Do whatever makes you happy

June 22, 2010

“Life is too short — do whatever makes you happy.”

I keep hearing this — from older, wiser people; my parents; my husband; my friends; on television…but is this proposition really that simple to follow?

We don’t live in isolation. dowhatevermakesyouhappy belefski12 Do whatever makes you happy

Most of us, no matter how much we rebel against societal impositions, ascribe to some relationships.

And relationships always require compromise.

Sometimes overt, sometimes subtle…but the fact is that you have to settle at times.

Because in relationships, especially the spousal kinds, you give and take.

You dance a complicated tango.

Each individual has their own set of goals and aspirations. And over time, the realization that life is too short, only adds to the pressure to achieve.

When those goals don’t coincide, it becomes tricky.

How do you decide which one gives up their dreams and which one follows through with theirs?

How do you navigate the murky waters of conflict and resentment?

How do you not let the pursuit of your passion take its toll on your relationship?

I’ve often heard people respond, “love is enough.”

But is it?

When a person feels stifled and bogged down with disappointment, love doesn’t comfort. It burns.

Some people part ways to follow their dreams; others trudge along slowly, with one partner living their life in the other one’s shadow.

It’s sad to see relationships crumble when all they were trying to do was follow the golden rule: Do whatever makes you happy.

What about those who want to go neither route?

Do they really have a shot at preserving their relationship and still being happy?

And, can the one who’s “allowed” to do whatever it is that makes them happy, be truly content?

I’ve said before that communication is the key in any amorous relationship.

And given a situation where two individuals are navigating their way through life with specific goals in mind, talking to — not at — each other takes on a whole new meaning.

Love certainly makes it easy, but just because you love someone doesn’t automatically mean that you will always be in agreement with them.

It also doesn’t mean that you throw away your life, just so they can be happy.

So, where does that leave us?

My conclusion is that you have to make choices.

There is nothing like “doing whatever makes you happy” — not unless you live a life by yourself.

When you’re in a relationship — especially one you care about enough to want to make it last — you have to determine what makes you happier.

And then you have to talk it out honestly. Making sure there is no resentment, no grudges, no anger.

Set priorities.

Weigh what’s more important to you.

Analyze hypothetical scenarios.

Give each other room to express, elaborate, and experience.

It’s tough to stay level-headed and empathize with your partner, but if both people leave aside their egos for a bit and focus on not just what they want from themselves and their individual lives, they can come up with something that will work for their life together.

Life is short and you get to live it only once, but make sure you know what price you’re paying for the [perceived] happiness.

Make an informed choice.

One that doesn’t leave any room for regret.

The bottomline: Do whatever makes both of you happy.

And remember, happiness is real only when shared.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Do whatever makes you happy

dp seal trans 16x16 Do whatever makes you happyCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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11 Responses to Do whatever makes you happy

  1. really?No Gravatar on June 22, 2010 at 3:11 am

    It’s not relationships vs happiness… it’s you chose the relationship b/c of happiness. the only conflict here is between one thing you want and another, and the advice given to you is "do whatever makes you happy(-er)." If you enter into marriage w/ this mentality of "give and take" then, well… good luck. If you can’t enter into it w/ a mentality of all giving and appreciating what is given to you w/o expecting anything, then you’ll fall into the mindset that was had in writing this article.

    I wasn’t even going to comment, but your whimsically and flippantly changing the golden rule to what you want it to be, despite a cultural and historical agreement on what it is, peeved me. "The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others." which, if used correctly would have tied very well into your blog.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 22, 2010 at 4:10 am

      I wasn’t referring to THE golden rule (would’ve capitalized it and explained it such if I were)…it was the golden rule in the context of the post. There’s another post that uses that term, which you might enjoy reading.

      As far as it not being an issue of relationship vs. happiness…I agree with you; but every marriage has a give and take aspect to it — every relationship does (except, maybe, a parent-child one) — to not acknowledge that is to kid oneself. We strive to make it one where we give and appreciate and be thankful for what we have. Happiness is a state of mind. And happiness doesn’t have to mean compromise. That was the whole point I was trying to make.

      Thanks for visiting. I apologize for vexing you, but I hope you see why I chose to use the term in the context of the post.

  2. yogasvyNo Gravatar on June 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Happiness is an emotion you own. To depend on others to make you happy most of the time ends in unhappiness. If compromises happen in a relationship one can still be happy because ‘Happiness’ belongs to me.
    There is happiness in sharing, giving, surrendering. Happiness is not something that we feel for just a moment it is more than that.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      Aptly put, Yogasavy. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. TulikaNo Gravatar on June 23, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Hey Mansi,
    With this…you’ve raked up a Pandora’s box of sorts :) Not to say that I don’t agree with you; but that as life progresses and gets complicated (or easier for that matter coz you have more people to love and be loved by)with others entering your life viz…life partner, in-laws, kids (a very important factor)…the happiness quotient undergoes a marked shift. Sometimes, not your own but your dear ones’ happiness makes you glow with joy! And the cliche- ‘Do whatever makes you happy’ takes a deeper and higher connotation. My time with hubby makes me happy and so does my daughter’s smiling countenance give me immense joy. And at times, it doesn’t matter whether my individual pursuits brought me happiness or the fact that all of this co-exists that made it all seem so bright and happy. Would my happiness at a major personal achievement be worthwhile if I don’t have anyone to share it with? Perhaps not.
    But all said and done, the fact remains, that happiness lies within us. “It’s like the old woman’s spectacles which perched on her nose all the while she looked for it!” :) if we are happy from within, we’ll find happiness in our relationships, in our work, in our surroundings!
    Sorry for taking your note to a different tangent…but js felt like expressing what it means to me! :)

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

      I agree, Tulika, with everything you said. In my experience with married people around me, it seems that compromising is the norm and although people don’t explicitly complain, they aren’t necessarily "happy" either. What that tells me is that the foundation for that relationship is shaky.

  4. BillNo Gravatar on June 23, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Relationships are a wonderful part of life but they also can complicate it. The biggest problem we all face in relationships, as you noted, is dealing with two EGO’s. The EGO only want what’s best for it so it automatically excludes the other person & that can cause conflict. Communication is the only way through this conflict but I agree with Yogasavy happiness is an individual emotion, if we are open to finding our own happiness the relationship will flourish because we don’t “need” the other to be happy. When we have to compromise because of the other person or life circumstances we to discover our own happiness in the compromise. There is joy in every moment the challenge is to find it!! Examine your own motives in all conflicts & move to compassion & understanding & your relationship will thrive.



    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 28, 2010 at 11:18 am

      Wonderfully put, Bill.

  5. keerthanaNo Gravatar on June 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Nothing is simple. That one sentence “Do what you want” has many clauses.!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 28, 2010 at 11:11 am

      For sure it does. And expectations are the root cause of many problems…

  6. someoneNo Gravatar on June 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    wow you managed to embody exactly how i was feeling in the midst of all the confusion of my relationship. i feel like i have had to compromise a lot and love isn’t everything. i gave up my dreams to please this person and i am so unhappy and i try to communicate but it is impossible they just don’t understand me. i feel as if i am in his shadows and i have just as much talent as he does, he doesn’t even acknowledge or compliment my talents. i can talk to a random person and open up completely before i can talk to him and as you said communication is key.


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