we enter relationships hoping they will make us happy. We hope
that this person is the right one, that we aren’t repeating
mistakes of the past, and that we will finally receive the love,
support, companionship and admiration we’ve been waiting for.
Each person has a shopping list of hopes, expectations and secret
demands he/she makes of their partner and their relationship.
When these wishes are fulfilled, then they say they are happy.
of approach to relationships usually brings disappointment.
It fails to understand the important difference between happiness
and joy, (or contentment).
happiness is always fleeting. It comes and goes. It has to.
Just as night and day alter, happiness too fluctuates. Happiness
depends upon circumstances. When things go well, we are happy.
When we get what we want, when the sun is shining, when our
boyfriend finally pops the questions these are moments of happiness.
These moments are lovely - we cherish them in memory. The only
wrong with this kind of happiness is when we depend upon them
to feel good.
Joy is different.
It doesn’t come and go. It doesn’t depend upon outer circumstances.
When things are difficult, when our hopes are not fulfilled,
it is still possible to feel joyful. Joy arises from within,
not without. It is an attitude of mind that can be developed
and nurtured. It represents the growth of the individual from
a child to an adult, willing to take responsibility for the
way they choose to respond. Joy is not a knee jerk reaction.
It a positive decision we make about ourselves and others.
In a sense
joy is a practice. It is not necessarily an emotion. Joy, being
constant, is deeper than emotion; it is an orientation towards
life and towards the people in your relationships. It is built
upon actions, it is a way of being with oneself and others,
no matter what happens. There are steps we can take and can
practice daily, which allow joy to be present. Joy is a decision
we make each day.
to find joy in our lives and our relationships, certain things
have to be developed and others to be relinquished. A famous
saying describes this beautifully, it says, “When we are children
we play with toys. When we grow up, we want the real thing.”
The real thing is joy, not happiness. Here are two, easy, beginning
steps you can take, (and continue to practice), to find joy
in your relationships.
Up Blaming The Other Person.
goes by it is very easy to find many things disappointing and
wrong with the person you are with in a relationship. When we
are upset, we attribute it to their behavior, something they’ve
said or done wrong, or something they haven’t done that we feel
they should have. This is putting our well being in the hands
of another. It is one of the most significant ways we destroy
our own peace of mind and also undermine the other person. Realize
that each person has the right to be who they are at this moment.
No one made you their judge and jury. If you are upset or unhappy
with their behavior, that is your response, it does not necessarily
mean that something is wrong with them. You are creating your
own unhappiness by blaming and disapproving of them. Give it
up. Just observe their behavior. Get to know them. Watch how
they live their lives and what their patterns are. This does
not mean you have to join them, stay in the relationship or
get into a dance with them. In fact, this may be the wrong person
for you, but give up feeling they have disappointed you. They
were not put on this earth to please you. They were put on this
earth to be who they are, to change, grow and find wisdom. Say
to yourself, this person has a right to be who they are, and
I have a right to be who I am as well. They are not harming
me by being who they are. This is their life they are leading.
I have not been put on this earth to fix them. In truth, it
is your own expectations which are causing you upset.. When
we do not put heavy expectations on the other, but are willing
to simply discover who they are, blame dissolves more easily.
The Art Of True Giving
a huge difference between really giving to another, and giving
so you can get something back in return. When we give in order
to get something back, (and secretly wait for it and demand
it), this is nothing more than manipulation, and it quickly
kills our joy. Joy is based upon true giving. When we learn
to give truly, it is almost impossible to be upset or sad. The
giving itself is its own return.
means, giving with no strings attached. It means giving something
to the person that they need or would like, (not something that
pleases you). In this form of giving, we take time to really
know the person, and become willing to meet their needs. Some
fear to give, feeling that they will be drained or stripped
bare. The opposite is true. The more we give, the more we have.
We have a sense of fullness and kindness, which is the basis
for the development of joy.
many things that can be given besides physical objects. Many
people need time, attention, acknowledgment, the chance to be
right about something. Make a list of all the things you can
give another. Also make a list of the things you’d like someone
to give you. In this way you’ll start to become more sensitive
to what a person is really needing, and how best to give it,
so they can receive it easily.
giving freely. Do it in little steps at first. Let the car behind
you pass you, let the person go first at the check out counter.
Give someone a hand with their bags, open the door for someone
at a building. Practice being there for another. The more you
do it, the more your joy will grow.
Dr Brenda Shoshanna/2005