A blog post in a section of AOL’s news partner, Huffington Post (HuffPost Living, Canada), really caught my attention last Friday. The headline read, “I just wish he would have an affair”.
Written by Monique A. Honaman the gist of this blog was that she’d been hearing from women lately who said they were tired of being married to their husbands—men who were, basically, really nice guys. These men weren’t abusers, or repugnant in any way. The women just wanted out of their marriages, and so wished their husbands would cheat in order that they could then have, supposedly, a guilt-free reason to end the marriage.
And why did these women want out of these marriages? Apparently, they just “weren’t happy anymore”, interpreting this lack of happiness to mean they no longer loved their spouses.
I don’t want to come off as unsympathetic, I really don’t. But…
I wonder if this is one of those unintended consequences of the entire school of thought that encompasses within its umbrella themes like “political correctness”, “full participation” sports teams and “no matter what, all children must pass each school year.”
In other words, I seriously believe that this ennui is the unintended yet direct and may I say unsurprising result of the spirit of entitlement that seems to have enveloped people who are 35 years in age or younger.
Because people today have been raised to expect to always pass from one grade to the next, to always be rewarded with a spot on the team when they ask for one, to always be given ‘fair’ treatment, they therefore never have to learn how to deal with failure, frustration or feelings of inadequacy (because, after all, those things are so “damaging” to a child’s psyche).
And because they’ve been raised feeling entitled to everything, they’re shocked and amazed and completely out to sea when they discover that happiness doesn’t magically fall upon them out of the sky like manna from heaven.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t consider ending a marriage if you’re deeply unhappy within it. Although in my opinion divorce should be a last course of action after all avenues of trying to fix things have been explored. What I’m wondering, and here I may be drummed out of the sisterhood of womankind is this: would these women be happy under any circumstances?
I ask because I have long believed, and long professed, that happiness isn’t something you’re entitled to; it isn’t something that becomes yours by whim or by fancy.
Happiness is yours if 1) you decide you really want to be happy, and 2) if you then work at achieving that status through attitude and deeds.
What does that mean? Well, first it means you do not depend on anyone else to “make you happy”. No one can make you happy. That feat is only up to you and God.
“I wish I was happier in my life.” If you want to be happier in your life, then be happier. Where do you start? How about with a little old fashioned gratitude?
I’m grateful, every day, for each new day I am alive because not that long ago, I nearly died and now, with a history heart disease, diabetes, and basal cell carcinoma, long life is not something I take for granted. I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, and a few luxury items to boot. Not that very long ago, none of that was a given. I’m grateful for my family. Yes, I’ve lost a son and that’s a whole in my heart that will never be filled—but I have a husband, two living children, and six grandchildren, including two from my late son. I am blessed, and highly favored.
I have a career that pleases me because I chose to work at doing what I love above all else to do. I have a life that is full, because I choose to make it so. Am I happy? Yes, I am. Do I have days of boredom, or days when I don’t feel happy? Of course I do. I’m human, and no human being is ever happy 24/7.
My advice to anyone who feels a lack of happiness or fulfillment in their lives is to first define what would make you happy or fulfilled, and then do something about it. Work on making yourself happy, because no one will ever be a better friend to you than you, yourself.
And then, just because you should, take your eyes off yourself and put them on someone, or something else. Do good. Help others. Give yourself the gift of a sense of having made a difference in the world. And then watch happiness bloom.