it's interesting, how things change. how certain things that used to work quite nicely suddenly seem to be deficient. I was wondering whether the secret to happiness has changed as well.
I was wondering whether I need to continue being selfish about my happiness. after all, selfishness isn't something people usually associate with relationships. and selfishness done wrong has ruined plenty of relationships. but then, selfishness isn't something most people associate with happiness either. and selfishness done wrong can ruin pretty much anything.
also, while it seems really romantic and idealistic to put my happiness in someone else's hands, I've realized that everybody has a different way to find happiness, and in most cases, the thoughts that go behind it are so different that even your soulmate probably won't think they same way as you do. so yes, while we now put greater efforts into making each other happy, it doesn't diminish the importance of our own efforts.
conclusion: well calculated selfishness is still required. relationships are not designed to make you happy... because nobody can make you happy other than yourself. others can give you excuses to be happy, make it easier or more difficult to be happy. but they can't "make" you happy. just like the best meal on earth is wasted if you have indigestion, the best efforts of someone to make you happy will be futile if the internal drive to be happy is missing or not working at that time.
as always, selfishness for me means focusing on my own happiness as the cause, and not the outcome of others' happiness. the happiness of people around me is more important than it was before, but that doesn't mean I can relinquish responsibility for my own.
there is one caveat though. while the selfish approach to happiness seems to work and all, it doesn't do anything to minimize conflict. and conflict is inevitable when two people with different approaches to happiness start playing a greater role in each others' lives. it's funny, how happiness, while being accepted as being so important, is rarely discussed. to the point where "will this make you happy" is negative enough to be considered a taunt. maybe that's something that needs to change, more than any fundamental principle: a healthy dialogue about what helps and what does not.
I've never had to do that with friends, because I guess the impact they have on my happiness is well diversified. and you can't diversify it in a relationship. maybe that's something I need to get my head around.
cheers to a happy life!