Actually — there’s really only one
1. Making our happiness dependent on other people
And anything they say, do, feel or think — rather than ourselves.
I’m not suggesting that other people’s measures don’t matter — they do. I care deeply what my partner thinks and feels, for example. His happiness adds to mine; his unhappiness detracts from it.
But my happiness is not dependent on anything he says or does. 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 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 (and 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 shitty interpersonal things
Unhappy people constantly need to reassess: who’s doing what, who’s better, who’s worse, who’s making progress, who’s fucking up.
Happy people dgaf. They don’t get off on 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
It’s not our parents’ fault. It’s not our friends’ fault. Or our boss’s fault. Or the market’s fault. Or our partner’s fault. It’s not about the weather or our health or how much money or time we think we have.
Guaranteed, people have done more with less than what you have.
Stop making it about anyone else
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.
2. 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.
God, I hate excuses. They are by far one of the things that piss me off most, and something I have zero tolerance for in my personal and professional life. Little enrages me more than when someone not only fucks up, but promptly launches into some fucking bullshit sob story about why. Everyone has shit. Everyone has the same 24 hours. Either make it happen or stfu.
Don’t humor bullshit — not from others, and definitely from yourself.
Stop hanging on the past — and holding on to baggage
We all have shit. Life isn’t 100% awesome all the time for anyone. We all have experienced unfortunate things; things that might not have been fair. Things we cling still dictating our lives. Let it go.
Don’t water dead flowers. Don’t weigh yourself down. Let go of things when they longer serve you or make you better.
Stop shit you don’t even like — or actually makes you feel worse
Earlier this year, I said “no” to everything in my life that wasn’t working — a city, a company I’d started, and a partner of two years. Six months later, I am 100% happier for it.
I live a minimal lifestyle — everything I own, apart from the bike, could easily fit in a car. And as anyone who leads a minimal lifestyle could tell you:
“If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.”
That’s as true in life as it is for shit.
Kirsten Corley wrote,
“If something isn’t making you happy, you are robbing yourself of the chance 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 will 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 asses 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…” 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.
Opportunity comes to those who aren’t sitting on their ass. And if the opportunity you want isn’t coming to you, go get it or create your own if you have to.
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 wellbeing, 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.