You've Gotta Get Real if You Wanna Get Happy
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
Thanks to Hollywood and social media, we believe a relationship is going to make us happy. Prince Charming is going to come along, give meaning to our lives, and waltz us into a technicolor world.
We think success or money or love will be the solution, but if that’s true, why is the divorce rate over 51% on first marriages?
Why do people who "have it all" end their own lives? Why do celebrities get strung out on drugs and alcohol?
The reason? There is NO situation or circumstance that is going to make you happy. Well, it may make you happy, but it won’t bring joy.
Happiness is based on the external landscape; joy is based on your internal landscape.
This is why Paul and Silas could sing praises in prison.
This is why Tibetan Buddhist monks can be peaceful under persecution.
This is how some people are able to maintain their equilibrium and composure during life’s toughest trials.
This is where hope comes from. We want to be joyful, because happiness can flow from joy, but joy NEVER comes from happiness.
So, we may use the word “happy” here, but what we’re really after is joy.
If you’ve ever been responsible for entertaining another person, you know it feels like pressure. It’s one thing when a child complains about being bored and wants you to entertain him. It’s another when an adult expects you to entertain him.
I dated someone once…..well, we weren’t dating - he actually never initiated going on dates.
So when he would call last minute and ask if I wanted to “hang out,” and I would say I had plans with friends, he would actually get mad that I didn’t invite him to go along.
Like it was my fault he was sitting at home on a Saturday night. Either ask me out in advance, or hang out with your friends, but don’t put me in charge of the entertainment committee.
But this is what women expect men to do - come in and save me from my lonely, boring life. Show up and be my Prince Charming and bring meaning to all the years I spent alone.
He will make my sadness disappear.
But relationships bring new types of problems that you didn’t have when you were single. And, part of being in any type of relationship - friendships, family, work - is that sometimes you’re going to get your feelings hurt.
You may still have times of loneliness - like if he travels or spends time with his kids without you. Or, if he wants to go shoot hoops with the guys or take a nap.
We will do things together.
You probably will. But you may not do EVERYTHING together.
In fact, one of the things men complain about is that “women change.”
One of the areas where women do change is that when we first meet a man, we act like we’re totally into watching the football game or playing golf.
We’re not necessarily being dishonest, but many times we’re excited to be with him, so we’re willing to participate in activities that we don’t necessarily love.
As the relationship progresses, we stop going to the things we didn’t like in the first place. To him, this feels like you’ve changed. And he won’t necessarily want to go shopping or to the opera with you.
He will be there for me.
Hopefully he will. But men are rarely “there” for us the way we want them to be. Why? They aren’t women.
One friend of mine was in bed for 3 days with the flu. When she finally felt well enough to emerge, she was upset to find the dishwasher hadn’t been run and there were dirty dishes in the sink.
Her thought: if my husband loved and cared about me, he’d have at least done the dishes. He knows I hate seeing dishes in the sink! But, men don’t necessarily think like that. He wouldn’t have been bothered by the dishes if he were sick (apparently, also not when healthy).
I dated a guy who said he’d go with me when the time came for me to put my dog to sleep; but, on the day, he was out of town on business. I couldn’t wait the 2 extra days for him to come back - I had to do it alone.
There are pros and cons to being single; and there are pros and cons to being in a relationship. But a relationship is not going to solve your life problems. You need to do that before you can attend to a relationship.
It really is true that you have to have peace and joy whether you are single or coupled. I would prefer a relationship, but I've learned how to be happy WHILE I'm single - not necessarily BECAUSE I'm single.
That's what I call the One-Derful Life - being happy and peaceful and having a life you love even if you don't have the love of your life.
Before I forget - if you need some help getting over a broken heart, check out my ABC's of healing. You'll be on your way to a One-Derful Life!
Question: Have you ever had unrealistic expectations of what a man will do for you?
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