Success does not define happiness, but happiness makes a life worth living. Thereby, making it a successful life. Material and financial success can only satisfy an individual for a period of time. After the recognition, the wealth, fame and social status – what then?
All things material – however good or shiny and glamorous it may be – do not last. Hence, the happiness that is derived or defined by such things would not last either. For those who believe that love is the answer to everything. Yes, you may be right. However, if you have not understood the depth and real meaning of love, how deeply could you love?
So, the real question is – DO WE KNOW HOW TO TRULY LOVE?
Generally, all of us think that when we are in love with someone, we actually believe that we love that someone truly and deeply.
But what if I told you that what we are actually in love with is not so much the person, but it is with the way that someone gives us what we want, when we want it and how we want it?
We are actually in love with what the person does to us, and for us. Our so-called “happiness” comes from them doing the things that pleases us. And if they do not do what pleases us, we tend to get upset. Most likely, disappointed as well.
Do you know why?
Because we have certain rules, expectations and conditions about this so-called love.
Our kind of love IS ONE THAT HOLDS A LONG SCRIPT OF AGENDAS.
And the worst part is – we would never disclose this secret script to our partners or spouses. If they keep getting it wrong, we’ll blame them and become very distressed. When it repeats often enough, it’ll even get to a point of us wanting to leave them.
Now, before you all protest – just sit back and think about it carefully.
All of us carry this secret script in our heads that we do not share with anyone. Some are very long, and there may even be several Acts written into that script.
Some are relatively short, pertaining to certain scenarios only.
The secret script sounds something like this –
“If she forgets to cook my favourite dish, she does not really care.”
“If he does not remember my birthday, he does not really care.”
“If she does not even consult my opinion, she does not respect me.”
“If he does not apologise to me first, I do not mean that much to him.”
“If she/he can walk out that door now, it means she/he is not committed to me.”
Do any of them sound familiar now?
I call them “scripts” because it is written out like a movie script, with various scenarios all set up and the “actors”(meaning our life partners, spouses, BFs, GFs and Significant Others) are meant to adhere to these scripts. And if they don’t, we start deducting points against them in our heads.
In fact, some of us do it so habitually that we do not even realise when we are doing it.
To be fair, none of our partners have been briefed about this “hidden script”. They have absolutely no clue that we are silently judging them in our heads according to what they do and say, or don’t do and say. In a way, we are inadvertently setting them up for failure. So, either way – they can’t win. And this usually rears its ugly head during fights/arguments, or disagreements.
So, why do we create these scripts in the first place and why are they so important to us?
Well, one reason could be our past experiences. We have been badly hurt before and we do not want to go through that pain ever again.
Hence, we need to formulate a way to assess each partner or relationship based on everything that we have experienced. Hence, we devise these scripts to help protect us as well as help us stay “informed” of our partner’s love or lack of it. Because, at its core, our kind of love is one governed by self-serving interests.
We are only happy when our partners do what we like and want.
It is all about us and judged from our own point of reference.
There is no such thing as a selfless and unconditional love. Not at this point, at least. If we really care to be honest with ourselves, that is.
If there ever was a period of selflessness and unconditional loving, it usually only happens at the very beginning of the courtship – when we want to attract and win the special someone over.
During the courtship phase, we would climb over broken glass, move mountains and achieve great feats that we didn’t even think were possible just to be with that person. Because we really want that person to choose us, and not anyone else. However, after getting that someone and for some, after marrying that someone – things begin to go downhill. Or rather, things go back to “normal”.
Because more and more expectations start to seep in. More un-expressed rules and conditions come into play. And we start using that invisible script like it is the bible. Before we know it, the rules/expectations/conditions from the script become more important to us than the person we used to adore and yearn to be with.
Yes, ultimately, it is our expectations, our conditions and rules from the script that become the most important benchmark in our relationships. It is no longer about that special someone and it will soon cease to become fun, romantic and loving. It will gradually turn sour, cold and distant – to the point that it becomes a chore to even talk to one another.
If things do not improve and there is no intervention of any sort, we won’t even stand the sight of each other. The smallest flaws become the greatest divide. Nothing we do or say could make the other person feel better. Because that moment of reconciliation has long passed, that window of opportunity written in the script where one should come around to make it up to us has sailed. So, we start writing a new Act into the script that excludes the very person we used to adore. And by the Final Act, he or she will be written off completely.
THAT IS HOW WE GENERALLY LOVE at this day and age.
How did the person we used to cherish become the person we wish to be perished from the face of the earth?
How did heaven suddenly become hell?
FRANKLY, IT IS BECAUSE MOST OF US DO NOT REALLY KNOW HOW TO LOVE.
If we are totally honest with ourselves, we would admit how our love has been tainted with self-serving agenda from day one. We want that person to love us more than we love them, in some cases. Yes, there is no denying that we all want love and to be loved. But to really love in return is much harder to do than just to say, “I LOVE YOU.” Especially when times are challenging and bad. Those are the very moments we can see how strong and valid that love is. So, if our happiness is based on such a deformed perception of love, then how can we truly be happy?
If our ideas and beliefs about love or life and people are so stained with expectations, rules and conditions – we will never truly see someone as how he or she really is.
We will only see what we want to see.
So, what is the solution then?
Here, I can only share my own experiences and speak for myself. I share them because I hope they would be of some use to anyone out there who is also on a search of the truth and not running away, or resorting to blaming someone else.
Here is my two cents’ worth – Finding happiness is like finding yourself.
If you do not know yourself, or you do not know what you want out of life, and you simply do not understand yourself; how can you expect anyone else to do the job well? Why would you put that responsibility on someone else when it is really yours to begin with?
If you are always expecting someone else to understand you better than yourself, or know you better than you know yourself while you are still trying to figure out your life or dreams/goals in life – then you are definitely setting up the both of you for failure.
You don’t find happiness, you make happiness by taking the journey within.
Yes, this is a journey you must take alone. Although you can invite others to join you, it is ultimately their choice if they choose to or like to join you. And no, it does not mean that they love you less if they do not want to come along.
This journey is really for you in order to become a better you.
Self-actualization is a process of discovering who you are, who you want to be and understanding yourself. After under-going all that – then you would start to see yourself as who you really are and who you aspire to be. Without going through this, everyone is in the dark – including yourself.
Here, constant open communication is very important. We must be able to talk openly and honestly with our partners or spouses. We must want to share and grow together. Otherwise, only one person is growing and moving ahead while the other one is being left behind.
There are no hard and fast rules here or a magic cure-all formula. Every couple and individual are unique and different. But if there is zero communication – then we are shutting the other person out.
If one is single, then it is a different story. You can take your time to discover and learn.
But there is one thing I’d like to stress here – this journey is an ongoing thing. It only ends when we end. I.e. when we die.
Growth, or development is a continuous process in life.
We need to work at paving the way to happiness by doing what brings YOU the most meaning and contentment to your life over the long run – not some temporary pursuit of pleasures, lusts and joy.
Everlasting happiness is possible when we work for it and create the causes for it.
We must know what it means, in order to recognise it in the first place. If we have spent our lives chasing every skirt or pair of pants – then that is all we will find at the end of our time on earth. Nothing real and lasting.
If we refuse to open up and take a chance, we will always live in fear and distrust. We will never experience real love, beauty and happiness.
If we do not want to invest time and effort in cultivating relationships, how can we expect that we will magically find it one day? It will not just land on our laps.
Seriously, no one is perfect.
We all have our flaws, idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, fears, insecurities, etc. No one is spared from any of these. Also, the different up-bringing, childhood and life experiences each person goes through will influence them into being the people they are today. Everyone is really very unique and yet the same. We are the same because we all want love and happiness. We treasure peace, harmony and unity.
When we become a source of joy – we will bring joy and give joy to everyone we meet, wherever we go.
When we are a source of love and understanding – that is what we will give to those around us. They will experience what we “give out”.
If we are the opposite, then that’s the exact results that we will receive and experience.
Everyone has, at some point of their lives, loved and lost love. Everyone has, at some point in time, broken someone else’s heart as much as getting their own hearts broken in return. But let us NOT be governed by only the pain, misery and continue this cycle of emotional agony. The negativity should not justify our own increased negativity towards the rest of the world. Let us NOT create the same pain and misery unto others.
No one deserves to be hurt. No one needs to suffer.
We do not need to prolong our own suffering either.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller
Forgive the past in the same way as we will learn to forgive ourselves.
Our future need not be a repeat of our past. It can be even better than our present. It should be.
We just need to learn how to love better and become better people for those we truly love.
In all this time, I finally realised that if we truly love the people we love – we will never stop wanting to become better people for them. Because by becoming better people, we can give more care, create more love and happiness with everyone who is important to us.
We will never stop improving ourselves, and we will not feel tired in wanting to make that someone happy. Because our love is real and is without agenda. Until we can love without agenda, we will not understand what true love means. We will only have a superficial version of it.
You may or may not agree with all of the above. However, if any of the above helps you to ask the right questions within yourself and helps you in any way, then it is enough.
I would have done my job for today.
As always, start your own brand of fearless living and love the life you live.