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My Own Care and Feeding

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It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere. Agnes Repplier

One of the things I take pride in is taking responsibility for my own happiness. As much as I love the people in my life, none of them get tasked with making Jenny happy, which is a good thing because I believe they couldn’t succeed anyway – happiness and confidence come from the inside out, not the other way around. It’s my own job to decide whether I’m good enough, up for the task, and having fun.

Which is why it surprises me sometimes to look up and realize that I’m leaning. I caught myself fishing recently, looking to have others tell me that I’m on the right track and that I’m going to do fine. It’s normal as I’m in transition, but it doesn’t fit with my idea of myself. Usually I wait until the decisions are all made and I’m settled and confident of my direction before I tell anyone what I’m up to. I don’t let them see me “making the sausage” as the saying goes – and by then I’m not seeking their reassurance because I have things figured out. The downside of this is that I can seem aloof and disconnected. So I decided to try another tactic for the career change and cross-country move I’m currently staging; I asked for advice and opinions – and didn’t realize how much I wanted everyone to prop me up.

It’s just a different dynamic, but one that challenged my own sense of independence. It’s a big question, how much others’ opinions should factor into our own happiness, and one that everyone answers differently. Should we need reassurance? Or should we wean ourselves from it and simply be grateful if it comes our way? How much of our connection with others depends on the leaning?

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One response »

  1. Libertarianism doesn’t make for a good happiness model — ergo, that friend who offers the least advice/help/love/concern, isn’t the best friend…to paraphrase a quote I know you hold dear, Ms. Taggert.

    Leaning on others is exactly what others are there for -when you need them and when they need you.

    Grace is gained by accepting your own fallibility and insecurity as well as by giving and receiving aid to others in need.

    Certainly we are all responsible for our own happiness, but that doesn’t mean we are solely responsible nor that we need to be “weaned” off of others.

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