The Source of Happiness

When, after twenty years of mar­riage, Laura Mun­son’s hus­band told her “I don’t love you any­more. I’m not sure I ever did.”, she chose to not believe him. Not because it did­n’t hurt or that she was­n’t tak­ing it per­son­ally, but because this was­n’t about her – it was about unmet expect­a­tions.

In yet anoth­er touch­ing Mod­ern Love column (is there any oth­er type?), Mun­son tells an enthralling story of mar­it­al and famili­al dis­quiet, but also man­ages to cut to the core of hap­pi­ness: that the source is not to be found through extern­al val­id­a­tion.

I’d finally man­aged to exile the voices in my head that told me my per­son­al hap­pi­ness was only as good as my out­ward suc­cess, rooted in things that were often out­side my con­trol. I’d seen the insan­ity of that equa­tion and decided to take respons­ib­il­ity for my own hap­pi­ness. And I mean all of it.

My hus­band had­n’t yet come to this under­stand­ing with him­self. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had sup­por­ted our fam­ily of four all along. But his new endeavor had­n’t been going so well, and his abil­ity to be the bread­win­ner was in rap­id decline. He’d been miser­able about this, felt use­less, was los­ing him­self emo­tion­ally and let­ting him­self go phys­ic­ally. And now he wanted out of our mar­riage; to be done with our fam­ily. […]

I saw what had been miss­ing: pride. He’d lost pride in him­self. Maybe that’s what hap­pens when our egos take a hit in mid­life and we real­ize we’re not as young and golden any­more.

When life’s knocked us around. And our child­hood myths reveal them­selves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest suck­er-punch of them all: it’s not a spouse or land or a job or money that brings us hap­pi­ness. Those achieve­ments, those rela­tion­ships, can enhance our hap­pi­ness, yes, but hap­pi­ness has to start from with­in. Rely­ing on any oth­er equa­tion can be leth­al.

My hus­band had become lost in the myth.

1 thought on “The Source of Happiness

  1. Maanaay

    Wel­come to the mater­i­al­ist­ic life­style of the age. When people as indi­vidu­als prefer to choice with things and not people then thats what hap­pens. Becuase things either dimin­ish or change. People and memor­ies neither change nor dimin­ish.

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