Don't Give Up Your Happiness for Others
Life sometimes requires us to give up certain things. And we do it because there are things that make up for it, because this balance is a part of what makes us happy.
However, it doesn’t always happen this way. The balance isn’t always maintained on that subtle point where everyone wins and nobody loses. In romantic relationships, it’s common for one of the two to give up their happiness for the good of the other.
You can give up good things to achieve great things, you can close a window to open a door; but you should never give everything in exchange for nothing. And you especially shouldn’t give up everything that makes you happy, like someone leaping into the abyss.
It’s not selfish to not want to give things up
It’s not about being selfish, or about prioritizing your needs over someone else’s. Life requires you to come to agreements with yourself and everybody else. And both parties are equally important.
You should have enough dignity to feel good about yourself, to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and recognize yourself every day, and say: “this is me, and I am happy.”
At the same time, when it comes to coexisting with other people, we all need reciprocity that makes every effort worthwhile, where every time you give something up, you’re compensated with something else. Where happiness is shared and absorbed by both parties, not limited.
What makes me happy defines me, so if you take it away, I stop being myself
Happiness is made up of little things and big things. You’re happy to be with the people you love, whether they’re friends, family, partners, or pets. You also feel good when you do what you love, what defines you, whether it’s a hobby, a job, a custom, or a gesture.
At some point, you might leave behind everything that defines you for another person. Your family, your friends, your job…
Everything you give up is worth it if what you get in return brings you something you hoped for. While it’s true that nothing in life is certain, and it’s almost always necessary to take risks, we need gestures, words, attitudes, and actions that show us that everything we’ve done was worth it.
We’re often aware that life is a struggle, that sometimes we must know how to give things up to find better things, and therefore, grow. However, there’s no reason to leave behind everything that makes you happy, just to make other people happy. It doesn’t make sense: from the moment you stop doing everything that defines you and makes you happy, you stop being yourself…What are you going to offer the other person if you’re not yourself?
The people who take away your happiness don’t deserve you
The people who let you give up everything that brings you joy, pleasure, or comfort, don’t deserve you. You’re more than meets the eye; you’re not just a physical being, a presence, or a voice that breaks the silence.
You are your afternoon walks, your late night reading before bed, your unplanned solo getaways. You are your mornings on the beach and coffee with friends. You are your job, your ideals, your original movies, your afternoon naps with your dog. What are you left with if they take away all of that?
Happiness is not giving up, but gaining
The people who have the least aren’t necessarily the happiest; it’s the people who have the most affection, serenity, balance, and love in their hearts. We’re not talking about material richness, but rather emotional richness, which we should cultivate every day.
Don’t give up what makes you happy. And especially don’t give up those wise and skilled souls who know how to make you happy through the little details in every day, come rain, sun, or adversity.
Being happy doesn’t cost anything, but it seems to me one of humanity’s most complicated challenges. Sometimes, without really knowing why, we’re experts at making life impossible. In reality, it would be enough to keep the following simple things in mind:
- Learn to give and receive. Every day is a continuous exchange where, through mutual respect and understanding, nobody should have to give up anything.
- Understand that it’s impossible to make anyone else happy if you’re not happy yourself.
- Never make the mistake of giving up everything for someone in exchange for nothing, because then you’ll be empty. You’ll be nothing more than a shadow of yourself. And if you lose your identity, you lose everything.
- Listen to yourself every day, understand your needs, and understand the needs of others. Nobody is selfish for taking care of themselves, for trying to be happy, for growing, for becoming wiser and more competent, for loving themselves a little more.
Love is the only force that grows when it is shared, and that’s something we should never give up…
Images courtesy of Lisa Falzon