Finding happiness in life involves a combination of identifying the right people to have in your life and becoming the right person — the best version of yourself. Of course, there is no one right way to be as a human. But what is meant by that is simply doing all of your personal work so you can be certain you’re analyzing interactions with others and selecting who you allow into your life with a clear view. A clear view is one that isn’t tainted by insecurities, trauma, past experiences, fear, triggers, and other complicated elements. I heard a great quote from a therapist (in a TV show, granted) who responded to a client who said she always chooses the wrong romantic partners by saying, “Maybe you chose the wrong people because you were the wrong person yourself.”
Some people are excellent at identifying other great people and not-so-great people but terrible at taking accountability for their own actions. That’s a losing combination that will result in frequently watching people walk away from you and not fully understanding why. And, to be clear, even when you’ve done all of your personal work, there will still be plenty of failed relationships. But when you have done your personal work, you can feel more certain that, when things don’t work out, it was a compatibility issue and not a you thing. For now, if you do continuously have relationships you want in your life slipping through your fingers, it’s worth considering signs that it’s you that needs to change. We spoke to two mental health experts, Illumination Counseling founder Latasha Matthews and Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed psychologist and author of The Couch Experience: A Guide to Good Therapy to understand how we should go about doing things differently.
You get worked up easily
If “frustrated,” “irritated,” or “worked up” are words that could often describe how you feel – if they are dominating emotions in your days – it may be how you respond to others that’s the real issue. “When the behaviors of others frequently get under your skin, it’s a message that is trying to tell you something, about them but also about you,” Dr. Jackson says. “It’s natural to feel it’s something the other person is doing. However, ask yourself if that behavior is really the problem or what about that behavior is truly bothersome. Perhaps it may be how you respond that creates the turmoil.” Matthews adds to that, “If you have internal things going on, you will begin to argue over little things. You might be very short-tempered and have very little patience.”