I’m Slowly Learning I Can’t Control Anyone’s Happiness But My Own

girl with tattoos
Photo by Anthony Tran - Unsplash

I just want to stay up in the clouds,
far away from the shouts of doubts,
I don’t wanna face reality no more
This mad world has broken me down to my core.

I don’t know what to say or do
I honestly want to share my point of view,
but I know it is better to stay silent
rather than stir up feelings that might end up becoming painful and violent.

It is such a shame to see the brightness fade
as the days filled with rare hate
I don’t care about the heaviness of the weigh
I just want to take all the pain away.

Recent national current events inspired me to write this short poem. Although certain things are heavy on my heart, my purpose isn’t to discuss my political views. I want to share my personal struggle with being over-emotional at the unpredictability of others’ feelings and actions.

And I can’t seem to break my habit of being a people pleaser. When other people are happy, I am happy. Otherwise I struggle to be. And I beat myself up when people aren’t happy.

I won’t stop trying to come up with solutions if one of my loved ones is feeling down, or in a mood. The trouble is, I only end up becoming depressed myself.

I am so used to the sunshine that I can barely handle the darkness of negativity and uncertainty.

I believe that happiness develops from agony and rage, like a rainbow appearing after a rainstorm. But I hate how draining and contagious negativity can be. I become very anxious when I can feel the intensity of other people’s moods.

Being affected by negativity is like catching a nasty cold. Once it gets in your system, it takes a while to fight it off. I am not always Little Miss Sunshine, and I don’t plan to be. I have my own moments of sadness and anger. But it sucks to be so intuitive and caring, especially if you’re a woman. Because compassion can appear as a weakness sometimes, and it’s frustrating.

I am only trying to share my love and kindness. And I have to remind myself that there are some things I can’t control. It’s not like I can automatically alter people’s attitudes and help solve their problems, like I can with the characters I play with in my fiction stories.

I am not ashamed to say that I have gone to therapy, complaining how I can’t make everyone happy.

“The only person you ever need to focus on is yourself. Because you can control your own happiness, but you can’t control other people’s.” My therapist responds. “Don’t drain your energy.”

Although it is difficult, I am learning to be a little more selfish, and stop worrying if everybody is happy. I also relieve my anxiety and stress by reading books like Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. My therapist suggested it and I’m glad she did. I have received much clarity from reading it. Beattie discusses how the effects of caring for someone else can be damaging, and how self-love is important to one’s mental health.

The only one who can truly victimize me is myself, and 99 percent of the time I choose to do that no more. But I need to continue to remember the key principles: boundaries, letting go, forgiveness after feeling my feelings—not before, self-expression, loving others but loving myself, too.
Melody Beattie, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

It’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s rainstorms, that it’s even easier to forget there is always the option to escape from the gloominess.

I don’t have to be afraid of being too emotional, and neither should you. We all need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others.

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