By: Margaret Paul
Would the prince have chosen Cinderella to marry if she was a miserable young woman? If her stepsisters were beautiful but miserable, would he have chosen either of them?
Are you living under the delusion that when you meet your soul mate you will finally be happy – that your misery is because you are not in a relationship or not in the right relationship? If this is you, you might be interested in what I have discovered in my 42 years of counseling individuals and couples.
Most people who are happy in their marriages were ALREADY HAPPY before meeting their spouse! Happy people make happy marriages. Unhappy people either don’t marry or generally continue to be unhappy after getting married.
While Cinderella wasn’t happy with her circumstances, inside she was a loving, happy person. And so was the prince. “Happily ever after” is often not the result of getting married, but the result of two basically happy people getting married to each other!
Over and over I hear from my clients: “I need a relationship to be happy.” Over and over I say to them, “Focus on learning how to make yourself happy now and then you might find the relationship you are seeking.”
If you think about it, it makes sense. If you were a basically happy person, would you be attracted to a basically unhappy person? Not likely.
When you make your happiness dependent upon another person, you are handing them responsibility for your emotional wellbeing. Why would someone else want this responsibility? And, since we are attracted to each other at our common level of woundedness, the chances are that the person you are attracted to and who is attracted to you is also looking to you to take responsibility for their emotional wellbeing. This is called a codependent relationship, not a happy relationship, and definitely not happily ever after.
There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting a wonderful relationship. But the chances of finding that wonderful relationship if you are unhappy is slim. When you are already happy, then you want a relationship to share your love, your happiness, your joy, your learning and growth, and your interests. When you are unhappy, the chances are you are looking for a relationship to make you happy, and this is likely not going happen.
Back to Cinderella. Because she was a caring person, she tried very hard to make her stepmother and her stepsisters happy. But they were never happy. Why? Because they were angry and blaming people, making Cinderella responsible for their happiness. No matter how kind and wonderful she was, it did not matter, because their misery was created by their own beliefs and ways of treating themselves and others.
The same is true in today’s relationships. I have worked with many people who were never happy, no matter what their partner did to make them happy. As long as they were judging themselves and others instead of learning how to take responsibility for their own feelings, they were sad, empty, alone inside, hurt and/or angry. As long as they looked outside themselves for the source of their unhappiness, they were stuck being unhappy.
The way out of this unhappiness is to learn how to take 100% responsibility for your own pain and your own joy. Anyone can learn to do this, but, if you are stuck in the false belief that you need the right relationship in order to be happy, then you will likely not be motivated to learn how to do this.