The Happiness Connection  

You don't have to rely on others for your own happiness

Love yourself first

I’m not a huge fan of awards shows, but this year I tuned into the Grammys because I wanted to see Joni Mitchell.

What a performance. If you’re looking for an example of an empowered older person, she’s a good contender.

The other performance that really caught my attention was Miley Cyrus. She was nominated for, and won, record of the year with her song Flowers. I knew the song but hadn’t really listened closely to the words. As she performed it, I concentrated on the lyrics.

It’s about a breakup and the resulting realization that you don’t need to be in a relationship in order to enjoy things like receiving flowers or going dancing. Pretty much anything you can do when you have a partner, you can do when you’re single. If you want flowers, you can always buy them for yourself.

I was raised to believe that if I found the right person, they’d make me happy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness.

That’s a powerful statement, and not one I was ever introduced to by my parents. I don’t blame them for withholding this vital lesson from me. My mom and dad didn’t teach me this because they’d never been introduced to that principle either.

It’s not like I made a conscious decision to hand over the key to my happiness to someone else, I just copied the behaviour my parents modelled for me. I grew up thinking happiness came from a loving partner, the circumstances I encountered, and by living my life a certain way.

That strategy worked for me for many years. Honestly, I didn’t really stop to consider there might be a different way to view the subject. You may have had a similar upbringing and belief about happiness.

The problem is the happiness this strategy provides is fragile. Remove your partner, or other relationships, throw in some daunting challenges, and you may find your feelings of wellbeing slipping away. To make matters worse, if you don’t know how to make yourself happy, you may be like me and have no idea how to right the ship when it starts to sink.

One of the secrets to being happy regardless of what life throws at you is to love and care for yourself. If you’re waiting for other people to validate you, you’re putting yourself in a very vulnerable position. It may encourage you to stay in a less than satisfying relationship because you don’t think you can be happy on your own.

I’m not saying it isn’t wonderful to be spoiled with flowers, or to share romantic moments with a partner. But even if you’re in a relationship, there’s no guarantee that these things will be part of your experience. Rather than letting yourself feel resentful or dissatisfied if you adore flowers and never receive them, buy them for yourself.

Empowerment means you know what makes you feel good and you’re willing to provide those things for yourself. It may feel scary to go to a movie alone, or treat yourself to dinner in your favourite restaurant, but that feeling will subside the more you do it.

The stronger your loving connection to yourself is, the more your sense of wellbeing will grow. In the words of actor Robert Morley, “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”

So, don’t be afraid to show yourself a little love.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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