Have you ever thought, “I’d be able to enjoy myself if s/he would stop/start ___________ (fill in the blank)?” Thinking or saying some variation of this sentence is a symptom of the belief that “I can’t be happy unless that other person changes.”
But, as a loving teacher Swami Hari once told me, when I hold such a belief, I'm giving the key to my happiness to another person, and that person can drive me all over town.
Do you really want to tie your happiness to the whims of another person?
What Swami Hari was trying to teach me was that my happiness is not really dependent on what another person does or doesn’t do. The problem is not the other person, but my belief that the other person is in charge of my happiness. As we believe, so we behave. If I believe that my happiness is dependent on the actions of that other person, then I’ll make myself miserable until that other person acts as I wish.
If you would like to free yourself from the tyranny of such beliefs, consider the following: The reality is that happiness is the natural state of the human soul, and, to a large extent, we are only unhappy because our beliefs and emotional habits block our innate happiness.
The first step in overcoming this harmful belief is to learn to set that thought aside and to center yourself in yourself, and by so doing, re-discovering your innate happiness.
Meditation is a way to center oneself in this way.
An extremely simple meditation practice is to place your awareness on the sensations of your body and your breath, feeling the breath flow out and flow in from the body over several minutes. Let go of thoughts as they arise, and just feel the sensations of the body and the breath.
Try it. You may soon feel the simple pleasant feeling that is natural to the calm and centered mind.
One of the hardest lessons around is to learn to take responsibility for our own emotions. The good news is that by doing so, we take the key to our emotions back from those we've mistakenly given it to, and that’s a true treasure that opens the door to greater enjoyment of life.