I’m keeping it real today folks. Let’s talk about what really creates happiness, and what doesn’t. Kris Cage, writer for Medium, an online publishing platform, wrote an article about what we need to do away with in order to create happiness in our lives. Her thoughts were spot on. They are simple, yet we often allow them to creep in our lives and wreak havoc on us. I’ll share them here.
- Making our happiness dependent on other people
And anything they say, do, feel or think — rather than ourselves.
Cage is not suggesting that other people’s feelings or behaviors don’t matter — they do. Like she, I too care deeply about what my partner or friends think and feel. For example their happiness adds to mine; their unhappiness detracts from it.
But my happiness is not dependent on anything that they say or do. And there’s a huge difference.
The point is: what other people think of us is never more important than what we think of us. Other people’s measure of our lives is never more important than our own. And if we go through life living it for everyone else, it’s not going to end up going well.
Stop basing love of yourself on first getting love from others.
Happy people like themselves. The happiest people love themselves.
And it’s not that they like or love themselves because they’re happy — they create their own happiness by dumping emotional energy into self-care and self-respect and self-love.
Rather than looking to others to fill their bucket, they’re constantly and quietly filling it themselves — and then keeping it full. They never have to scramble or feel anxious about “getting love.” They know they will — they truly and wholly love themselves.
Stop getting nosy about everyone else’s lives.
Happy people don’t care who went on vacation and where. They don’t care whose boyfriend bought flowers, or who drives what car, or who was the first in their friend group to get married or buy a house.
It makes no difference to them — apart from a sincere happiness for the other person, without comparison or jealousy.
When we’re secure in ourselves and content in our own mission, we don’t get any kind of thrill — or jolt of envy — from comparing it to others.
The happiest people in the world don’t look at other people’s happiness (any more than they show people that they are happy.) They simply live their happy lives. They find validation within themselves, not through notifications.
Stop gossiping and doing other crappy interpersonal things.
Unhappy people constantly need to reassess: who’s doing what, who’s better, who’s worse, who’s making progress, who’s messing up.
Happy people don’t enjoy dragging people down or watching others being dragged through the mud. They don’t need to hear the dirty details — good or bad. They’re too busy living their own lives.
Stop blaming anything or anyone outside ourselves.
You may have experienced a lot of pain in your life. Maybe you’ve grown up in a home where you got a really bad deal, or you were bullied in school or harrassed at work. That is worth acknowledging, recognizing how it affected you and what you want to do about it.
It’s not our partner’s job to make us feel more loved than we love ourselves. It’s not our boss’s job to make us feel motivated and engaged at work. It’s not anyone else’s job to make us happy — except ours.
- Not taking responsibility for our own lives
Want to be happy? Then take responsibility for it. Recognize that the only thing we control in life is our own responses — and, in turn, we are the only ones who control them.
And that includes happiness. If we want to feel happy, it’s our job to see to it.
Stop making excuses.
Excuses are what we come up with when we don’t want something badly enough.
As Brene Brown says, ” Speak truth to bullshit” – to others, and definitely to yourself.
Stop hanging on the past — and holding on to baggage.
Don’t water dead flowers. Don’t weigh yourself down.
Let go of things when they no longer serve you or make you better.
Author Marie Kondo, who wrote the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organizing writes, “discard everything that does not spark joy”. She was referring to material items in your home, but de-cluttering your mind of competitive or jealous thoughts sparks freedom and joy, and makes room for your passions.
Stop doing things you don’t even like — or actually makes you feel worse
Kirsten Corley wrote, “If something isn’t making you happy, you are robbing yourself of the change to pursue something that does. When you find that thing give it your all. Happiness will follow doing what you love. And doing what you love with lead to success.”
If it’s not making you happy, move on.
Get out of your comfort zone
You want something? Go out there and get it. Try something new, do something different.
Unhappy people sit in their sameness — same house, same city, same car, same job, same partner — and expect happiness to just magically come to them.
Happy people get off their rears and go get it. They push. They try.
Stop waiting for life to start happening.
Waiting for that person to text you. Waiting to lose weight. Waiting to get married, or have babies. Waiting for a big break. Waiting for life to happen.
Stop hanging happiness on the future — and thinking you’ll be happy when… (fill in the blank). Don’t tie your happiness up in the future.
Have goals, sure, but make them independent of happiness. Make happiness about the pursuit — not the acquisition. Your life is happening right now and you don’t know how many days you have. It’s your job to learn how to make the most of average days.
If the opportunity you want isn’t coming to you, go get it or create your own if you have to.
Glennon Doyle Melton, one of my personal heroes, says, “Pain is just a sign that a lesson is coming. Discomfort is purposeful. It is there to teach you what you need to know so you can become who you were meant to be. Pain is just a traveling professor. When pain knocks on the door, wise ones breathe deep and say: “Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.”
We are responsible for ourselves —and that includes our happiness. It’s our job and our job alone to make things happen, to nurture our well being, to feel loved, and to feel happy.
Want happiness? Stop making it about anything else outside of you — other people, partners, jobs, illness, wealth, time, etc. Instead, embrace the incredible opportunity that is: it’s 100% within our control and you deserve it just because you exist.
Are you feeling stuck in unhappiness? Let’s make a plan for you to feel empowered and have some direction. Contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.