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One of my favorite books on relationships is “The Mastery of Love” by Don Ruiz. It’s not a very long book, but it is so packed with wisdom that even though I have read it at least 10 times, every time I do, I notice something new I hadn’t before. If you have not read it, I highly recommend that and his other books. I need to read it again, but I keep giving my copy away! So I will get another.

In the book he says one of the biggest mistakes people make in relationships is that they come to them from a place of lack. They see the other person, or the relationship as the “missing piece” that will make their life complete, make them happy. (Which reminds me of one of my other favorite books, a children’s book, called “The Missing Piece” by Shel Silverstein.)

The problem is the only person we can control is our self. So if we believe our happiness depends on an outside person, this sets up a dynamic where one needs to control or manipulate that other person, to not lose the happy. One person is going to be doling out the happy and one person is going to be wanting the happy.

Ruiz says instead it is better to be the happy. He likens it to realizing that your heart is a magical kitchen. Whatever you want, boom, there it is. If someone shows up at the door with pizza and offers to trade pizza for happiness, you would be puzzled. You already have all the pizza you want or need. You have pizza, they have pizza, you can have pizza together, or you can have pizza apart. But your having pizza does not depend on that other person. They cannot take away or grant you pizza. You don’t have to barter for pizza, because you already have pizza. Getting pizza is no longer a motivator.

Ok, maybe that makes no sense at all, but it is early, I need more coffee, and really you should read the book yourself because I promise, it makes total sense when you read it about all this there.

Back to the point: If you are in a relationship, or not, spend some time pondering this idea — are you bringing the happy? Or are you expecting someone else to bring the happy? Are you maybe trading the happy – trying to make someone else happy so they will make you happy in return?

Happiness, as they say, is an inside job!

(One could also substitute the word “love” for “happiness” in this post. Feel free to reread it but swap in the word love every time you run across the word happy to see it in another way.)