Lesson 23: Happiness Checks

It is OK, even understandable, that most people are not happy sometimes.  Life can be tough and things that we don’t expect or anticipate, happen.  Maybe it was a bad day at work, you or your significant other have been laid off, or something bad happened on the way home and now you are angry or upset.  There is a wide range of things that can positively or negatively impact your happiness.  The worst thing you can do is take it out on the person you are with.  When you are unhappy, there is a good chance that they are unhappy as well.  It is important to learn the signs and if you are unsure, ask.

News flash!  You are not psychic.  Follow up!  Neither are they.  Communicate and keep the communication flowing.  Ask questions.  Listen to the answers and try to understand what is going on.  It is OK to ask them if they are happy.  Communication is key.  If you don’t know or understand something, ask.  If something is wrong, ask what you can do to make things better.  If they are happy, ask them how you can make them even happier.  This isn’t just about them.  It is about you as well.  It takes both parties to make it work.  You are both responsible for the happiness levels of the relationship, but that doesn’t mean one of you can’t take charge and lead the way.  Just make sure whoever takes charge remembers that relationships are a team effort.

If only one of you is happy, something is wrong.  The relationship is not working.  That doesn’t mean it can’t work or is doomed to fail.  It just means that something is not right and needs to be fixed.  Something is either being miscommunicated, or not communicated at all.  Communication is key.  It can’t be stressed enough.  Most, if not all, of these guidelines tie into communication and whether or not you are both happy or something is wrong.  If something is wrong, you don’t want to be surprised by it or have to handle it on your own.  Work together.  Most things in life are easier when you have the help of something with common interests and goals.  I would like to believe that your significant other wants the relationship to work as well.

While asking the direct question can be the easiest route, you don’t have to constantly ask whether or not the other person is happy.  There are plenty of ways to do happiness checks that are more subtle and better suited to work out any problem, if one exists.  It is not just about general happiness.  Think about specifics.  “How is work?  Are you enjoying what you do?  Do you get along well with your colleagues?”  Then listen to the answers.  Good or bad, sharing the events of the day are a great way to bond with each other and show that even though the day may not have gone as desired or expected, with you, they can be completely open and unafraid of judgment or criticism.

Physical and mental stress have the tendency to cause the same issues.  They are difficult to deal with and sometimes may even seem impossible.  Facing any problem alone can be difficult.  The thing about relationships, there should never be a problem that you have to face on your own.  Your happiness depends on each other and like any well functioning machine, they require constant maintenance.  It is all about the communication and focusing on ensuring that the relationship is always priority number one.  I can’t think of many feelings that are better than knowing that your happiness is important to the person you love.   

I said leave work at work, but that doesn’t mean to never communicate about it.  It is easy to say, difficult to implement.  Unhappiness in the workplace is difficult to prevent from spilling over into home life.  Communication is key.  Let them speak and listen intently.  Respond appropriately.  If they had a bad day, this is your chance to be the hero of the day.  Get them something to eat or drink, have them relax on their favorite chair or couch, and take some time to let them decompress in an environment of comfort, love, and understanding.  Make sure you both understand that this conversation is meant to bring you closer together.

Takeaways:

  1. Unhappiness happens.
  2. Ask whether or not your significant other is happy.
  3. Happiness requires working together.
  4. If unhappy, ask how you can make it better.
  5. If happy, ask how you can make them even happier.

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