Friday, June 3, 2011

Making Other People Happy

How much of your time and energy is spent trying to make other people happy?  Well, I have a secret for you.  You can't make other people happy and it isn't your job.  So stop it!

You are not in charge of anyone's happiness but your own. 

I'm going to let you just think about that for a few seconds . . .

Do you believe me? 

There are two ideas in that one sentence.  You are not in charge of anyone else's happiness.  And you are in charge of your own happiness.

Today I want to talk about making other people happy.

Is there someone you have always tried to make happy that just never seems satisfied?  For many of us that person is a parent.  For some it's a spouse.  For others it's a friend.  We may spend our entire lives trying to make them happy.  We do everything they want.  We become exactly who they say we should be.  We give up everything.  And they still aren't happy.  Why?

Because they are the only ones with the ability to make themselves happy.  They have to choose happiness.  They can have every need and desire met beyond belief and still be unhappy.  And there isn't a thing you can do about it.

You can be kind, giving, charitable, serving, forgiving, loving, valuing, and self-sacrificing.  These are good and healthy things when they are done because you choose to.  These may affect another person's happiness.  But they won't determine it.

You can spend your whole life giving up everything you want, jumping through hoops, and killing yourself to meet their demands.  This is not healthy.  It is not good for you or for them.

The idea that we can make others happy is a fallacy.  It's just flat-out untrue.  It's an illusion we carry around; a belief in a power that we don't actually possess.

So be a good person.  Live a life of kindness and generosity.  Send value to those around you.  But quit thinking it's your job to make them happy.  You'll be better because of it.  And so will they.

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Blogger Bonnie said...

Oh, so true. In my own life, I tend to choose the most critical people to try to win over. Or at least I did. I call this "playing to your critics." It's a recipe for failure. It's also patently manipulative to try to make anyone else feel anything. Giving, that's just nice. I'll opt for just being nice and let people be whatever they want. It's their right.

June 3, 2011 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Robin... thank you! :)

June 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Pastor Sharon said...

I used to do my best to make everybody happy.

I have learned that if I take care of myself, my family is much happier!

Thanks for this reminder.

June 3, 2011 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Running Circles said...

I feel like you are speaking directly to me and boy, do I really need to hear it. Thanks again, it feels like the kick in the butt I needed =)

June 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

you are so very right about happiness... you are not responsible for anyone else's happiness, nor are they responsible for yours....

i learned a long time ago that happiness is a choice... a person must choose to be happy... hard to learn and sometimes seems impossible to do... but i found that by waking up each morning and telling myself "i'm going to be happy today" works... maybe not the first day or the second day or even the third...but after making that choice for a bit it starts to come true... one day i realized that i AM happy... wow....strange concept for me at the time....

June 3, 2011 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger Eva Gallant said...

What an excellent post. So true! Unfortunately it takes many of us years to figure that out!

I just stopped by from SITS to say hello; I hope that you will do the same.

June 4, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Jayme said...

Trying to please everyone (especially in a big family) just stresses me out- whether it's over what's for dinner or other simple things. And when momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

June 4, 2011 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

My mother was such a big one to try and make happy, but now that she has passed I have less difficulty with trying to make others happy. There's still my son of course, and that is a hard one, but I think I am beginning to let go.
Thanks for this Robin.

June 4, 2011 at 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Oh so very true. When I was 16 and broke up with my first boyfriend and thought my world would end (guess what it didn't) my Mum told me then 'your happiness does not depend on one person'. I have never forgotten it and know that I'm in charge of my happiness. Great post Miss Robin.

June 5, 2011 at 2:35 AM  

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