How to Manage Your Happiness by Keeping Yourself
By Olga Hermans
Oh, how important it is to keep yourself happy and not be living to please everybody else. How easy we can get in that habit of taking on a false sense of responsibility, thinking that it is our job to keep everybody happy. Of course, it is always good to reach out to others and to try to help as many people as possible.
Do you sense the “but” coming? Too often, though, we get out of balance. We’re doing everything for everybody else, but we’re not taking the time to keep ourselves healthy and happy. God does not want you to sacrifice your happiness to keep somebody else happy.
Your first priority is to take care of yourself. I don’t mean to the extent of being selfish and only me, me, me. That is not what I am saying, but I am saying that you cannot be responsible for someone else’s poor choices. If you do, before long, that person will be controlling you and manipulating you.
I think we all know how that feels. God has not called you to be unhappy simply to keep somebody else happy. Truth is, some people don’t want to be helped; they don’t want to change. They just like the attention. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for somebody like that is not to help them.
I remember the time with my oldest sister, who lives in The Netherlands and is mentally ill. I don’t know how she did it, but she could make me feel so guilty if I wouldn’t do that particular thing that pleased her. A few years ago there was a time that I called her every day at the same time and spoke scriptures into her mind. She so enjoyed it and it looked like she was doing so much better.
Anyway, my husband and I were going to a conference in Dallas. She told me how afraid she was to not have me call her and this and that. So, ok I told her I would call every day. I think the 2nd or 3rd time I called her at our agreed time to hear from the front desk that she had gone to a movie. That was the moment that I started to realize I had to do things differently although she was mentally ill.
Life is too short to go through it being controlled and manipulated by people who refuse to make good choices on their own. You are not responsible for everybody else’s happiness. If people are controlling you, it’s not their fault; it’s your fault. You must learn to set some boundaries. Quit allowing them to call you at all hours of the day and night to dump their problems on you.
Many people are all upset, frustrated and discouraged because they’ve made a wrong choice of taking on way too much responsibility for somebody close to them who won’t do what is right. They carry a heavy load, trying to keep someone else happy.
You can be free from all that if you will just give those people to God. Quit trying to be the keeper of the universe. That is not your job. Of course, is not easy at first. My decision towards my sister was very hard on me, but I had to do it. I am not talking about selfish or self-centeredness. We should be givers and care for each other. But there is a big difference between giving and allowing somebody to control you and make you feel guilty until you do what they want.
To reduce stress, be aware of high-maintenance people in your life. Some people are almost impossible to keep happy. Maybe this is a turning point for you. If you have been living to please everybody else, or constantly trying to fix everything, rid yourself of that false sense of responsibility. Yes, be kind and compassionate and yes you should reach out to others. It’s like the saying that says: “you can’t help anybody who won’t help themselves”.
You gotta run your race and not let people control you and manipulate you; you will not only have less stress and more time and energy, but I also believe you will be much happier, and you will be free to fulfill the best plan that God has for you.
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