This is one of the Media’s favorite paths to happiness.  If you can only find love, true love, you’ll find happiness.  Of course, Media is also filled with the abject misery that falling in love can bring, as represented in big-screen films, newspaper stories, reality shows, magazine articles, and weekly sitcoms.

Love and its promises are a huge media business.  Media promises love conquers all and then makes sure you are aware of love’s colossal failures.  Sensitive to your confusion and natural apprehension, Media then produces reams of information on how to find love, how to be in love, how to maintain love, how to avoid the wrong kids of love, how to get over broken love, and how to find love again.

Relationships and the love they bring are a source of great happiness.  I can say this wholeheartedly as a husband and father.  The false promise, however, comes when just being in love or just being in a relationship is sold as the road to happiness.  The unspoken threat is that you cannot be happy unless you are in love and in a relationship.  The pressure, then, to get on with it, to fall in love and be in a relationship, is huge.

This pressure, of course, is also right alongside the pressure and promise of happiness in education and career.  So, according to Media, in order to hedge your happiness bets, you should be simultaneously pursuing education, career, and relationship.  I’m not sure about the happiness part, but thais looks like a recipe for stress!

Relationships, just taken on their own, are often stressful enough.  When you add the unspoken expectation that this person, this relationship, is supposed to make you truly happy, it’s an invitation for failure and disappointment.  If you thought your career  was a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” proposition, it’s nothing compared to being in a relationship where you partner looks to you to bring him or her happiness all the time.  I don’t know anything who can pull off that kind of miracle.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.