Whether I want to admit it or not, I’m someone who likes the people around her to be happy. I know in my bones that every one is responsible for their own happiness but I still find myself taking on a little piece of responsibility, especially for those closest to me.
It’s hard to see someone close to you unhappy. It’s even harder when you are able to see their potential and everything that sits just beyond their fingertips. And harder still to honor thyself knowing that it might upset loved ones.
I’ve had my own battles with codependency and this isn’t that. For me, this is the awareness that I could do something — we’ll call it “A” — that will make me happy and doesn’t impact anyone around me…except for the fact that I’m not doing B. Or I could do “B” which will make someone close to me happy and simply keeps me from doing A.
For the past several weeks, I’ve been doing B. It’s just been easier and doesn’t really cause any harm…except it does. It harms everyone involved. For starters, I’m not doing what I want or need to do. I’m not honoring myself or respecting what’s important to me…so why should anyone else? And by choosing to do something to keep someone else happy, I’m not doing B for the right reasons either. In a way, I’m disrespecting the activity and the person because I’m not fully invested in it…at least not like I want to be.
The better answer…and the one I’m still working on…would be to be honest and trust that everyone will be ok. The right answer would be to say that I want to do A now but we’ll make time for B later. Or to work with the other person to figure out how to do both. But ignoring my own feelings and needs for the sake of someone else, isn’t right. It builds hostility…anger…resentment. And eventually all those ugly feelings have to find their way out.
I’m responsible for listening to what I need…and for asking those around me what they need. And if everyone involved loves and cares for each other, things will work themselves out. But to discount or push aside my own feelings because it seems easier to make those around me happy…well, that’s not right. As awesome as it is to see your loved ones smile, it’s even better when you’re all able to authentically smile together.