Monday, September 15, 2008

Relationships and Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy. It is a natural state. Why is it then, that many people are actually not happy? I strongly believe that it is because of poor relationships. By relationship I do not just mean a sexual relationship. I mean any relationship.

We have relationships with our bank manager; the people in our sports club; our family doctor; our butcher, who puts aside for us special cuts of meat he knows we like; with our friends; our family – the list is endless, but most important of all, we have a relationship with ourselves.

And do not confuse acquaintances with relationships. Acquaintances spring up; are often casual and may not last long. An acquaintance may, of course, become a friend and a sound relation may flower. Relationships take time to develop. They need to be nurtured; to be allowed to grow and take their own course. A relationship can never be planned, or determined beforehand.

We all are in such a hurry nowadays. We “want it now”. We “need it now”. We “must have it now”. Why? Why the hurry, the urgency? I will tell you why – because we need to be distracted. We need to divert attention from ourselves, from our own possible shortcomings and failings. We crave the constant stimulation of new experiences, of new ‘relationships’ (often of a sexual nature), of new scenery, new places – constantly – new, new, new!

What sort of relationship do we have with ourselves that drives us on this never ending ‘treadmill’ of new experiences? Unless we are happy with ourselves, nothing, and I repeat nothing, will make us happy. How can it? Happiness is something internal, not external. External things give us pleasure – like casual sex, or substance abuse. But that is not happiness.

Happiness is contentment; to be grateful for who you are; to accept who you are and know that you are in control of your thoughts. Because it is our thoughts that make us happy, or unhappy. This is the nature of our relationship with ourselves. This is all internal, within ourselves.

Just look around and see if this is not true. Look at world leaders; at business leaders – are they happy? Just look at the havoc and consternation they have caused in the geo-political field – think, Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Burma, Bosnia, Darfur, Zimbabwe, and then look at the mayhem in the economic/financial field – think Enron, WorldCom, Northern Rock, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and ...?

Now think your boss; people you know and family members. And now look at yourself and ask the same question about your own life. Are you happy? Don’t be scared, you can change you know – but only if you choose to do so. Learn to like yourself and what you are doing with your life. If you are not happy with that then change it. Remember that observation is the greatest agent for change. Observe yourself and changes will happen. Be happy!

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