You, and you alone, are responsible for your happiness.
I know … shocking, right? Because THINK of all the good excuses out there that would prove otherwise. After all, our fellow humans can be terrible jerks sometimes, as can we.
People do heartbreaking things to each other – they lie, cheat, steal, manipulate and even murder. And yet … not one of those things is inherently cause for unhappiness.
Just as disasters and other cataclysmic events are not always tragedies either. (Bear with me here, for I can hear your questioning mind.)
I learned this when Teal died. For instead of folding up into a horizontal packet of pain, I’ve managed to stay pretty upright with the occasional lie down for a good sob.
And I maintain this is because I have not, for one minute, held her death as a ‘tragedy’. To me, it just isn’t.
Indeed, it is a manifestation of what Teal wanted for herself on a soul level. As painful as her early departure may be for the rest of us, this death is part of the deal she worked out with God in this lifetime.
Mind you, on a conscious level I’m quite sure Teal never once thought to herself that it would be a good idea to die young. But seldom do we orchestrate such things consciously.
Instead, what Teal knew was that she wanted to help people – a lot of people. And she wanted to do it in a way that was innate, natural, and in true guided flow. And that she was willing to work with God in whatever way was necessary to make that happen.
And so … here we are. And she is indeed getting just what she came (and left) for.
This is how it is with anyone whose behavior or choices torment you. The fact is that they are not in this world to live up to your needs, desires or expectations.
In fact … they are only here to live up to their own – as are you.
We are all divine children of the Universe, and in each lifetime, we are given this one delightful chance to script our own happiness. So when another shows up as other than we wish – we must ask ourselves this: why should they be any different than they are?
Recently, I annoyed someone close to me. I got all tangled up in my neediness about something, and burst into her day with a very poorly expressed request.
Lord, the drama I cooked up! I immediately felt terrible … and I knew I’d triggered her ‘stuff’ because while she met my request, she ignored my apologies. In her own way, she was letting me know a line had been crossed – and perhaps she needed a bit of time and space to recover.
But OH, how I needed to be put out of my writhing shame and guilt! I wanted her forgiveness NOW … and it was not forthcoming.
This is exactly when I saw – in Technicolor – how dependent I was on her response. And then … I got it! I could graciously give her the space to show up just as she was — without needing to change a single thing.
And here’s the magical part: in that moment, I could actually forgive myself. I could let myself off the hook and graciously acknowledge that sometimes life is intense, and I don’t operate perfectly every single time. That sometimes my emotions do get the best of me and I do blunder along.
As long as I take responsibility and acknowledge my wrongdoing, I can give myself a break for being human. And I can give her one as well.
The minute I saw this, everything relaxed. I no longer felt hamstrung, waiting for her forgiveness. Instead, I honored her for taking the time to do what she needed for herself, which felt quite whole and right.
So now a new world of possibility opens up, one in which we accept each other just as we are … with nothing added. So we no longer have to manipulate, cajole, maneuver or manage others to get what we want. We can, indeed, provide it for ourselves.
In the past, my mind would have whirred and snapped angrily that my friend’s forgiveness was not immediately. My childish self would stamp her foot: “Hey – what about me? I apologized!”
Which is a guarantee of nothing, other than the fact that I apologized.
Being able to let go and let the other be, just as they are, is not only a sign of maturity – it’s a huge relief to your sensitive soul. And it’s something you deserve to give yourself.
Hanging on to another’s ‘wrong doing’, and playing it again and again in our mind, is merely demanding they squeeze through the sieve of our own unreasonable expectations.
And so those harsh demands are simply the cries of our own thirsty souls, wishing we would, in fact, give ourselves a break, too.
Can you relate? Are you up to the challenge of letting another – and most of all, yourself, off the hook? I know I am.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.