Who Is Holding Your Happiness Hostage?

05/23/2015 12:31 pm ET | Updated May 23, 2016

All blame is a waste of time. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.

You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.

-- Wayne Dyer

Last week, while running some errands, I bumped into a close friend of mine whom I see on a fairly regular basis. It was immediately obvious that he was troubled about something because I could feel the negative energy sort of oozing out his pores. I said, "What's the matter with you... you look very stressed out... is everything okay?" He bristled at the question and then said:

No, I'm not okay, because one of my coworkers is a real unethical person who is playing office politics, manipulating and lying to everyone there, spinning things around, and creating turmoil and hard feelings among a majority of the staff.

The office is so incredibly tense that everyone is walking on eggshells, except this guy. And to make it worse, somehow he has managed to fool the boss into thinking he is the best employee the company has ever had.

The truth is, he is the worst employee the company has ever had, and he's getting away with it, and that really bugs me!

I spoke with my friend for a few minutes, trying to lift him up and out of his emotional quagmire, and then we said goodbye. So now, here it is a week later, and I saw my friend again last night, and guess what? He is still stuck in the same story with the same seething anger and resentment... the same cloud over his head. I felt bad for him because he seemed so miserable, and I suspect he still is today. It was clear that he was allowing his happiness to be held hostage by this person. The next time I see him, rather than asking "What's the matter with you?" I should just say, "Who's the matter with you?" Of course, I wouldn't do that, not only because it would be thoughtless but also it would probably only serve in making him even more miserable, and I would probably lose a friend to boot.

Have you ever gotten a personal "bone" you were gnawing on about another person, stuck in your throat, making you miserable, and you just couldn't seem to get rid of it? It's safe to say it's likely most of us have, and we know it's not a pleasant experience; but who is really suffering, you or them? It's amazing how often we externalize our power, placing our happiness in someone else's hands by blaming them and their behavior for whatever is making us miserable. Perhaps it's time to reclaim some of that power and release whomever you may be holding responsible for stealing your joy because they aren't being the kind of person you think they "should be." You may be right; they may be guilty of everything you have judged them to be, but would you rather be right or happy? If you are attached to always being both right and happy at the same time, you will suffer greatly.

Who's the matter with you today? In other words, who might be holding your happiness hostage with your permission? If someone "special" pops up in your mind when I ask that question, consider blessing them rather than cursing them. While this idea may seem a bit challenging, consider that you may not have all the facts on their back story that cause this person to behave as they do. When we convert our anger and judgement into compassion amazing things happen within us that can also spill over into the life of the one who challenges us the most. Others often live up to (or down to) what we think of them and about them. To bless someone is to confirm that you see the light and presence of that which is sacred within them, even if they cannot see it themselves. When you do this you'll be amazed at how quickly your inner peace finds its center in you again. It's so easy to reclaim your power when you cease looking at others as the source of your unhappiness. Happiness really is an inside job!