The most valuable words of wisdom I’ve ever received, from someone I love very much, were “I cannot make you happy.” It’s true. As much as I care about this person, they are not responsible for my actions or state of being. I am. I think that we, as humans, have a tendency to look outwards to identify the source of both our joy and anguish—blaming our parents for inadequate care as a child, blaming our ex for emotional instability, or blaming that bully in 7th grade for our confidence problems.
People influence our levels of happiness and sadness because we are inherently social creatures. But I fear that we have come to rely too heavily on others, especially those we love, for validation, as well as an excuse for when things go wrong in our lives. I will be the first to admit that I fall victim to this. Sometimes I assess my value or importance based on how many people talk to me one night at a bar, or how many people like my profile picture. Other times, I blame ex-friends for trust issues, or my parents for my rigid perfectionism.
But, at the end of the day, I am the one who internalized their comments and actions the way I did. I am the one who chose to respond the way I did. Whether my response and the resulting emotions have been positive or negative (or neutral), I cannot blame these people for what I have done or my current state of being. Sure, I can analyze my actions and feelings to figure out where they stem from and who may have influenced them. But it isn’t helping anyone if I become infuriated with every person who contributed to a bad decision I made.
At the end of the day, you have to fall asleep knowing that you are the best you that you can be. You have to learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments. Your Facebook friends, Instagram followers, classmates, ex-boyfriend, or the bully from middle school aren’t going to be there, as you close your eyes, telling you how to think or feel.
And I know this is all much easier said than done, but there is something beautifully unique and incredible inside of each and every person—if you stop blaming people and relying on everyone else for validation, you will find it.