. Too often people gradually give up things that they love because their partner doesn’t.
When we start out in a new relationship, we put a lot of effort into showing the other how wonderful we are. It can be hard to keep this up, so we begin to slip a little, but continue to expect (admit it) the other to continue being totally wonderful, and to compensate for whatever our lives might be lacking.
The real key to our happiness is to put ourselves in charge of it. Do some things that make you feel terrific. Energize yourself and vow to get the most out of life, regardless of how others approach it. The good times with your partner can be the icing on the cake: delightful to have, always tasting like more, important for sure, but not the only source of your happiness. This way, you both can bring more into the partnership, and there is more to draw on in time of need.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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