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Today I want to talk about happiness. I truly believe in the idea that we create our own happiness. When we think happy thoughts, we create a happy life. Now, I am not some positive lunatic that thinks everything in life is rainbows and lollipops. I do understand that some days it is hard to slap a smile on your face and show up to the happiness parade, BUT, I also believe, if you want to live a happy life, than you need to create that happiness yourself. Happiness will never just find you. If you go through life with the mentality that there is a rain cloud looming over your head, and that nothing good ever happens to you, than guess what, nothing good will ever happen to you.
If you choose to look at everything in a negative way, constantly picking apart every little thing, and judging everyone around you, than you will never be a happy person. If you do not want to make the necessary actions to change your life from constant negativity than, you will probably never be a happy person. But if you begin to recognize that you are in control of your mood, your energy, and your outlook on life, and you want to begin to take the steps to achieving a positive outlook, than you can indeed become a positive and happy person.
The most important statement in the previous paragraph is that we have total control over our own mood, energy, and outlook on life. This is SO important to remember. We may not be able to have full control over the environment, or what is happening around us, but we have 100% control over our own reaction and how we let it affect us.
Okay so now that I rambled on forever, let’s get to what I promised in the post’s title shall we? Here are 10 things I believe happy people do differently, which in return, is what allows them to be happy people:
ONE: They Give up Their Need for Control
I touched on this first point a little bit earlier in this post, but I think it is one of the most important factors to accomplishing a positive and happy mindset. You will never have control over the world around you; what others do or say, the economy, the mean customer service lady, the other drivers on the road, the weather, death, or other people’s opinions of you. You will never have control over any of those things. But you do have 100% control over how you react to them, how they make you feel, and what you do when you are faced with any of the above.
For example: You plan a great day outdoors with your significant other, but on the day of plans, you wake up and it is raining. You can do 2 things: sulk about it, than take it out on your partner because now you are grumpy and annoyed and feeling sorry for yourself, hence ruining everyone’s day even more. OR, you can compromise, and change your plans to accommodate the rain, and still have a kick ass day together, which in reality is what was the most important anyways.
Life is what your make it.
TWO: They Do Not Play the Comparison Game
Comparison can be a happiness thief if we let it. There is nothing wrong with looking up to others, having role models, or being motivated by others, but the problems come into play when we start to feel badly about ourselves due to comparison.
There is nothing worse than feeling great about something in your life, and then seeing another person has done the same thing, only in your eyes theirs is ten times better. In reality it may not be better at all, but when comparing ourselves to others we tend to see all the best aspects of the other person and all the worst aspects of ourselves.
Here is the thing, there is always going to be someone doing the same or similar things as you, and there is always going to be comparison. The difference is all in how you use that comparison. You can use it for good: to build yourself up, use that person as a mentor, use it as motivation to do better, use it to set your own realistic goals. Or you can use it for bad: let it get inside your head, let it make you feel bad about your own work or self, let it deter you and make you feel that you will never be good enough, or worst of all, let it push you to quit.
The trick I use when I start to feel overwhelmed by comparison is as follows: If I am on another blog I love it and I find myself comparing my own blog to the blog I am browsing, I do two things: first I jot down a quick list of everything I like about the site that is making me envious, and then I leave. I remove myself from the situation with positive and actionable things I can change on my own site, and I let go of that comparison before it can make me feel badly about myself.
Do not let comparison steal your happiness.
THREE: They Give Up Their Need to Impress Others
When you learn to live your life for yourself, and yourself only, you will find a whole new type of happiness. I have always been the type of person to put every other person before myself. I have done this in relationships, in friendships, and with my family. What I mean by this is you let their opinions and their ideas of what life is supposed to look like, impact your own life.
When someone you love laughs at your dreams, you can let that crush your dreams and quit, or you can take their opinion with a grain of salt and remind yourself that not everyone in your life will always agree with everything that you choose to do. While feedback is great, in the end it is your life, and you can live it however the hell you want to.
I have been in relationships where I have made drastic life changes in order to benefit my partner. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that is always a bad thing. Sometimes in life we have to make sacrifices in order to make our relationships work, but what I am talking about it this: You decide you want to take 6 months off and travel, but when you tell your significant other, they shoot down the idea and tell you you are being irresponsible, and that you should be focused on building your career. So, you can do two things here, live the life you want to live, or live the life your partner decided for you. If you stay and focus on your career, will you regret it, will you come resent your partner, and most importantly will you be happy? If you go, will the relationship end because you decided to be your own person? and again, will it make you happy?
I have some advice, if a relationship in your life ends (romantic, or otherwise) because you made your own choices and were your own person, than you are 100% better off without that relationship in your life.
Live your own life, be your own person.
FOUR: They are Grateful for What They Have
Happy people are grateful for what they already have in their life. They do not dwell on what they don’t have or constantly think their lives could be a little better if they just had “xyz”. They let go of that “grass is always greener” mentality and adopt the “grass is greener where you water it” mentality instead.
I recently started practicing gratitude in my own life on a daily basis (I have this awesome planner which contains a “daily gratitude” section). It is amazing how much of an impact simply reflecting on what you are grateful for, can have on your life. It reminds you that life is pretty great and also changes your view of life to a positive one.
There are really no negative side effects to incorporating gratitude into your life. Be grateful.
*Need some help getting started? Check out this post: 15 Ways Gratitude Improves Your Life
FIVE: They Set & Commit to Their Goals
Setting goals is such an important aspect of a happy life, in my opinion. When you set realistic and achievable goals on a continuous basis, you have something to work towards and you have a purpose to get up everyday. Setting goals helps you realize what is important to you and also shows you where your priorities lie, it also keeps you accountable and on the right path to achieving the things you want to achieve and strive for in life.
I try to set goals every month to improve myself and hold myself accountable for achieving what I want. I also use monthly goals to strive toward my overall larger goals in life.
Want a free goal setting guide? Check out this post: 3 Ways Goal Setting Can Improve Your Life
SIX: They Learn to Forgive and Move Forward
Holding a grudge or holding on to anger toward another person is hurting you more than it will ever hurt the other person. Do not burden yourself with anger and negative emotions toward someone else. It is not always easy to forgive, but forgiveness will give you the ability to move forward in a positive direction.
There is nothing worse than someone bashing their ex 2 years after they’ve broken up. Clearly that person is still hung up on the whole situation and they are letting it diminish their own happiness. The ex has probably moved on, and probably doesn’t care or even know that the person has not forgiven them, so what is the point in holding onto that anger?
If you want to carry around resentment and anger, I am sorry to tell you, you will have a hard time being happy. It is when we make a conscious decision to forgive for the sake of our own happiness, that we can begin to move forward. Do not forgive someone for their benefit, forgive them for your own benefit, and then be done with it and move on.
I have a hard time letting things go especially when someone has betrayed my trust, but here is the options I have: 1) Allow that person to stay in my life but never truly express how I feel and let the feelings of anger and betrayal eat away at me slowly, never truly forgiving, and ruining the relationship regardless. 2) Say what I need to say, express how the situation made me feel, and then forgive the person, and move on — by move on I mean let it go 100%, do not bring it up at another time during another fight, choose to fully let it go. Or 3) Decide that the betrayal is too much, remove that person from my life completely because I know it is for the best, but still forgive them, not because they deserve it, but for the sake of my own happiness, and then I can choose to let it go and move on. Number 1 gets me no where, trust me, this use to be my go to method. So depending on the situation I recommend number 2 or number 3, they work much better.
You do not have to continue to like the person, you do not have to keep that person in your life, but you do have to choose to let it go and move forward if you want to be happy.
SEVEN: They Do Not Dwell on The Past
Unless you know something I don’t know, we cannot change the past. Sure it is nice to live by the motto “live with no regrets”, but let’s face it there is probably one or two things you would have liked to change or have done without in your past. We have all had that horrible relationship, that embarrassing moment, or made a wrong decision, but guess what, we can’t do anything about! What we can do is look at it as a wonderful life lesson, and carry on.
I like to look at my whole life as a journey with certain experiences pushing me toward exactly where I am supposed to be. Sure I made some wrong turns, and there were some pit stops along the way I probably could have done without, but ultimately I ended up here, and right now, I am okay with that. Through my mistakes, I have learned some very valuable life lessons, so I’ll take it.
Do not dwell on something you cannot change, it literally will have no positive impact on your life. Instead, use your past as a form of reflection, learn from it, and move forward as a wiser person with more experience, into the next chapter of your life.
EIGHT: They Do Not Blame Others
Have you ever noticed, that often times, when faced with a mistake or a conflict, people almost immediately look for someone else to blame. You are 10 minutes late and your manager confronts you and instead of just accepting the fact that you were, indeed late, and apologizing, you launch into a whole excuse about the driver in front of you and the traffic, and blah blah. Or, you started a new healthy eating plan and you tell your girlfriends about it, but on day 5 they invite you out for ice cream and you cave, later when you feel guilty about it, you blame your friends for not being supportive when in reality they probably forgot all about your new eating plan AND it was ultimately your choice to buy the ice cream.
We often deflect blame on to others to make ourselves feel better or to pull the attention away from ourselves, but what is that accomplishing? Until we realize that our choices will always be just that, OUR choices, it will be hard to make any real progress or life changes.
Sometimes just accepting your mistake and choosing to learn from it, instead of denying it ever happen, is the best thing you can do. Taking responsibility for our own actions helps us grow as people, and it helps us become more self-aware, which can ultimately improve our happiness.
NINE: They Don’t Give in to Negative Self Talk and Self Doubt
The dreaded crusher of dreams and happiness: negative self-talk. When we give into that little voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough to chase our dreams, we are crushing any chance of ever achieving them. It will always be there, trying to get in the way, but it is up to you to push past it and change your thoughts to positive ones. Remind yourself that you are capable of doing great things, you are smart enough, and you are a bad ass, god dammit!
Do you ever notice that little negative voice seems to appear when things are getting hard or when you are faced with a challenge? It creeps in and give you the perfect excuse to quit. Do. not. take. the. excuse!!!!!!!! That is what it wants you to do, don’t let it win!!!
It is so easy to shut down when things get hard, or when you’re faced with a challenge, but it is so important that you push past all the doubts and persevere! Remind yourself why you started, set your achievable goals, brainstorm, and most of all remind yourself how awesome you are. Make a list of the reasons you want to accomplish that specific goal or task, and when your self-doubt is creeping in, pull out that list and remind yourself how important it is.
*Need more tips on overcoming self-doubt and negative self-talk? Check out this post.
TEN: They Don’t Resist Change
Change is inevitable. Life is forever changing and we cannot always plan for what life has in store. When we embrace the changes and use them to our advantage rather than fighting against them or complaining about them, we can grow and develop.
Happy people are adaptable people, they can adapt to new situations and sudden changes and they can use change as a learning opportunity. Also, people who enjoy self-development and personal growth tend to embrace change because they recognize that in order to grow and develop as a person, we may need to change our thoughts, mind, and situations.
A quote that comes to mind is as follows: “One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain“. People will dwell on all the negatives instead of recognizing the potential positives. Or they will live in complete denial, not ever acknowledging that they need to change in order to become a better version of themselves.
Embrace change, it may just bring you something amazing. It may just bring you happiness!
Happiness is Your Choice
Ultimately, you decide if you want to be happy. It really is as easy as that. We control our thoughts, and if you choose to think positively, than you are choosing to live a positive and happy life. If you choose to always look at the glass half empty, than sorry, but that will reflect in your life.
I believe I can talk so openly and honestly about this topic because at one point in my life I was that negative person. I blamed other people and outside situations for my unhappiness, I felt sorry for myself and I constantly judged others because I was insecure about my own problems. But than something great happen, I embraced change, and that change made me realize I am not a passenger in my life journey, I am the driver. I started to realize that I am in control of my life, and if I am unhappy, than I need to make the necessary changes to fix that. So I did. I ended a relationship that should have ended many times, I moved in with a friend, I went back to school, and I started a great new relationship full of support and new adventures. Those changes sent me on a path to self-discovery, I started to find out who I was, what I enjoyed, and what I wanted out of life. I stopped living my life for others and I became my own person. I stopped dwelling on past mistakes and I moved forward. Those changes led me to where I am toady, which is happy and loving life!
I hope you can embrace happiness as well and that some of these tips resonate with you in a big way. You’re in charge of your own happiness, so grab it by the horns and hold on!
Do you have any other tips on achieving happiness? What things have you let go of on your journey to happiness? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Xx
More from A2A:
The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Best Self