What makes you happy?

The smell of sandalwood and rose petals is a favorite of mine. Not because it smells good, which it really does, but because it makes me think of a dear friend of mine who used to draw a bath for me on my bad days, when I thought the world must be ending and I was so overwhelmed but I didn’t understand what was happening. He would add sandalwood oil to the water and sprinkle fresh rose petals on the top, while surrounding the tub with candles and playing Enya or Enigma on the cd player.

To this day the smell of sandalwood can calm me like nothing else.

It’s a small thing, but it’s important every now and then to touch base with the things that make us happy. 

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Last week’s #JustAddTea chat was about making connections. Well, making introductions anyway… The point is it kind of spiraled into a discussion (for me anyway) about what it takes to get what you want. Are you the type of person that confidently strides up to the hottie across the room and says hello? Or are you the type that goes running, screaming into the underbrush?

Well, even if you aren’t the awkward runaway type, it helps if you know what you want first. I’ve spent a lot of time using this blog to help me figure it out, but the thing that I sometimes forget is to actually look at what makes me happy. I think about what I think I want. I think about what in theory makes me happy.

I rarely actually look at what it is that makes me happy.

And it turns out I’m not the only one with this problem. I’ve been talking to a couple of different friends of mine, some online some off, and this seems to be a recurring problem.

In one case, a friend of mine had an encounter with her fella (not a Tinderfella like my usual), and afterwards  things seemed different, but she couldn’t put her finger on why. She let her imagination and her fears get the best of her, and even after he (in my opinion) cleared up the issue, she was still unhappy with the situation.

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Having been in this exact spot before, I tried to point out that he was giving her exactly what she said she wanted from him. Maybe she wasn’t as in tune with her feelings as she thought; maybe she was not in tune enough to know why she wasn’t happy with him anymore.

I have a couple of theories, but I don’t know the fella well enough to feel confident in my theory to offer advice.

In another case, a friend of mine has kind of been going around throwing herself at people, both online and off, in order to establish  a romantic relationship, but (and I, too am guilty of this) swearing that she’s only interested in friendship… which of course sometimes leads to friends with benefits, and then feelings get hurt because she’s not being honest with herself.

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What I’ve noticed in observing both situations, plus my own, is that it seems that people are the most likely to put themselves (and other people) in a place to get hurt when they aren’t truly aware of what it is that makes them happy. When you don’t know what it is that makes you happy, you end up testing out things on the other people in your life. Lovers, friends, and, in some cases, strangers!

In my own situation, I was really rooting for the latest Tinderfella, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that it’s really unlikely we’re going to mesh when/if we meet. I know that I am NOT happy when I feel like I’m more intelligent than the person I’m dating. I don’t feel comfortable when I can’t see their passion, or their strengths. Right now, I don’t know what this man likes at all, except for the naughty things, which is good to start a conversation, but if it’s ever to grow into anything more, we have to be able to talk to each other AFTER the naughty bits have happened.

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Talking before and after (thought not always directly after) the naughty time occurs is very important to me. It’s one of the things that made the Bartender so special, because he wanted to talk to me about life while we just laid there and held each other. And he did the majority of the talking, both a rarity and (in some instances) an annoyance.

Well, to be honest, I was so excited that he wanted to share with me (since the Boy never did), that I didn’t realize how annoying it was until I realized he only partially listened to me. Which I didn’t find out until way too late… One of many things I found out way too late with him.

The point is, I realize now that having a conversation with my partner/lover/boyfriend/whatever-you-want-to-call-the-other-person-in-a-relationship is something that makes me really happy, and I do feel that the latest Tinderfella will be a let down because he can’t hardly have a conversation with me now! Why would he actually have one with me when he’s getting the physical things that he wants?

A tiny part of me holds out hope because the Bartender surprised me. HE said he wanted something simple in the beginning and HE made it complicated by making it more. I followed suit because what I really want, like my friend who keeps throwing herself at men, is to find a real relationship.

I’ve yet to have one. All the ones I’ve had to this point have been me changing myself to meet the needs of the man who says he wants a relationship. I held onto the Bartender because he was giving me almost what I wanted… not quite, but it was closer than anyone in the past had done.

I needed to check in with what made me happy.

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So here’s your mission, should you accept it: Take an honest look at your life and find at least five things that make you happy, either currently or in the past.

Then think about the situations that make you unhappy. In how many of those situations, have you been lying to yourself because it’s almost what you wanted?

Find what makes you happy and accept nothing less. Nothing is as miserable as faking happy for long stretches of time. Take it from the girl who used to fake it in order to just not be alone.

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