We live in a world full of both beautiful things and awful ones and our lives seem to collect experiences from both sides. For some of us, the beautiful things are more abundant, while for others is the opposite. More often than not, our lives seem to intersect with other lives that have a different collection of experiences. And sometimes those intersections become strong relationships, of many kinds.
If we happen to experience happiness but our partner experiences sadness, we experience sadness as well. Most often, we stop experiencing happiness at that point. It seems that the experience of sadness gets priority. If we care about our partner, then we feel it is our duty to offer help, material or emotional. That feeling of duty symbolizes our relationship. And we expect our partner to feel grateful for our help.
Sometimes, our experiences are beyond our control. Sometimes, they take control of us and we feel unable to change them. And sometimes we are just watching the experience of our partner, unable to do anything. We have to acknowledge that all these options are possible and one day we might find ourselves in any of the situations. We might not be able to change a sad experience, but we should not blame ourselves and create even more sad experiences. We should try to navigate our lives in a way that minimizes the sadness created to our partners or to ourselves.
Prevention is the desired solution. But once we find ourselves in a sad situation, we should acknowledge that whatever action we take, it might not be a happy one. And that is ok.
More than preventing or avoiding the sad experiences, we should avoid becoming obsessed with controlling our lives in the first place. Once we acknowledge that our control is limited, we can then focus our energy on what we can do to improve our lives or the lives of our partners, while keeping in mind that we are doing it out of love, not out of duty or shame.
We can see our relationships as a symbol of love instead of a symbol of duty. We can also acknowledge the limitation of the love and the support we can offer. Once we do that, we have more time and energy to find more satisfying ways of expressing love according to who we are.
We deem those happy who from the experience of life have learnt to bear its ills without being overcome by them.
— Carl Jung