January 28

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A happy ‘me’ makes for a happier ‘us’

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I only have two big “relationships” where I’ve found I’m really held accountable in, and both are comfortably dysfunctional: my marriage and my job. Which one is more important? I’ll never tell.

But after hours and hours of introspection, outrospection, wine, and donuts, I’ve figured something out about myself: I’ve decided it’s okay to be selfish in my relationships. Sometimes? Always? A lot? That part I’m still working out.

These two relationships are my most demanding, and while both are rewarding in their own ways, these are where I feel I’ve met the most challenges [failures?]. But I seem to fail when I’m most unhappy, and I’m most unhappy when I feel like I’m doing more than my share, or have to deal with more ridiculous things. But, when I feel like my needs are met, or things are going the right way (is it wrong to assume that my way is often, if not always right?), I’m most happy, and I think I’m a much better ‘me’ in the relationship.

Though it doesn’t exactly illustrate my point here, there’s a movie scene that keeps playing in my head. If you’ve ever seen the 1990s flop, “Betsy’s Wedding,” you’ll know that Alan Alda is coached by a junior enforcer (a really young Anthony LaPaglia, who’s having trouble Americanizing his Australian accent) on how to get out of a deal with a big time mobster: [totally paraphrasing] Just explain to him, “I don’t think I can give you what you want.”

This might have to be my approach to being more open, honest, and happy in my relationships – be clear about what I want, and what I can give. I suppose this also means I’ll have to work [a little bit] harder at giving as much as I take. I suppose….

[Silly rhyme time: “To see happy we, see to happy me.”]