This tea is my own special blend. I can’t guarantee the taste every time.Yoshihiko Hakamada as Baron Humbert von Gikkingen – The Cat Returns (2002)
Sharing your happiness with others is what makes the world a better place. Happiness shouldn’t be viewed as an emotion that’s exclusive to yourself. If you see happiness as an emotion that you only want to keep to yourself, you aren’t optimizing all of what life has to offer. Happiness is only worth feeling if you have the courage to share it with the people you care about. That, by definition, is love.
Take Bob Ross as an example. He wanted to create a platform for new painters to learn how to paint in an environment that was as inviting, so he created the television program, The Joy of Painting. All Bob wanted to do was share his passion for painting with the world because he wanted others to feel the same happiness he was feeling.
That is why God created us, because He loves us, and wanted to give us opportunities to feel happiness for ourselves. He created us because He wanted us to spread His love in the form of happiness to the people we love most.
I don’t know what happiness means for you, but I know that one way to find out the answer to this question, is to share your passion with others so that they can feel empowered by you to accomplish great things. When you do this, you’ll be making the world a better place to live. Not to mention, there’s no better example of true satisfaction than having the opportunity to share your happiness with someone special. To better explain this, I’ll be diving deeper into two films I have discussed with great enthusiasm on this blog, Whisper of the Heart, and The Cat Returns.
Whisper of the Heart
I’ve already made an entire blog post discussing this film. If you’ve been keeping up with my twitter account, you would know that I wasn’t entirely happy with how that post turned out. So I’m going to clear up a few things with the intent of explaining the strongest ideas that this film has to offer.
All Shizuku wanted in the film was to be with Seiji. However, great relationships aren’t formed based on how much you want something. If all you seek is affection, then your relationship likely will not last long. The key to any successful relationship is the willingness to share what little you have with this person, including your happiness. Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice what makes you unique to satisfy the other person.
What Does it Mean to “Share” Happiness?
You might be confused as to what I mean when I talk about “sharing” happiness. Living life as an independent individual is different from living life with a partner. When you’re in a relationship you serve as a moral support role for your partner, and vice versa. In a romantic relationship, you’re able to allow your partner to lessen the weight of your burdens. Your romantic partner is your biggest cheerleader. However, you’re still expected to retain your individuality.
In a healthy relationship where both parties retain their independence, they can each learn how to appreciate something that they wouldn’t otherwise in different circumstances.
For example, I don’t know how to sing, and although I love music, I’m not infatuated with it as other music enthusiasts would be. However, if I met someone special that really had a passion for singing and music, it would bring a totally different meaning to me. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to spontaneously form a passion for music, but I’ve discovered something beautiful that I would have never unearthed had I not introduced myself to this person.
Music means different things to different people. Think of life as a dictionary. For every word there is, there’s an X amount of people assigned to that word, which represents their passion. No matter how many people you talk to, that word is going to have a completely different definition once you move on to the next person. If you form a romantic relationship with someone, you get to experience the beauty of their uniqueness and understand why that passion makes them happy. Therefore, whenever they experience happiness, you can share that joy because you understand why they associate their passion with such blissful emotions. That’s really what love is all about.
Learn to Love Yourself Before You Love Others
Nobody can truly love someone until they learn how to love themselves. If you don’t have anything to give to this person you’re in love with, then the relationship will fall flat because this person is going to be doing all the heavy lifting. If you wanted to learn how to play golf, it wouldn’t be a good idea to come to me for guidance because I don’t know anything about golf. Therefore, if I tried to teach you how to play golf you wouldn’t learn anything. If I don’t have the knowledge that allows me to teach you about the sport, there’s nothing for you to gain out of the exchange.
Relationships work the same way. If you don’t know how to love yourself, what makes you think that you’re qualified to love someone else? If you lack the self-respect to take care of yourself, then that will reflect the quality of your performance in your relationship.
If you wanted to start looking for a new job, would you apply for a career that requires you to have a skill-set that you don’t have? No, because you wouldn’t get the job. Nobody is going to perform well at anything based on what they don’t know.
If you follow Shizuku’s example, then you would learn that by evolving as a person you can bring the best representation of yourself to the relationship. The more you have to give to a person, the more that person will learn from you, and the more that person will have to share and appreciate. You need to keep in mind that if you know how to take care of yourself, you will become more attractive to a potential partner. Nobody wants to be in a relationship with someone who has to rely on someone else to take care of them. When you’re in a relationship, you’re a partner, not someone’s child. You’re expected to bring your best foot forward.
Using Self-Love to Build Sturdy Relationships
I want you to take note that wanting to share your happiness with someone you’ve established a connection with, is completely different than attaching to someone in the hopes that this person takes pity on you, and fixes your problems for you.
Think of relationships as a bridge. You are only in control of what you build on your side of the bridge. You will be placing yourself in a vulnerable position by doing this, since you are trusting your partner that they will deliver a sturdy foundation. Of course, this requires teamwork, as you both need to build a stable connection that can support the weight of both of you. If you build a stable foundation, you won’t have to feel afraid of being vulnerable anymore because you can trust the other person to do their part in the relationship.
If you don’t build a stable foundation using your personalized skill-set, you won’t have anything to offer to the other person, because when the other person finishes their side of the bridge, the bridge will collapse if either of you attempts to cross. If your skill-set isn’t fit for building a relationship, you will be unable to deliver what your partner expects of you. Sometimes, we have to work on ourselves before we can become capable of participating in a relationship, and that’s okay.
If the foundation isn’t stable and the bridge collapses, you can use this failure as a learning experience. The great thing about knowledge is that nobody can take it away from you. After this failure, you can do some self-searching to find out what you could have done better. Therefore, you’ll be better equipped for a future relationship.
If all you do is attach to the other person out of your infatuation for them, you aren’t improving yourself, and you aren’t improving your ability to offer what you can to the world. At this point, you’re just hoping the other person will build the whole bridge for you. But, building a bridge by yourself is hard work that isn’t worth all the frustration and hardship to build, because all you did was build a bridge for someone who doesn’t appreciate your value.
How to Establish a Connection
You might be asking, “How do I establish a connection with someone in the first place? What should I say, what should I do, and what should I buy?”.
You have to think to yourself “What can I offer to this person?”. How can you use your skill-set in a relationship and how can you apply this knowledge?
If you try to aim your efforts at getting this person to like you, you’ll come off as desperate. Think of yourself as a shopkeeper. As a businessman, you can explain why your goods would be useful to them when they inquire, but it’s ultimately up to the customer to determine if your goods will be sold or not. If you’re too aggressive, you’ll make the customer uncomfortable and push them away.
If this person has already approached you, you don’t have to feel scared of not being good enough because if they decided that they didn’t like you, they wouldn’t have given you a chance in the first place. In Whisper of the Heart, all Seiji had done to gain Shizuku’s interest is present what he had to offer. He attempted to gain her affection or change himself to be fit for her liking.
If the person you’re interested in really likes you, all you’ll have to do is present what you have to offer. If you can prove that you have good relationship-building skills, self respect, and take responsibility for your actions, you’ll be seen as more valuable. If the person likes what they see, they’ll purchase your goods. If they don’t, that doesn’t necessarily reflect you. Sometimes it just means that you aren’t what they’re for in a relationship.
Now that we know how this process works we can talk about how to optimize your communication skills, to increase your ability to present your goods.
When you’re asking about their interests, it would be a very bad idea to agree with everything they say and gravitate to all of their interests. Even if it’s with good intentions, you’ll come off as fake and desperate. You want to present a truthful image of yourself. If your partner is questioning if you’re being truthful with your words, they probably won’t see you as a worthy potential partner. Remember, these are things that this person holds close to their heart, so please take them seriously. Don’t make them regret opening up to you.
Only ask questions that you actually care about the answer to. It would be a waste of time to ask a question just for the sake of conversation. That’s okay for small talk at the beginning of a date, but if you want to learn more about this person, you’re going to have to make your questions count. For example, you can ask them questions about the ideas and philosophies that they value most.
If somebody is interested in ocean exploration, you won’t be trying to figure out why ocean exploration would be interesting. Let’s be honest, everyone has at least a moderate amount of interest in what exists in the empty void of the ocean that we haven’t discovered.
You’re trying to figure out what ocean exploration means to them. Maybe they had a childhood experience with a dolphin and they’ve been in love with the ocean ever since. Maybe they were a victim of a shark attack and want to learn more about sharks to prevent further attacks on humans. Maybe they grew up living next to a large body of water and just naturally became fascinated with marine life, and want to learn as much about the ocean as they possibly can.
If you begin to show genuine interest in their passions, they won’t regret opening up to you because they know that you have an honest enthusiasm towards the emotions that drive them. If you offer the best version of yourself then you’ll have nothing to fear. Just remember that nobody is going to be perfect. Imperfections are what make us who we are and are reflections of our uniqueness. Don’t ever be afraid that you’re not good enough. You won’t know if you’re not ready for a relationship until you suffer from a break up that was caused by the consequences of your actions. Traumatic events like these are how we learn to be better, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail.
The Cat Returns
You could also equate relationship-building and self love techniques to Baron’s metaphor for making tea. It’s your special blend that only you know how to make. Sometimes you’re going to meet many people that aren’t going to enjoy the taste of your tea, and that’s okay.
If you can find the right person who will appreciate your blend, even when you make bad batches, you’ve found someone who you can spend the rest of your life with.
Your tea isn’t going to be appreciated by everyone. No matter how much you polish your ability to write, paint, or play basketball, some people just aren’t going to appreciate your blend of tea, and that doesn’t necessarily reflect you, it just means that they have a very particular taste.
Your relationship-building skills and your ability to build a sturdy foundation will only come into play once you find someone who enjoys the taste of your tea. All relationships start with a mutual interest. In the beginning phases of a relationship, both parties are trying to figure out if they are comfortable with living with this blend of tea for a long time. If you knew that you were going to be drinking only one beverage for a long time, you’d pick something that has a taste that won’t grow stale on you.
Sometimes you’re going to find someone who’s going to let you down, and sometimes you’re going to find people that will grow tired of your blend and move on.
I understand that losing someone you love is painful since you were shattered during your vulnerability. The only way you can truly love someone is if you embrace this person despite the unpredictable void of darkness that lies ahead of you. If you don’t feel safe opening up to this person after you’ve started building a sturdy foundation, it may be best for both of you to part ways.
Sometimes when your gut tells you that this person is going to hurt you, it’s an intuition that you have to trust. Our brains are conditioned to notice patterns in human behavior. If your gut tells you that this person is no good, it may be likely that you’ve subconsciously noticed a pattern in their behavior that is suspicious, and it might be worth investigating.
Don’t let any of this deter you from opening up to someone you genuinely like. Remember that you won’t ever learn anything in life until you have a problem that requires you to learn about something to solve it. Making mistakes and being let down is what makes life so amazing. If you open up to someone and you find someone who truly loves your blend of tea for what it is, you won’t have to worry about being vulnerable to this person ever again.
These films hold a special place in my heart, and although I’ve already talked about them extensively, there’s still more and more I learn from them every day. Human relationships give us the opportunities to evolve that don’t exist in traditional practices of self-love. Even if our vulnerability is taken advantage of when we open up to someone, we can always rest easy knowing that we can use this traumatic experience as an opportunity to grow and learn more about our relationship-building skills.
I understand that I have talked about these films a lot. I also understand that most of you are used to variety when it comes to the content I post. However, I can’t ignore the feelings that are inside of me. I use writing as a form of expression, and I incorporate everything that I’m feeling at the time into my writing. I promise you that I am doing well, and that you can expect much more diverse content in the future. I write about movies to show the world what we can learn from them. If a movie I love has a lot to offer, I’m going to devote more of my time to discuss it. These two films really mean a lot to me, and all I want to do is share that passion with all of you, because that’s where true happiness belongs, in the hearts of the people you love.
God bless my friends!