7. There is self-responsibility with one’s own happiness.
(Furthermore, the characteristic also states, “you don’t blame the other person for your misery.”)
I asked a few people what they thought this characteristic meant to them.
A 31-year-old, single male stated, ‘You cannot rely on the other person to make you happy, because you will never be happy as a result and you will put blame of the relationship’s lack of success on the other person failing to make you happy. The opposite sex can assist in happiness creation, but cannot be the sole reason for it.’
A 22-year-old, married female said, ‘Even though we are meant to be reliant on each other in relationships, we should not be dependent on the other for our source of joy and satisfaction. If a relationship is too clingy, the potential for extreme hurt is greatly increased.’
I think that this one goes hand-in-hand with the previous characteristics described here and here. We cannot expect our personal happiness, satisfaction, or mood to lie in the actions of the other person. This is difficult, though, when the other person may mean so much to us.
I’ll admit, if my boyfriend is upset, it does make me upset. If someone who I care about is upset over something, I tend to take on their feelings and feel upset along with them. This is a good characteristic and also a bad one, I’m finding. I have extreme empathy for people and that often dictates my own happiness as well. It amazes me how people can make a whole profession out of listening to other people’s misery and trying to help them. I’d come home every day feeling so upset for these people! I’m currently trying to learn the balance between feeling sympathetic and empathetic.
I think that this characteristic has a lot to do with another one I have not yet discussed, which I’m quite frankly surprised is not at the top of the list. This characteristic is, “each person must find fulfillment outside of the relationship.” We need to be able to find happiness outside of the happiness we may feel with the other person. It’s okay if my boyfriend plays basketball a few times week instead of seeing me. It’s okay if he takes his annual snowboarding trip with his friends and I don’t go. In fact, I told him on his last trip (which was actually last week), that I encourage him to go, even though I’ll miss him. Keeping the characteristics of a healthy relationship in mind, I said, “it’s actually really healthy for our relationship.”
Easier said than done though, I think. We often want to be with that person all the time. They can start to mean so much to us that we don’t know how we’ll ever make it apart. One person can start to dictate our every thought and action. We can start to credit them when we feel happiness. Of course, the person continues to exist in our lives because they make us happy, but at the end of the day, we must remember that WE are in control of our happiness. WE make a choice to be happy from day-to-day. No one can control our actions and what we do except for ourselves!