“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.” – Unknown – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write – When John Lennon was 5-yrs-old the teacher asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. When he answered, “Happy!” he was told he didn’t understand the assignment. Have you become what you wanted to be, now that you’ve grown up? What has determined your happiness? Things? Family? Health? Approval by others? Do you have a definition for happiness?
I suspect that we would all answer that we want to be happy, even if we’ve already grown up. All too often, however, we do put the key to our happiness in someone else’s pocket or at least in their opinion of us. Or, maybe we come to believe that if we only had that next thing; that new car or that bigger house or maybe that next promotion; that then we’d be happy. In any of those cases the key to our happiness is not in our own pocket and that’s not a good thing.
For many younger people, this cathartic moment, when you take control of your own happiness, defines the transition into adulthood. For people who were already adults it represents regaining control over yourself; control that may have been lost to substance abuse or to abusive or controlling relationships or just lack of self-confidence that led to dependency upon someone or something else for happiness. Sometimes we don’t even know that our pockets have been picked and the key to our happiness taken from us. Just realizing that we need to get that key back is a great start.
I’ve written here a few times about being happy with one’s self as the key in life. The reason that we sometimes put the key to our happiness in someone else’s pocket is that we aren’t happy with ourselves. If I don’t like me, how can I expect others to like me? If I’m not comfortable being around me, why would others want to be around me? If I’m not comfortable being me, how can others get comfortable being with me? It all has to start with me, before it can become about we. See my post – https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/04/30/three-little-words-that-may-change-your-life-i-like-me/
So take back your key and learn to unlock your own happiness. Accept yourself as you are and work from that base. Maybe you do need to get better at some things; but start from a base of “I’m OK and I like me” and build on that. Spend your energy on building yourself up, not tearing yourself down. Identify the things that you want to improve and devise a plan to achieve those goals. For many it has to do with what they see in the mirror. Instead of wallowing in self-criticism – “I’m too fat. I’m ugly. I’m a mess.” – set out on a journey to lose some weight or to change your looks or to get your life in order.
Be careful not to put your success in achieving those goals into someone else’s pocket by trying to actually make yourself look exactly like someone else or by depending upon someone else’s judgement about your progress. Yes, it’s nice if someone else notices and asks, “Are you losing weight?” or maybe “is that a new hairdo?” The key is that you’ve taken control and are now conscious about how you feel about yourself as
you make the changes. You will probably notice that you like the new you more than the old you; even if you never admitted to yourself that you weren’t all that happy with the old you. At least you will know that the key to your happiness is not in someone else’s pocket.
Start each day feeling good about yourself. Try a little prayer to thank God for who you are and where you are headed. Putting God on your keyring means that the rest of the day will take care of itself. Put that in your pocket and you’ll have a great day.