Thinking about "happiness" - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-19-2009, 04:41 PM
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I have a friend who admittedly does have her plate full. She's very unhappy and has been that way for years. She does so much for other people, she goes to church and prays and all in all, just has a good heart, but isn't very happy.

I was just doing my dishes and thinking about her and it made me think of myself back at a time when I wasn't very happy either. I had busied myself w/ everyday things and the caring for my family but didn't really do much for myself. I was easily angered when my husband didn't do things that I thought he should. One day, I had a bit of an epiphany. I decided that I really was the only person that could make me happy and that only I knew what areas of my life seemed empty. I decided that it was my job to fill them up and if I was a better me, maybe I would be happier and be a better everything to everyone else too. Guess what? I was right. I was lonely and depending on my husband to fill all of that. But, he was busy supporting our family which was very important too. I was out of shape and not feeling great about me...again, only something I could do something about. Sitting and waiting for someone to fix me was making me miserable. I went out and signed up for an activity w/ my kids. It gave me time with them, it got me in shape, which made me feel better about myself and somehow, made me not so mad at my husband for not entertaining The problem was within myself. Lesson learned.

I can see this scenerio with my friend (not exact, but similiar). I listen to her often talking about her unhappiness and loneliness. She wants her husband to fix it, he can't. He has his own stresses to deal with. Would it be wrong to tell her that the problem that needs to be fixed is inside herself? It is hard to see the forest for the trees when you are in the middle of it, but it's right there. How does a friend help lead a friend out without making them upset or seeming to be a bit of a know it all. Should they even try or are some things better left unsaid?

Another question: Do you think when we focus on the negative things in our lives instead of what we have that we invite more negativity?
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#2 Old 12-19-2009, 07:23 PM
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I think it would be good to share your experience with your friend and hope that they see/understand where the problem lies. At least this way you are not out right saying they are the problem and the only one who can fix it, which I totally agree to be the case. My soon to be ex is just like that as well, and when I would tell her that she is in control of her own happiness she would always ignore me and continue blaming me for HER not being happy, but alas maybe coming from a friend they might be more receptive.

I don't think focusing on negative things invites more negativity into your life, but it really doesn't matter if its true or not. You wouldn't ever notice any difference since you only focus on the negative things, and even if things were becoming more positive in your life you wouldn't notice.
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#3 Old 12-20-2009, 06:58 AM
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I would simply ask her what specifically would need to happen in order for her to feel happier. Once she gives her answer, ask her what she can do to make it happen. I would ask her what she has already tried, and what she plans to try next. Sometimes people will get the point if you just ask them the right questions so they realize ''hey, now that i think of it...what AM I doing to fix it anyway?'' if that makes any sense.

It's not in what you say, it's in what you do (Oasis)

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#4 Old 12-20-2009, 07:28 AM
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I've realized the whole "you're responsible for your own happiness" stuff lately too. Also that my partner needs stuff from me as much as I need stuff from him, like time to be in his own head without me constantly talking at him because I'm lonely I'm much happier now that I've started knitting and found a good UU church.

Maybe you can invite her to go do something or get involved in an activity, if you're comfortable with it. That way she might realize it without you bringing it up, thus avoiding the risk of her thinking that you don't understand or aren't supportive.

Or, if that's not feasible, I think kracaus's suggestion was also good:

I think it would be good to share your experience with your friend and hope that they see/understand where the problem lies. At least this way you are not out right saying they are the problem and the only one who can fix it, which I totally agree to be the case.

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and death i think is no paranthesis
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#5 Old 12-20-2009, 07:42 AM
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Well done Treehugger for making those changes to your life. It is a very positive story. I think you could talk to your friend and see if there are other activities she can become interested in and maybe you could join her if she was nervous about going to a hobby group on her own. Maybe she could go to talk to a therapist also if her unhappiness has a more serious underlying cause.

I felt very lonely when I first moved in with my husband as he does shift work and I felt isolated from my family and two of my friends moved overseas in the same year. I started a new job and I didn't really like the people there. A few years later I had a falling out with my family and so I haven't seen most of them for years. About two years ago I came to the realisation that I had to make a new life for myself and I met lots of new people and I now feel much less lonely and unhappy. I think certain people go into a relationship or marriage and expect that other person to fulfil every one of their needs and it's not realistic to think that way. I still spend a lot of time with my husband but I have a social life that doesn't only revolve around him and I think that is important so you don't get too insular and only spend time with your significant other.
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#6 Old 12-21-2009, 11:34 AM
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I have a few friends who are like that too. They're lovely people but they often get caught up in problems and seem to want others to fix things for them. I just tell them straight. They get a bit upset, but then they thank me later.

I will tell them about how I used to be when I was younger, but most of the time I'd really rather not. The past is the past. But I hate seeing people get caught up in negative circles.
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#7 Old 12-21-2009, 08:14 PM
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I agree wholeheartedly that you alone are responsible for your happiness in life. You will never, ever find lasting happiness and peace outside yourself. I also agree it would be good to approach your friend by sharing your own experiences. Just be warned, your insight may not be well received. Some people do not want to take personal responsibility for their own happiness. They see themselves as victims of outside forces.

It's tough to accept the fact that you create your own reality, if your reality sucks.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanto

'May everyone everywhere be happy
May the whole world be joyous'
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