Thursday, August 23, 2012

Building a Wall

   I don't know about you, but for me it has been well established that I am responsible for my own happiness. Perhaps this is a concept that you too have faced or perhaps not, either way it poses some interesting questions. 
   On a purely intellectual level, it seems valid and sound. "If I determine to make myself happy, then I will be." I do believe this to be true on some level and since taking on that responsibility, I am markedly cheerier. However, how do you factor other people into that? None of us lives a life of a complete solitude. (At least none of us reading this blog.) People filter in and out of our lives on a daily basis: friends, family, co-workers, strangers... If we ignore them completely and rely solely on ourselves, it might be possible to be happy but it sounds awfully dull to me. Thus, we let people into our lives. Theoretically, we let people in because they make us happy. But wait! Aren't we responsible for our own happiness? Problem... 
   So, let's say that we allow them to add to our happiness but we don't allow them to make us sad. That allows our statement to remain true. This is significantly easier said than done. What happens when someone dies? Or just stops being our friend for whatever reason? Is it not right to be sad about that? It is their influence that causes the sadness and thus without them, we would be happier. Then of course, we think, "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," right? I agree, I believe that I would rather get hurt in order to have the fun and memories that accompany a relationship than to go without both. 
   Now, we've addressed the extremes. These seem easier to handle. If we lose someone, at least we had the time with them. If we never talked to anyone ever, life would suck. We can hold these statements as truth (for the most part anyway). What about the little stuff in the middle? 
   What happens when someone is still around, but not as much. They don't support you or hang out as much as they used to. They've got other priorities, new friends, or life is just in the way. You call or text regularly to invite them to things, let them know that you miss them. Maybe they say they miss you too, maybe they don't. Either way, you don't have them in your life like you used to. You even go so far as to tell them that you are feeling neglected, but nothing changes. Now what do you do? You are responsible for your happiness, so you should move on, right? But if you stop calling and inviting them to things, then the decline in your relationship is just as much your fault. But each time they turn you down, you feel worse. So how do you build up the protective wall of not caring about their response without becoming cold? If you truly didn't care about whether or not they spent time with you, then they're no longer a friend. If you do care about the response, then you are consistently hurt. 
   This is a lesson in the yogic concept of "non-grasping." Let things be as they are and don't hold onto things or people for the only constant in life is change. I have always struggled with this concept the most. So I'm left with this thought: How do you put a few bricks in place, without walling yourself off completely? 

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