Remember several years ago when everyone was humming that catchy tune, Happy, by Pharrell Williams. “…. It may seem crazy what I’m about to say… happiness is in you…because I’m happy…” Made you smile.
Many have the impression that being happy in a relationship comes from outside the self. It’s the responsibility of our spouse to inspire our happiness, or a situation, like having a lot of money will make us happy. We have “if only” thoughts.
– I could get a raise at work. We could take a vacation, and I would be happy!
– my wife/husband said, “I love you” more, our marriage would be fantastic.
– my kids would behave; we could have a peaceful home.
– my parents were less demanding; I wouldn’t be so anxious.
– my partner was less distant; we would be happy. That would inspire me! After all, we got married for a reason.
It’s okay to be inspired by others. It gets you through the tough times. It makes you feel good about yourself and fulfilled in your relationships. It gives other people in your life the opportunity to contribute to you. You experience new things. But consider that there’s more to it.
If you expect the people you care about to be the sole source of your inspiration, think about what’s in it for them. What do they get from uninspiring you? Not blissful happiness but, more like a breeding ground for resentment.
If happiness is slipping away in your relationship and the spark to keep it ignited is burning out, I’ve got two tricks up my sleeve that just might help turn that around. One has you looking for inspiration from outside of yourself, the other is from within.
Inspiration finds you, and you seize it.
Janine, who has been a corporate lawyer for five years, doing the same old thing day in and day out, was passed over for promotion after promotion. Trapped in an unrewarding work routine and stuck in an unfulfilling family life, Janine’s long hours on the job, including weekends, zapped her energy, leaving little time for her kids, husband or personal life. Her husband suffered from her lack of excitement. He grew tired of trying to conjure up ways to engage her with the family. Resentment was settling in.
Janine was sinking into a depression when something miraculous happened. A conversation with a trial attorney friend got her thinking about being in a courtroom in front of a judge and jury. It lit her up! Subsequently, the friend needed help with a complicated case and requested she get involved. The work, though still time-consuming and demanding, made her feel alive again. She moved from reading contracts behind her desk to presenting her cases in a courtroom.
This opportunity is the spark that ignited her passion. She loved this type of work. Janine’s new level of energy inspired her to be more present and engaged with her kids and in her marriage. She found inspiration from outside of herself.
Inspiration from within you, finds its way out.
Jack is contemplating his second divorce, desperately groping for a thread that might mend his marriage, but disgusted by who he has become. He’s the absent husband and angry father, no longer able to fake happiness. Lost and longing for a time when he used to feel good about himself, Jack reminisces about his old guitar playing days before the first divorce. The thought of playing the guitar made him smile. The vision of standing in front of a few people in a bar strumming away gave him a warm fuzzy feeling of delight. Jack found what was missing. He dusted off his guitar and created an opening for happiness. Jack found inspiration within himself.
Is happiness slipping away in your relationship? Is your marriage stagnant? Looking for inspiration and not sure where to look? Try starting with yourself. Ask yourself:
- What is something new that I can let come into my life right now, that will make a difference?
- What is inside of me, that I can offer to myself or others, that would inspire me and make me feel alive?
Looking for answers to these questions just might be the place to start to change how you feel about your relationship.