If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I reckon that there are people in this world who just don't know how to find their own happiness. They look to others to make them happy, relying on those around them to take responsibility for their lives.

Then there are people in this world who measure their self worth by the happiness of those around them. They take it on themselves to be responsible for others' lives. They live for it, infact, measuring their successes and failures in life on the basis of those around them.

What happens when these two people get together?

In some ways it's the perfect union-symbiotic almost- one needs the other to be happy and one needs the other to make happy- but it's not. It's far from perfect.

I reckon I'm a pretty happy kind of person. Sure I've faced trials, heartache, sadness and hard times in my life. So what? Who hasn't? Everybody has a story- everybody.

I've been on the verge of death and back.
I've been forced to make choices that I didn't want to make, that I wasn't prepared to make that I did not have the capacity to make.
I've had days when I could only afford to feed my children and would go without (we were poor but we we had a roof over our heads and warm beds at night)
I've sat by my son's hospital bed in the middle of the night, alone, with noone to talk to, no shoulder to cry on and no hand to reassure me- wodering if he would make it through the night.
I've had days when I felt so alone, so lonely and so lost that I thought I would never make it out of the shadows.

But hasn't everybody? Compared to some people- my life has been a party and at the end of it all- I realise it wasn't half bad after all.

I do not for one minute regret any path that I've taken, any path that I've been forced to take and where I've ended up- it's all good. So, yeah- I'm happy.

But there is one thing that plagues me- a constant niggling, yearning, desire to make everyone else happy.
You might think it comes from a natural urge to nurture and love but I'm not so sure it's all that noble.
Perhaps it's a bit of arrogance- a bit of self adulation that makes me think that I have the capacity to bring happiness where there is misery; hope where there is despair and laughter where there are tears.
Perhaps it is my overblown sense of my own "sun shinyness" that defines failure for me. Failure being when I cannot make someone else happy- when, despite everything that I do, that I sacrifice, that I give- he still cannot find his happiness.

Why? Why do I do that? Why is it so important for me to do everything I possibly can, even if it means going out of my way and making myself 'unhappy', to make someone else happy? And why am I so hurt when it doesn't work?
Every common sense part of me tells me that I'm an idiot- ofcourse I can't make someone else happy- ofcourse happiness can only ever come from within- ofcourse the more I try the more I fail because it's not up to me.

So why do I do it?

Any answers out there?


Path2Hope said...

I wish I had something intelligent to say, but I find myself looking for the same answers.

I think it’s a mixed blessing to be able to read people so well and know how to make them feel better- something has to give and that usually is something within yourself.

I don’t think it’s arrogance at all, I think going through hardship makes you more in tune with people’s emotion and through time you notice that you do have the ability to bring out a happier side in people.

But the reality is, you can’t help everyone and I understand how hard that is to accept but otherwise, you only end up frustrating yourself and seeing it as your responsibility or failure and that’s never good.

Mumbo Jumbo said...

I actually have that same characteristic. I was going to say "issue" but I prefer not to look at it as an issue.

I've finally discovered why I always feel like I'm running and am always, always doing something. I want to do everything perfectly for everyone around me just to make them feel most comfortable and pleased and I do it at my own expense. It's really draining, physically, not to mention emotionally and psycologically.

So, if you find a solution, please share. Until then, you're not alone.

Carmen said...

I second Mumbo. I've always, ALWAYS, gone out of my way to try to make people happy even when they don't deserve it. And I still haven't figured out why.

So yeah, you're definitely not alone in this...

howie said...

"But there is one thing that plagues me- a constant niggling, yearning, desire to make everyone else happy."

You see that as a problem!?

Most folks are on the opposite end...fulfilling their own endless needs and desires with minimal concern for the happiness of others.

When this behavior causes you or others significant problems...of course it is an issue...but overall, the world should only be cursed (OK...it is Passover...let's make it the 11th plauge) with folks who care deeply about others.

But I will take a shot at answering your question why. Keep in mind...that there is no one explanation.

1. It makes you feel good to make others feel good. Nothing wrong with that...better than sadism, no?

2. It is probably a type of religious expression. I think it is the Hindus (the Jews have a spin on it too)...that there are types and or stages of the religious quest...paraphrased
a. Chasing personal desires
b. Focusing on serving God through service to others
c. Turning inward and connecting to God through prayer, mediation etc. etc etc.

I would guess it is your soul crying out for completeness, for connection, sharing and expression of joy and love.

But this is just one take on it...and there is likely a complex of elements.

Dennis Prager wrote a book..."Happiness is a Serious Matter" or something like that. I think he is correct.

Roman Kalik said...

This is not a curse, as Howie said. And for it is the other way around. I do not have an answer, other than "be what you are". :)

Highlander said...

TUS you've just written out my own thoughts ! Are you sure you are not me in another life ?
Thanks for a beautiful post , there is nothing wrong with you, go on being the person you are as giving love and happiness with no hope of nothing in return is still the best path of all the other choices I think.

Hugs H.

The Usual Suspect said...

P2H,Mumbo,Carmen and Highlander- strikes me that this is probably not uncommon among women! Maybe it has something to do with that bitch Cinderella who made us all think that all we had to do was be patient and dainty and we'd be rescued by Prince Charming who would love us just because we have nice shoes and small feet then we'd "live happily ever after"- the bitch!
Howie- I think there is a religious connection there- guilt maybe?? I consider myself quite spiritual- I don't pray 5 times a day but I usually manage at least one obligatory prayer. To be honest- I don't think that praying 5 times would make me more spiritual- it would be more of a routine thing. I fast all of Ramadan because I find that to be a particularly spiritual time and fasting has such power for me. I'm going to think about the spiritual connection a bit more and get back to you.

Will E. said...

Since everyone is saying anything, I will have a say.. it really is a problem. People who try to make everyone happy, end up making no one happy and least of all themselves because people are unpleasable.

Now the reason might be that you need to feel life is not outside your control, that you have the power to grant people happiness which might be arrogant, but it's what you need to feel a bit of control a bit of worth.

I'm not saying that you can't make people happy, but that you just can't make everyone happy, even at the expense of yourself, which usually is the normal going cost. You pay all that and you will never get what you've tried to buy.

Maybe you fear misery, for yourself and hence you fear it for others and that's why you fight your battle on their grounds, but if that's the case the one thing you must accept in life is misery.. the misery that we just can't do anything about.. it's a fact of life and sometimes there isn't much we can do about it.

So there.. an essay .. but maybe..

(you may cancel all that by just saying.. naah.. that's not it)

gooeyboi said...

i was reading your blog and its exactly how i feel right now. i'm trying to look for answers and wondering why i'm screwing things up. i've always done everything for people i love. i try my best to please them and to sacrifice even if it meant that i was the sacrifice. why do i do these things for these people? why do i hope that i could be perfect for them? why can't people learn to appreciate the good things we do for them?

simply because...

we love them. we would move heaven and earth just to make them happy. we wish that we could be perfect for them. we wish that they would be as happy with us as much as we would be happy with them. if they would just exert the same effort that we do, then everything would be ok. i don't know if i'm making sense, but being the giver, it would be great if you'd be on the recieving end. maybe we know how it feels to be sad. but will anyone do the same things that we do for others? its not that i'm bragging or saying that we are so good and perfect that we do everything so that others maybe happy.

simply because...

we are looking to others for happiness,for love, for attention etc. we are looking for people who would be able to reciprocate what we do. even if we did everything for everyone, nobody still gives a damn...