A dear friend of mine has been in a ... challenging ... relationship for a while. There are no bad guys and no victims, just a fairly complex relationship with some difficult circumstances. I've supported her when she says it's what she wants, and I've supported her when she says it's not at all what she wants. And yesterday, I said "all I've ever wanted in this is for you both to be happy." It was sincere, but it wasn't really the truth.
I realised this morning, with Sheryl Crow resounding in my head, that happiness is really among the least of my concerns - for my friend or for myself. Happy is, in most cases, a fleeting, somewhat vapid feeling that comes and goes like so many other feelings.
Most feelings are nothing more than butterflies, if they are pretty ones we like, and moths, if they are icky, in their flickering ways. They're really not something worth getting all worked up about (which is ironic coming from the girl who is terrified of moths, but that's a story for another post).
Feelings may be universal, but they aren't real - they're nothing more than a convenient short-hand. So when I say 'I just want you to be happy', what I really mean is something so much more.
I mean, I want you to go to sleep at night sure that the good outweighs the bad. I want you to know that all the hard work actually makes everything else worth while. I want you to be confident in your choices, knowing that they are consistent with your values and will contribute to the future you want for yourself. When I think about it, I'm indifferent to individual happiness, and really interested in people continuing to grow, to learn, to succeed and to be content in life.
It's also true in my own life; I often say that STG makes me happy, but that's hardly a worthy acknowledgement of what it means to me to spend my life with him. Happy is a DQ Skor blizzard (no, really!). Having the love and support and good humour of a giving, patient man - one who I can piss off, or be pissed off at, and know that the underlying care and respect are still there. One who encourages me constantly to be the most honest portrayal of myself I can muster, to break down walls rather than building them, to ask for and accept help, and to offer it in return. Well, it may not always make me happy, but it sure does make me confident in myself and in us.
STG doesn't make me happy - he allows me to blossom. And that, at the end of the day, is what I really mean when I say I hope my friend is happy. I hope she blossoms. And that you do too.