I’m Not Responsible For Your Happiness

HappinessIn fact no one is. Not your partner, not your parent, not your priest. We are all responsible for ourselves. Blaming others for problems in life only leads to disappointment, shattered expectations, and bitterness.

No matter what has been done to you it’s up to you to do something about it. Yes I know that sucks, it’s unfair. In life we are taught and want to believe that life is fair, that everything happens for a reason. In counseling we call that a cognitive distortion. It’s a lie that distorts our way of thinking and keeps us from growing. Does everything happen for a reason? Ask the families of the six million Jews, countless Russians, intellectuals, gypsies, Poles, Czechs and others who perished in World War ll. It makes no sense but we are not supposed to question its veracity and just believe it. And let’s be honest, is life fair? How can anyone who has lived for very long believe this? Life isn’t fair. What happened to you is wrong but unfortunately you are the one who is going to have to live with this. The horrible truth is that life is only what we make it.

So it is with our problems. We want to believe that someone else can swoop down and heal those holes in our heart. Is this reasonable? Likely? As the unknown comic says, “You know who cares less about your problems than you do? Everybody.”

In counseling I see this manifest in many ways – the woman who needs man after man to heal the hole in her heart, the needy and dependent spouse, the person who blames others for their problems. Even the person who has been horribly abused must someday wake up and realize that if healing is going to come it will have to come from within. Blaming others may feel cathartic but does it really make a positive difference?

Some of us have been victimized. We are, in fact, victims. My heart goes out to you and I realize that you have been wounded deeply. But there is a difference between being a victim and playing a victim. You only have one life and deserve more than eighty years of misery. Working through these problems is hard but if you can get the right help, a counselor that doesn’t suck, you can find healing and hope again.