Thursday, January 19, 2012

This was a good day. :-)

I was thinking about the saying that nobody else can make you unhappy unless you give them permission to do so. I don't exactly agree with that. If a woman has been raped, it would be cruel to say that she is only unhappy and traumatized because she has chosen to be or because she is allowing the rapist to make her unhappy. If your partner has physically abused you, said incredibly cruel things to you or cheated on you,'s a little much to say that someone in that position would not be unhappy unless they were choosing to be.

On the other hand, I do think that there can be an element of personal choice involved. The woman who was raped can take steps towards healing the trauma and seeking justice. The abused partner can leave their partner and learn how to have a healthy, non-abusive relationship. The party who's been cheated on can either end it or hash it out and decide whether the love between them is enough to get through and past the cheating.

But what I was thinking today was that if this principle of only being unhappy if one chooses to be is true (and as I wrote above I don't accept it in this very simplistic form but I do think there is an element of truth here), then it follows that one must learn to be happy themselves. Another person can't make you happy unless you're already capable of being happy by your own volition.

For example: I once worked with a girl who was in a dysfunctional relationship with a married man. He had been her lover, her first and only lover, before he'd gotten married in a mail order sort of arranged marriage to his wife from the country he'd come from. My friend said that he still loved her...and I have to admit that he looked incredibly sad and wistful when he watched her. I don't know what the answer was to this was miserable and she cried all the time for him. Every now and then she'd get together with him and then she'd come to work really happy.

It turned out that not only was her her only lover, he was the only source of sexual satisfaction for her! (sorry, I just cannot think of a more polite way to put that). So she was going without, totally and thoroughly frustrated, for months at a time. I just couldn't imagine. That seemed nonsensical to me. So one day I said,
"Look, have you ever considered that you don't need a guy in order to not be frustrated?"
She just stared at me. And then she looked grossed out and said,
"You myself? Oh, no. No. I could never do that. That's disgusting."

I felt really sad for her- that her own body grossed her out, that she thought a married man was her only possible source of satisfaction and that he had been her only source of information about her own sexuality. I can't even imagine. And then to think about what sort of pressure that would put him under!!

So, this is a long post but back to the original thought...I think that instead of crying for what isn't, etc...I should focus more energy on being intrinsically happy and fulfilled. Maybe that's where I've gone wrong in the past. Goodness knows that there are lots of interesting things in this world to enjoy and to savor.

If I'm alone, it isn't because I'm a failure or inherently unlovable or ugly or not good enough or any of that crap. It's because I choose to be, because I am not ready right now and because I cannot be with the person that I love. And as I know so well, there are much, much worse things in this world than being alone. So...this is OK, I can make this work and I can choose to be happy and fulfilled from where I am right now. :-)

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