A reader asked for a blog about marriage. With Valentines Day right around the corner this request was also very timely.
During an interview Yoko Ono was giving about her life with John, she said that John once told her “I’m not responsible for your happiness.” When I heard that I thought, “What a d**k.”
Yoko thought about the same and when she expressed this to John, he went on to explain that no one is responsible for anyone’s happiness except themselves. Of course he cared about her and wanted Yoko to be happy, and feel loved, and that he would support Yoko in her pursuit of happiness.
But Yoko wasn’t to expect John to be the source of her happiness. Yoko’s happiness was not to be found solely in John. She should know herself and be able to fulfill herself first, and then share that with the world.
This just shows yet another reason why John Lennon is a genius (despite his human faults). He’s absolutely right. The secret to any long lasting relationship is to fulfill you first.
Make yourself happy. Rely on yourself for comfort and laughter and entertainment and security. Look for wholeness from within yourself before going out and trying to see it in the outer world.
I can feel as I type this those of you feeling like this is impossible. I also feel those of you that are like me and think, “Oh my God this makes perfect sense.”
For many years in my marriage (we just celebrated our 22nd anniversary) I looked to Mark as the source of my happiness. I let him hold my worth, moods, love and confidence. He didn’t even know it!
Those were not the happiest years of our marriage. I was depressed. I was insecure. I set myself to the side to take care of his needs and wants first. His interests and hobbies became my interests and hobbies.
When he treated these precious parts of me carelessly, it would just break me. I would lash out. He would defend himself. It would lead to vicious fights. But only because we didn’t understand that I had given him the responsibility of my happiness.
In 2003 we went to therapy and worked at undoing all the bad emotional habits and addictions we learned in order to survive our dysfunctional families.
The walls we built to protect ourselves emotionally from our families kept us apart from each other. It took time but slowly we dismantled our fortresses and learned how to have a healthy, more balanced relationship.
We are still learning to this day. My journey to making myself happy is a life long process. It’s the core of the work that I do.
Now HOW do you make yourself happy first? It starts with self-love.
Learning how to love ourselves is the foundation upon which we build our happiness. It is the tap root for all of our long lasting relationships.
You can start today by smiling at yourself in the mirror. Do this every day. For however long you can. If you can only do it for a moment, that is OK. Today hold your gaze for one heartbeat. Tomorrow hold it for 2, and so on. Work up to 2 full minutes.
Smile and tell yourself “I love you. I love you. I love you.”