Do you put too much responsibility of your happiness on others?

Last week, when I talked about trust, I mentioned that I had been let down by someone.

It took me a long time, to realise, that they had only let me down because I had thought they were (a) super human and (b) I had given them more responsibility for my happiness than I was prepared to do myself.

I was reminded of this again last weekend!

gran and the catYou may know, or have gathered by now, that my gran has been a very big influence in my life. She is not just my gran. She is my mentor and best friend. She is also the one who introduced me to cats and books!

The first book she gave me was Fantastic Mr Fox when I was ill and I read it within a few hours. It wasn’t long before I was accompanying her to the library van (we lived in a small village) and getting between 2 and 4 books out a fortnight. I would double that during the school holidays.

One of the best childhood memories I have of us is spending  a rainy afternoon reading in her living room in-between the odd cat nap! Very similar to this photograph taking last summer when we were on holiday. gran reading

Since autumn 2015 she has suffered from ill-health and reduced mobility. She has also been showing signs of giving up. To be fair she is 90, but for a woman who was strong and independent most of her life, this is out of character. Yet perhaps she needed to ask for a bit more support. However, what is really out of character is that she hasn’t read in over 6 months!

I think I had been ignoring this over the last few months but it hit me hard on Sunday. I had been telling her I was writing a book over the last year, especially when we were on holiday together in June. She was really excited for me so I had high expectations when I visited the hospital to show her the book at the weekend. However, in her depressed state, her response was not quite as I had dreamed of. If I am honest I was quite taken aback, and upset, at her glancing at the book as if it were nothing more than giving a mug of tea to someone who is not thirsty.

Once I recovered (which if truthful took me about 24 hrs) I was grateful for the learnings that my greatest mentor continues to teach me.

When you reach for a goal it must be something that you want to do. It must never be dependent on anyone’s buy in or response.  If you put your happiness on anyone other than you, then you are most definitely setting yourself up for a fall. This is what I did 10 years ago.

Thankfully, my dream of publishing a book has been intrinsic. My mum and partner will vouch for that. However, I would be lying if I said I had not been looking for some sort of recognition from my gran. I told myself I wanted to show her how much an influence she has been on me, but truthfully, I wanted her to see that I was capable of publishing a book that could sit on her bookcase amongst the others.

I am blessed that even in her ill-health with me spoon feeding her she continues to mentor me. Not only does she remind me how much our goals must be intrinsic, she also reminds me how quickly our life can change. In June last year we shared a holiday together, yet just 3 months later she was house-bound. She has also been encouraging me to rebuild my relationship with my mum.

I love my mum but we are two very different people. Like my partner, she doesn’t read books. Yet she bought a copy of my book (her and my step-dad insisted they both bought a copy) and she has been reading it. I acknowledge that she is making attempts to fill a hole my gran is starting to leave and for that I am very grateful.

If you have a dream, reach for it but only because you want it.

© Helen Monaghan

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