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Happiness, your gift to yourself

BY: Dr John Boakye
Love is costly and you pay by the sacrifices you make for your lover

MOST people go into relationships with the wrong understanding of love and, therefore, with wrong motives. They think first of themselves and want their needs to be met before they can be happy.

If a lover does not do what they want, they claim they are not happy. Their lovers become their problem and solution. This explains why many clients come in and claim they have never seen a day of happiness since they got into a relationship or marriage.

The fact, however, is that nobody, including your lover or anything, can make you happy. Only you can because what determines your happiness is your personality, thoughts and behaviour. Happiness can’t be found outside you. It is only about you. You can, therefore, make yourself happy or sad out of the similar circumstances in your relationship.

Some ways to happiness

Have a positive mental attitude about yourself, lover and relationship. If you do not see yourself as good and over-criticise yourself, no one will see you as good. Think fulfillment in your mind’s eye. See it, feel it. This means while you nurture positive emotions such as empathy, serenity, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, appreciation and gratitude, you thwart negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, fear, anxiety and anger.

Keep an optimistic outlook of your relationship each day. If you focus on the good things in your lover, you will see good things and the negative feelings will diminish.

Have realistic expectations: Appreciate that it is impossible to have a relationship without conflicts because we are uniquely made with our differences in temperaments, sexuality and backgrounds. You are likely to have different values, needs and aspirations. You may develop negative feelings and fight no matter how much you love each other.

A relationship or marriage is the most difficult work in the world and there is nothing like living happily forever in it. Lovers are like porcupines — we love to be close to each other but in doing so prick each other. Conflicts are, therefore, an inevitable part of relationships. The fact that you see conflicts does not mean there is something wrong with your relationship. Your marriage is dead without it. On the other hand, conflicts, when handled well, will spice up your relationship and make you happy.

Love is costly and you pay by the sacrifices you make for your lover. The greater the sacrifices you make, the greater your happiness because true love does not seek its own interests. Don’t expect your lover to change or meet your needs before you can be happy. True happiness comes from meeting the needs of your lover, even if it comes at great cost to you. If you want happiness in your relationship, always invest in it by the sacrifices you make for your lover. Resolve to be the burden bearer, not the burden. Always remember that it takes only one committed partner to keep a relationship warm, fulfilling and happy. Let it be you.

Be content with your relationship: Avoid holding grudges or nurturing grievances, frustration and bitterness because they harm you emotionally and physically and prevent you from seeing the beauty of your relationship. At the same time foster forgiveness because it reduces the power of bad events that make you unhappy. Pope John Paul refers to forgiveness as a restoration to freedom. You can be happy only with a forgiving spirit. This means you must forgive your lover unconditionally and deep from your heart.

Happiness is a gift to yourself
Happiness is a state of mind. It is not about what your lover does or does not do. The good news is that it is a free and divine gift within you. You only have to awaken the power in you to live in happiness. You must, therefore, put the focus on yourself and live your life fully. Each day in your relationship revise what can be improved, resolve what can be settled and cope with what you can’t change. Be at peace with yourself.

Happiness is the most sought after matter in life but it very elusive; it is like a butterfly. The more you chase it with sex, money, popularity, academic qualification and achievements, the more it eludes you because what you achieve may not bring an enduring state of happiness.

However, if you turn your attention to other things such as kindness, forgiveness, appreciation, commitment and prayer, happiness will come and settle on your shoulders.

Can your lover make you happy? No! Nobody or nothing can make you happy. Only you can because everything you need is inside you. Don’t wait for your lover or others to light your fire. You have your own matches to happiness. Choose to light it and be happy. Let happiness be your gift to yourself each day.

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