A friend posed a question: “Can we really depend on another person to make us happy?” My first reaction was, “NO! Absolutely not. No one can “make” you happy if you’re not. You’re either happy or you’re not. You can certainly enjoy the company of another or find him or her entertaining. Happiness is found internally, not externally. If you’re not happy, no one person is going to change this. It’s up to you to find what makes your happiness in life.

I get it, it’s easier said than done, however, I’ve seen more than a few relationships break up because one party puts pressure on the other to “make things right/good/better or just plain happy.” Happiness, like satisfaction, is an internal goal. So, you ask, “How does one ‘get happy’?”

There are several ways to accomplish this. The first is to acknowledge that there is something missing, or that you are sad or dissatisfied with aspects in your life. Be completely honest with yourself as you begin to explore you. I recommend that people write without edit. It’s an amazing and sometimes surprising way to delve into the subconscious. When we’re able to tap into it via meditating, free writing as just discussed, walking, driving—whatever way you’re able to get centered and connect—it’s amazing what comes up. You do have to be open and ready to receive what is currently happening in your life, and more importantly, you must want to change your circumstances yourself.

Some people require help to identify their demons: life coaches, therapists, trusted friends and family. Whatever way you can connect to your happiness, the better for all your relationships. No other person is responsible for making you happy other than you. Perhaps there’s a bit of healing that needs to happen so that you can begin to see life and relationships in a different light and take ownership for your feelings—understanding that they are yours alone to fix.

I’ve heard several people complain, “S/he makes me miserable”. I take issue with this as well. Maybe you were a bit miserable initially. The other person only cultivated your unhappiness, saw it and for some reason sought to capitalize on it. I just don’t believe in giving another person that much power over you to “make” you feel a certain way, and if your partner wants to see you dissatisfied, that’s a red flag, and perhaps you can better pair with someone on the same wavelength happiness-wise. I had a client who told me that her husband denied her things because he didn’t want her to have what she wanted; he didn’t want her to get her way. That’s the definition of a toxic relationship and it was important for her to recognize this and decide next steps about the future of that pairing.

Once you do identify what’s holding you back from living your best life, and you come to terms with what happiness looks like to you, you are now available for a healthy and happy partnership. You can now bring that to fruition in your life. Congratulations.