Why Can’t You Be Happy for Me?

Be Happy

“Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

It wasn’t a question. It was more of a demand. There was anger in his voice, as well as frustration. It came out in a–almost–throw-away, half-wail, half-retort.

“Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

The words came out angry, yes, but also deeply wounded.

I hadn’t spoken to him in a long time, and he was angry and hurt by that.

I hadn’t been there to be his rock in a long time, and he was angry & hurt about that, too.

I had not, in a long, long time, cheered him on when he was winning or consoled him when he was losing, and he was angry and hurt about that.

I had stopped being there for him, and he was angry and hurt about that.

I had cut him out of my life and denied him access to all the things I had been to him and that, most of all, was why he was hurt and angry.

All these things, I did to protect myself. Not to hurt him. Not to make him angry. Separating myself from a close relationship with him was a matter of survival for me.

If you feel bad about yourself every time you’re with someone in particular, then it’s time to ask yourself, “What in them has changed?” or “What have I allowed about myself to change?”

There are some people we are far better off not to have in our lives. That’s when it’s no longer about them, or what they want, or what they need, or what they think they need, but it’s about us.

About taking back whatever inside us was lost after listening to ever so many sweet words that were designed only to keep us close and giving what they needed, or wanted, or thought they needed.

I guess eventually everyone misses the something special that each of us has to offer. Even if we’re no longer on speaking terms.

Like most people, this particular man I’ve described above wanted what he used to have. He wanted the love and respect of the people who mattered to him, at one time, and to whom he mattered, at one time. He wanted to retain the cheer and the comfort of having such people in his life while he went on to new adventures. Regardless of what he had done, he still wanted the respect and approval of the people he had hurt.

But he wanted more than forgiveness. He still wanted our support, something he had given up through his actions and behaviors.

“Why can’t you just be happy for me?”

I would have loved to have answered his question, but he didn’t mean for it to be answered.

If I could’ve answered him, it would have gone something like this:

“No. I can’t ‘just be happy for you.’ If you had been a person of honor and someone who had not put your own selfishness ahead of others, I could be happy for you, but you lost the privilege of my support and genuine good feelings for you on any and all levels when you did things that you knew would be hurtful to other people—life-altering to other people—and when you continued to do them, even when you knew how badly you had hurt others. So no, I can’t just be happy for you. There is such a thing as unconditional love and, no matter what you do or have done or will do in the future, some of us may still love you. But don’t expect us to just be happy for you. It is, after all, not my happiness you’re asking for. Instead, it’s freedom from guilt. Those of us you hurt have had to live with your choices, and now…now it’s time for you to live with them as well.”