In our search for Love, we tend to think that our feelings of loneliness and unworthiness are caused by the absence of a special person in our lives. We live as though when we do meet them, all of our relationship problems will be solved.
Culturally, we are surrounded by media, music, and movies that show us images of people falling in Love and living happily ever after, so in a huge way, we've been taught that a relationship equals happiness. The times when we have fallen in Love have been accompanied by the most incredible rush, and of course, we would want to find a way to have that forever.
The assumption that meeting the right person equals happiness is an incorrect one and when you live from this, you'll make some very critical mistakes in relationships.
Anyone can get caught up in the rush of new Love, but you've surely found that the "new love" feeling wears off and that true Love is about something much deeper. You have probably realized (when a past or current relationship has gone south) that another person can never really fulfill you. This recognition may lead to despair at times, but it can also lead you to a deep commitment to discovering, "How do I find happiness in a relationship?"
Wanting your partner to bring you happiness is a certain path to frustration and disappointment because it is a misunderstanding of where your happiness actually comes from. This goes against the two fundamental laws of happy relationships:
The first one is:
You must always seek to GIVE to your partner rather than try to GET from them.
You must shift from a desire to "get" something to a desire to "give" something.
If you attempt to get Love, validation, worth, and value from someone else, you are placing yourself in the least likely position to have the relationship succeed. No relationship can be successful in this context. Many people enter into relationships thinking that this person, or this relationship, is going to make them happy. This is incorrect. Your happiness is not their responsibility--it's yours. And if you want the relationship to be extraordinary then:
Make their happiness your responsibility also.
A successful relationship is built on two people coming together both willing to be responsible for their own happiness and the happiness of the other person. This means that I need to always do my best and to be my best because that is when I am most likely to lift them up to be their best.
Don't make it their job to fix you. You may share with them vulnerably, let them know what's going on and how you're feeling, you may request their support, or ask them to talk--but all of this is done with the intention of overcoming a challenge you are facing. Ultimately, you succeeding in your own happiness will lead to the success of your happiness together.
When your partner is not at their best, make their happiness your responsibility. This is not suggested as a burden or as an obligation, but as an opportunity to be there for the relationship where it really matters. We are also not suggesting that you be a martyr or a victim to the situation.
You should never compromise your happiness or dignity to serve your partner, but rather allow yourself to find happiness and dignity in the service of the other.
A relationship in which both partners are constantly looking for how they can add to the relationship and how they can better serve their partner and the relationship is sure to succeed. This is truly all that is required to have a relationship succeed, for this is what encompasses all of the principles of a healthy relationship.
The second rule is the logical other side of this coin:
Only invest in people who make an equal investment in you.
When we speak about focusing on giving rather than getting, people always ask the question: "Doesn't that set you up to be taken advantage of?", and that is why the first rule is only sufficient when practiced with the second one.
Focusing on giving to your partner doesn't mean that you disregard their behavior entirely. That is the equivalent of creating a business partnership under the agreement that you will do all or most of the work and they will receive half of the profits--that arrangement doesn't make sense.
When you're in a relationship with someone, you want to watch for the level of investment that they put into the relationship and invest equally. Give some and see if they give back; it's like making deposits into a joint account. If you both consistently make the deposits, the account will grow. If one person stops making the deposits, the other partner should say, "If you don't want to make equal deposits with me then you don't get to share the account anymore."
Truly living by the first rule naturally leads you to a powerful relationship with the second. It is understanding your worth and value and recognizing that you have something worth giving that makes you want to give. That same recognition also contains the understanding that what you have to give is worthy of reciprocation so you will not settle for anything less.
When you think that your Love and happiness come from other people, you will be inclined to make irresponsible relationship investments.
If you are compromising in either of these rules, you are diminishing your value and therefore, others will as well. In your attempts to get Love from other people, you will invest your time and energy in places that have little to no return. But when you understand that the Love that you give is a gift that brings you and others happiness, you will respect that gift and be very wise about how and where you share it.
And because you recognize that, others will as well, and they will see you as worthy of investing in.