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If we make it someone else’s job to make us happy, we assign them a role, and with that comes obligations, expectations and responsibilities. It also creates a transactional aspect. If we think it’s someone else’s job to create feelings in us, we’ll play a role to fit around this.

For instance, we will see our behaviour and choices as our way of making them happy so that it’s ‘easier’ for them to do what we need, want and expect. At the same time, though, our attitude means that we don’t think, feel, behave and choose like someone who has any say in their own circumstances.

Thinking that it’s someone else’s job to make us happy means that when we don’t feel how we expect to, or life doesn’t look and feel as we think it should, we’ll blame the other party, question the relationship or feel shortchanged. 

No human feels happy all the time or is supposed to. As a result, we put ourselves between a rock and a hard place when we outsource our happiness. We rely primarily on external esteem instead of self-esteem, and so how we feel is at the mercy of everything and everyone else.

As the relationship and our feelings don’t fit the picture we painted in our mind, we’ll feel disappointed by our [unrealistic] expectations.

We’ll hold our partner at fault when we’re less happy than we believe we would be if they were doing their job ‘properly’. 

It’s like, I thought I’d feel this happy and not worry about X, but instead I’m only this happy and worrying. Maybe they’re not the one for me. 

Or, Given that I do everything to cater to their needs and wants (including changing into who I think they want me to be and losing myself), why aren’t they willing to do the same for me? Is it that I’m not good enough? Are they trying to take advantage of me? 

Or, In the beginning, I was really into [this person]. But now those feelings are starting to subside and everything’s starting to feel a bit real. I thought they could make me happy. Now that they’ve mentioned/done something that makes them human, I don’t think they can make me happy. I need to find a way to extricate myself from all of the blowing hot and big promises I made. 

This idea that it’s someone else’s job to ‘make’ us happy is what draws us to codependent and destabilising dynamics. It’s easy, then, for someone to breeze in with intensity. It feeds this idea that we can get someone else to ‘make’ us happy if we’re enticing or pleasing ‘enough’. Of course, we don’t realise that someone who busts into our life with intensity operates with a similar mindset.

It’s our job to make ourselves happy.

We’re the thinker of our thoughts, feeler of our feelings and keeper of our needs. The ability to create happy feelings within us, to soothe our emotions, to make aligned choices isn’t about us not needing anyone else, though. We don’t have to do ‘everything’ ourselves.

We need to choose people and things that contribute to our happiness, and also be and do the things that allow us to treat and regard ourselves with love, care, trust and respect at the same time. It’s not one or the other.

When we make it other people’s responsibility to make us happy, we give to receive. That’s not authentic and is precisely the transactional element that leads to hidden agendas and roles created by lack of boundaries. We end up giving because it’s what we know how to do, not necessarily because it’s what the actual person needs or wants. The focus is also on what we want to get back instead of the emotional availability and intimacy of genuinely sharing ourselves and showing up. 

In mutually fulfilling, healthy relationships, each party is responsible for their own happiness as well as that of the relationship. 

People who know how to make themselves happy know how to contribute to the other’s happiness from a place of interdependence instead of codependency. They know where they end and others begin. Yep, boundaries, baby. This is different from being excessively emotionally reliant on others and expecting others to create feelings in them. The codependency is where we wind up abandoning ourselves and having unrealistic and unboundaried expectations of others

So we have to start as we mean to go on. If we enter into relationships from a place of being able and willing to take care of ourselves, including through our relationships, we will co-create mutually fulfilling relationships. We will know how to make ourselves happy and also contribute to our partner’s happiness, and vice versa. 

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