Things You Must Do to Make Me Happy

Really? No, not really. But it got your attention, didn’t it? Who is in charge of your happiness? You are! I got to thinking about this the other day when I was reading over the list my sweetheart gave me of things I must do to make him happy. Mind you—it’s just a fun little game we play. In fact, we have this pad that’s pre-printed with a list of about 200 things to choose from, including things like:

  • Read my mind
  • Proclaim your love
  • Switch the laundry
  • Remember what I tell you
  • Tell me I’m hot
  • Massage my ego
  • Massage my body
  • Tattoo my name on your arm
  • Wonder

…and lots of other fun, funny and even suggestive things! Then you get to demand them yesterday, immediately or from now on. And just in case, you can check “please,” “pretty please,” or “or else.” Now, we do it for fun, but it’s a great opportunity to take a look at what we expect from our loved ones and whether we hang our happiness on whether they comply.

Expecting others to make us happy is the old paradigm for life and relationship. It has never really worked well and if it does, it won’t work for long if you don’t take charge of your own bliss.

Your pleasure is the key to the life you want. If you don’t pay attention to what you want and what pleases you, you’re an empty shell. My apologies to The Doors, but “Come on, baby, light my fire” can be a recipe for big disappointment for you, and resentment for your partner. Happiness is an inside job! How will you light your own fire? If you fill your own life with joy, you automatically uplift everyone around you. You become a magnet for joy and other juicy things.

We’re all mere mortals, full of humanity and tender parts. Recently, I’d even forgotten to take my own life coaching! I’d gotten entrenched in filling a coaches training program, evaluating coaching calls, raising my children, earning a living—life. I’d forgotten to water my own flower, fill my own cup. I did a little of that, but it just wasn’t sufficient for the level at which I’d been operating in life: Big commitments, big measures, and big stress call for big fun, big joy and big pampering.

I’d put out so much love, time, energy and attention for others that I had this gnawing emptiness that even with all my training and experience I didn’t recognize until I was flat on my butt with those birds circling my head, wondering what the hell happened! Our culture tells us that we’re here to serve our mates, children, bosses, and jobs, and that alone should bring us happiness; that we should ignore our own needs and pleasure. I’m here to tell you that’s a bankrupt fairy tale.

I have recommitted to purposefully caring for myself and getting back to the business of bringing myself joy and pleasure. This is where you can practice with me. What brings you joy and pleasure? You might be asking, exactly what kind of pleasure are you talking about? There is no limit. Because I know you’re likely thinking it: Yes, sensual pleasure. But also musical pleasure. Spiritual pleasure. Emotional pleasure. Your work can bring you pleasure. (I adore my job!) Even the most mundane tasks like doing the laundry can light you up.

Whatever it is that gives you pleasure, do it with abandon. You might not know what pleasures you. It’s your job to find out—do not leave it to the man or woman in your life or leave it to chance, like “if it were meant to be, it will magically happen.” Nonsense. Try this on: “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me!” Life is not a passive, spectator sport. You create your own passion and excitement. When you’re practicing that, you can have fun co-creating it with others, whether they’re lovers, business partners, friends, employers, children—you name it. Imagine the impact your joy could have on every area of your life. When you’re in love with yourself, you are more beautiful, more productive and apt to create exactly what you want!

I invite you to leave a comment below and share some things you’ll start today to create what you want!

8 comments to Things You Must Do to Make Me Happy

  • tina

    so very true! Last year, after 25 years of marriage, i finally told my husband what i wanted , what i needed. more communication, more sweet interaction. at first he didn’t understand but then he started changing. and he started LOVING the change. He’s a new man, loving life and me. and all i had to do was ask!

  • Tina, I love hearing that you asked for exactly what you want! In my experience, our men just want to please us and appreciate it when we make it easy for them by actually telling them what we want. In my younger years, I can remember expecting that men would just read my mind and know what I want and then I’d get upset when I didn’t get it!

    Congratulations on 25 years of marriage and taking that action to create an even more fulfilling relationship with your husband!

  • David

    Before my marriage and after — it has always been KEY for me to make sure a woman is made happy FIRST. I read a lot of medical books and stuff about the human anatomy (my father was a hospital corpsman in the Navy and my mom is still a registered nurse), and there was a lot of that “forbidden stuff” lying around with technical language and pictures. The upside is the sensual part of my relationships has never been an issue, even when I raise it first; the downside is reading all of that literature made me into a hypochondriac for about a decade as a young man.

    I can count on one hand the number of romantic relationships I’ve had in my lifetime. That’s a good and a bad thing, depending upon how you look at it. Sometimes I look at it w/mild regret, e.g., did I do everything to make MYSELF happy, to experience other relationships, to see what I might have missed? Other times I feel lucky that one woman put up with my angst and over-processing for 25 years (and still counting). Of course, we all go through moments when we think, “boy, if I knew then what I know now.” But by and large, I don’t have too many regrets, considering that I know I’m no day at the beach. I do wish I hadn’t been so career focused when I was in my 20s and 30s and maybe I should have tried harder to become a father. I had my priorities mixed up and yet I still think it’s never too late to make amends for the past and to squeeze as much as I can in my remaining years.

  • David, I don’t know that I’d call you ‘lucky.’ From your description, I’d call you smart, purposeful and loving. After the honeymoon and the newness of a relationship has worn off, I believe love becomes a volitional choice every day. Love is a way of being that says, “I am committed to you and I choose to look out for your interests.” And because you do that, I’d bet good money that your wife does, too.

    I hear your question about becoming a father, but something in your sharing tells me that although you’re not a parent, you do make a difference in the lives of others!

    Thanks for sharing so authentically, and congratulations to you, too, on 25 years with your wife!

  • Lori

    With or without a partner and excluding mental illness such as depression, I think being happy is ultimately a choice. In fact, I think most emotions that we, humans, feel are felt by choice. People seem to think that our emotions control us but its the other way around. Anger, joy, guilt, envy, love, sadness, pride, confidence….all of these things are things we can choose to feel at any given time.

    That’s not to say that certain events in our lives such as death or birth don’t affect us emotionally. External factors certainly do. If, for example, I lost a loved one, my reaction would be sadness, grief. However, at some point, my grief becomes a choice. I can choose to continue to mourn or I can choose to move on. We can choose to let things make us miserable. We can choose to wallow in self pity. And some people do. Or we can choose to get up each morning and be happy.

    So, I completely agree with you. No one else but me is responsible for my own personal happiness but I’d go one step further and say that no one but me is responsible for any of my feelings.

  • I like this posting so much that I’m writing from Prague to comment! I’m reminded of the job descriptions a friend of mine and his assistant came up with for each other 20 years ago. Each of them has the exact same job description, and it is to “create each others’ perfect world.” I think that’s a great context for a relationship as well. After all, wouldn’t you like to be in a relationship where your significant other is committed to creating your “perfect world,” and you theirs?

  • Heidi Lee

    What a great post, Denise. Thank you for your words! I want to know where I can get one of those pre-printed pads so I can start checking things off and hand them out to people in my life! Ha! Kidding, of course.

    Being single, I do find it a challenge sometimes to not have support in lighting my fire, so to speak. I mean, I have the most extraordinary friends that I would never give up for anything…and, there is just something extra special about a relationship that involves a romantic partner. I often find myself thinking about how wonderful it would have to have a man in my life to help “complete” me. It’s easy to fall into the thought process of, “If only I had a wonderful partner who did …. for me, then I would be happy.”

    This blog posting, though, is a great reminder that taking care of MYSELF at an extraordinarily high level (I’m also someone who is up to big stuff in my life) is what has me feel whole and complete–and I’ve not been doing these things at the level I know most serves me.

    This week: My commitment is to start playing the piano again, even if only for a few minutes. It brings me great joy when I play and it’s been a long time since I’ve just sat at the piano to play…just for me.

    Thanks for asking the question.

  • Ah, yes. As the cliche goes, “Stop and smell the roses.” I finally learned, after six decades, to do something for myself instead of always for others. At first, saying “no” was difficult, but it has gotten easier as time goes on. Without that little two-letter word in my vocabulary, I would never have written my book. Even without having the good fortune to take your classes, I am continually awed by your posts on Facebook and now, here. And I am about halfway through a new novel, but this time, I am writing because it’s what makes me happy. If it sells, fine. If it doesn’t, oh well.

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