Why Can’t I Just Be Happy?

“Changing is Hard. Resisting Change, a lot Harder.” Eleanor Brownn

My client Kathleen and her husband have been married for 22 years and they have two kids together: one is in college and the other is a junior in high school. They have had a business together for the last 16 years and have had a great deal of success in that capacity. She is action-oriented, works hard and GSD (gets sh*t done).

She tells me that they’re good business partners, they’re good parents, and they’re good friends. They don’t argue much and they’re both kind human beings. They co-exist as good, solid roommates going about the business of life.

And that worked for a long time…until it didn’t.

What she wants for the last half of her adult life looks and feels very different than what she wanted in the first half of her adult life.

When Kathleen was in her 20s, what she wanted was to find a good man and kick-start her career.

In her 30s, she wanted to be a mother and pour her love and energy into her children.

In her 40s, she submerged herself into the family business and got a great deal of satisfaction from watching that grow.

But now…in her 50s…she craves connection and meaningful experiences. She wants to explore her passions and desires. She wants intimacy in her marriage.

But that’s not a dance she and her husband know how to do…

  • Which leaves her feeling frustrated and hopeless, and
  • Leaves her husband feeling confused and irritated.

After all, he hasn’t done anything wrong and literally does not know why she can’t be happy with the life they’ve built. They have everything they ever wanted and everything they’ve worked so hard to create.

And late at night…when she can’t sleep…she asks herself that same question. And she endlessly asks the question, “Why can’t I just be happy?”

Resistance is Futile

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that the things that made us feel happy and alive in the first part of our adult lives isn’t going to be the same thing that brings us satisfaction and joy in the second half of our adult lives.

For some reason we think that the same things that brought us together will be the same things that will keep us together over the course of decades.

When we resist our partners changing and growing, we suffer because we’re fighting a battle we cannot win. You can choose to not like change, but that doesn’t make it go away. It only serves to make you sit in the discomfort of the inevitable (hence: suffering).

Think about how different our relationships would be if we approached them from the perspective of assuming our partners will grow, will change, will evolve. Assuming they will awaken new desires and continue to reach for more meaning and deeper connection over time. And that you’ve got a front row seat to All. Of. It.

Stop resisting how you’re changing, how what you desire for your life is changing.
Stop resisting how your partner is changing.

Everything changes…literally, everything and everyone.

When you embrace it, you go for quite a ride in this life.

When you resist it, you suffer.

why cant i just be happy