The Mechanism Of Being Happy

I was talking to an exceptionally bright young woman about how I got happy instead of bitchy, in regards to my husband, and what this led me to realize. People rarely want to take it upon themselves to make the change that will alter their relationships. They always want to get the other person to do it, which thwarts their own growth. Consequently, it’s not often I get to have a conversation like this.

I’m not talking about staying in horrible relationships, so stay with me on this. I’m talking about having a conflict in a good relationship, or some kind of misgiving or a sense of disillusionment that may come when one of your ideals is not met. Maybe you keep hitting this same sticking point over and over, with the same person or a series of people. Maybe you’re good at bolting and leaving a relationship, but you never seem to get anywhere.

I thought this gal could figure things out if she’d tap her intellect. She might even realize the thing that irks her about her man actually benefits her in numerous ways, if she were to “look behind the trashy stuff“.

I don’t think people realize they can dig deeper and get beyond their complaint to point where they’re happy and deeply satisfied. They simply don’t know how to get ’round the bend, so they can see the blindingly brilliant magic in their partnerships. This is odd in a way, since most believe things happen for a reason. Why not look for the reason?

Has anyone else ever realized they were custom-made for their partner (and vice-versa), when on the surface it seemed otherwise?

pictured – De-fence mechanism, Jane Whiting Chrzanoska


The Mechanism Of Being Happy — 18 Comments

  1. This is a tough one. I’ve bolted many times, and haven’t married (yet). I have learned to stick it out in general with people, and not to bolt when an old wound gets re-stimulated or button gets pushed, or ideal isn’t met. Along with that, I’ve become much less reactive, and my sense of my own identity is stronger. This has not been easy.

    I have done what Elsa describes best with my own children. I noticed, for instance, that I was checking out on my son, and deeply frustrated. I realized I was seeing some of my father in the adolescent boy, and suddenly I saw it: I wonder what my father would have become if someone had supported him? I saw, too, that my mother’s reaction to him was “bitch,” to be blunt, and I saw what all of that came to. De-fence mechanism. Nice, Elsa!

  2. I adore the image you chose for this post. Perfect!

    Yes, I am learning to do this in my current relationship. It is especially effective when I realize I am pushing the same old, played out buttons, the ones I don’t want to push anymore. (they go “boom”. I know this!)

    Learning about my “unreasonable expectations” aspects helps with this, too.

    I am lucky, because this one is very obviously good, and is also trying to do the same, meet in the middle, not sweat the small stuff.

    It’s…great. It really is a nice change of pace.

  3. Once. It was mesmerizing, ridiculous chemistry, then it completely blew up in my face despite a deep sense of something that could have grown to love, and actual compatibility. We just did not know how to deal with each other even though everyone could see how well we matched. Later when I looked at the astrology a few months later…it was stunning.

    So had we done things differently, sure, but there was a lot to get through, and we made a mess of things.

  4. Yeah, in a way. We are polar opposites in terms of formal education. I’ve had a lot, he’s had barely any. This started to bother me at one point (I’m not proud of that).

    But when I dug deeper, he actually has a keener curiosity about the world around him than I do. He’s the one who points out cool stuff that’s going on around us. I have the bones of education, but he has the heart. So actually, he’s teaching me.

  5. The image for this post: beautiful!

    And to the question: Yes. To look at us my husband and I could not be more different. Yet today, and eighteen years later, we have a day like yesterday … where we take a day off together … float free of the routine … and I am well … more in love with him than ever. Quirky us, the space between our differences suits us. Happy makes it way in there. Bending as in that fence woman. Lovely!

  6. Yes, yes yes!! I had this same conversation with my wife a few years back. My wife’s Aquarius nature couldn’t handle my emotional Scorpio outbursts. This had been a sticking point for years. Finally she told me that I didn’t make her happy and that maybe we’d made a mistake getting married. Although I’d long sensed these feelings, it still hit me like a ton of bricks when she said it. This wake-up call changed me in an instant because I realized that if our relationship was to survive, I would have to remake myself. I was a big part of the problems I thought I saw in her. She went on to say that we were too different and that she just wanted to be happy and wanted me to be happy but she thought that I wasn’t because I got angry. This got me thinking and I told her it wasn’t her job to make me happy. That was my job. I said that I couldn’t make her happy, either and that it was her job to be happy herself. She looked at me like I had three heads when I said that because she thoroughly expected someone external to provide her happiness. I don’t know exactly how it happened but I changed with that conversation and became a new person. Necessity = change, huh. I sloughed-off the anger reaction and it really is long-gone. It hasn’t been suppressed or channeled. It just isn’t useful to me anymore. In fact, I can see that it was holding me back so I let go of it. I realized somehow that anger wasn’t part of me. It was a learned response (from my time growing up) but I didn’t have to follow that pattern if I didn’t choose to. I could be who I really am. It took this crisis to bring on the change but we’re all better for it. I asked her what she expected in her marriage and she told me that she wanted to be taken care of. All along I’d thought I WAS taking care of her but my angry outbursts had been creating uncertainty inside her. I appreciated this clear mandate and made it my life’s endeavor to be a stable, caring force. As for being too different, I told her that maybe we were put together for a reason and maybe it was precisely because we ARE so different. I offered that we should try to appreciate and learn from our differences instead of stumbling over them. She seems happier these days and I know that I am happier not having to be angry. So her being intolerant of my drama forced me to change and I’m better off for it. I wouldn’t have gotten that with someone more accommodating.

  7. I agree. It was actually harder for my husband to realize that he couldn’t change me. I finally told him that I could be happy with him or I could be happy without him, but under no circumstances would I stay with him and be unhappy.

  8. I love this topic! Very well put Elsa. I and I believe most people have a habit of complaining and looking at the negatives in others, not so much in themselves. I am one of those people. It takes a lot to make me realize what I did wrong and how I might have hurt someone. Some things I am still trying to figure out from years ago. I will say that my husband is one tough cookie and so am I. I don’t think any other man can put me in my place the way he does and I admire that. I learn so much from him and I know it’s a grueling process since it is not easy for me to admit and see what I am doing wrong. It takes us both time. We are meant for each other. I will succeed in becoming the person I want to be because of my husband. I knew I married him for a good reason :-).

  9. my spouse and i complement each other very well. which is to say, none of our friends (that knew both of us) expected us to get together, suspected it after we did, nor thought we would end up marrying ;P

    granted, i’m not sure many people thought either of us would end up marrying anyone…. (venus/uranus, we has it…)

  10. We’re so different that I don’t know if I’d say we compliment each other. But each of us has something the other needs so I think a lot of useful learning is taking place. : )

  11. I would just like to comment on the Art. De fence, you know? Defence mechanism. Picture worth a thousand words. I love the pose of the woman who danced through “the white picket fence”, while those behind her are simply “posturing”, but this one is in motion, moving, growing.

  12. A quote from another blog: Psychologist and priest David Rickey counsels people who are about to be married. “You are perfectly mismatched,” he likes to tell them. “As much as you think you have chosen each other because of beauty or shared interests, the deeper reason is that unconsciously you know the other person is going to push your buttons. And the purpose of relationships is for you to discover and work on your buttons.”

  13. I too, love this illustration, Elsa.
    What came to me:
    Four Women standing behind a fence ‘hoping to be chosen’…
    One girl shows her enthusiasm, jumps up: PICK ME, PICK ME…and breaks through the obstruction/blockage/barrier. We can do that within Marriage as well.

  14. I adore my boyfriend most of the times but we clash in our differing needs for communication when we are apart. I have moon in gemini, his moon is in taurus.

    He can spend days without contacting me and is fine. He has natal venus saturn conjunction which explains this.

    When we are together my jupiter conjunct his venus saturn planets and it’s fun!!

    On one side I often disillusioned (we have venus square neptune in synastry)

    – no, he’s not cheating

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