Yeah, you know the rest.
You can’t make unhappy people happy. This thought jut randomly popped into my head this afternoon and I think it deserves a little bit of digging into.
This past Friday, we had dinner with my bestie and I’m not even sure how it happened but we all started dispensing life-advice on my daughter. You know, the “don’t settle for less that you’re worth” Instagram quotes dispensed by aunties. One thing I told her is, “you’re wonderful, amazing, a gift to the planet but you still will never be able to fix him.” “Him” being the mythological future boyfriend. You know we all have that guy, usually in our 20s, where we say, “I love him but…” and the but is something about him that drives us so freaking nuts we start to question if we really love him. But we’re young and determined and by golly, we’re going to fix that flaw he has. If he really loves me, he’ll quit smoking, right? Or he’ll at least get in the gym so we can live a long happy life together, right?
Here’s the thing though, if you really love him, you’ll accept him for who he is. If he wants to change, awesome! Support him! But he’s not going to want to change just because you want it. But what if the change you want to make is honestly what’s best for him? Wanting him to quit smoking or get healthier is not a bad thing. You’re not some evil psychopath for genuinely caring about his well-being. But you also have to realize that he is a grown ass man who gets to make his own choices and if you can’t accept the choices he makes, you have the choice to leave.
That is the hard part. So many times, we wait for him to change. Or subtly try to nudge him to change. How’s that working for you? You’re an unhappy, you nag. He feels pestered, he puts up walls or even does the annoying habit more often and in your face to spite you. This can easily turn into a vicious cycle.
The way I see it, life is way too short for that mess. You have two options: get out of the relationship to remove that negativity, or choose to love him unconditionally so you can rise above the negativity. But, as I started out saying, you cannot choose joy for someone else. Whether you’re vegan, a nonsmoker, a devout Christian, whatever you’ve found in your life that brings you indescribable joy, you cannot force it on another person. There’s a chance your other half will see the joy you’ve discovered and want some of it for themselves. But there’s also a chance that he’s content to eat steak, smoke a pack a day and spend all day Sunday watching football. You can’t change him! And if you truly love him, you’ll embrace the man you chose rather than let your differences bring you down.
Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up and feel like a failure because you were unable to make good choices on someone else’s behalf.