Recently someone asked me a powerful question: why are you so happy? In the moment, I wasn’t totally sure what to say, and I fumbled through the answer. Afterward, though, the question stuck with me. Why exactly am I so happy? What is it about me that allows me to be happy most of the time?
Upon reflection and self-examination, I realized that it came down to a few important factors. At its core, my happiness is two-fold. Part of it comes from how I treat myself. The other part of it comes from how I treat and interact with other people. All of it, though, comes down to me taking responsibility for my experience in life. That means that my happiness is up to me and no one else. No one else is responsible for me or how I feel. I take that on and take active steps to maintain my happiness.
Let’s start with how I interact with people and how that contributes to my happiness level overall. To start with, I’m very tolerant of other people. I accept them as they are, and I don’t try to change them. I certainly don’t spend time wishing they were different. That’s a surefire recipe for unhappiness.
Accepting what is – accepting reality as it currently stands – is another key to my happiness level. Again, I don’t wish situations were different. I don’t spend time wanting what I don’t have. If I want to change or improve something, I come up with a plan to make it so. I don’t sit around wishing and lamenting. Accepting reality as it is goes a long way to contributing to my happiness levels.
Another thing I do, that concerns other people and things that are beyond my control, is that I take it all at face value. I don’t spend time reading into stuff or trying to figure out why this thing (whatever is it) is trying to make my life miserable. I take it as it is. I have accepted that the world does not revolve around me and not everything that happens in this world happens to me. Things just happen. Sometimes life sucks. I don’t spend my time reading into what other people do, and I avoid over-analyzing how it might be about me. I take things at face value and treat people accordingly.
You may have noticed that surrender is a critical part of this. I don’t mean surrender as in “giving up” or “yielding to” someone else. What I mean by surrender is being accepting of what I am faced with and having the strength and courage to let that go. I have let go of quite a bit in my life. I don’t feel the need to control or change people. I don’t feel the need to influence people or get them to see things my way. Letting go of all of that has increased my happiness level 100-fold. When I stopped taking on the weight of the world and making other people’s business my own, my happiness level escalated. I was torturing myself with other people’s issues, drama, and problems, and that made me miserable.
Of course, this isn’t just about other people. Nope. This is actually more about me. How I handle myself. How I treat myself. How I love and care for myself. When I’m honest, my happiness is more about me than anyone else on this planet. That was hard for me to grasp and realize. But once I decided to own my experience and who I am, things began to click into place. Happiness materialized.
The first thing that helped me to be happier in life was to get honest with myself. I stopped lying to myself or denying how I felt about things. There’s nothing more detrimental to one’s self than lying to the self. Once I started being honest with myself, my quality of life increased. When I started paying attention to and giving myself what I needed and wanted, that had a huge positive impact on me. Really, it was the game changer that I so desperately needed.
Being honest with myself led me to realize that I was in need of more self-care. The more time and effort I’ve spent on self-care, the better off I’ve been. I take the time to give my body and mind what it wants and needs. Being better attuned to what’s really going on in my mind allows me to slow down and listen to the messages my body and mind have been sending me for years. A well developed, healthy self-care routine has been critical to my happiness.
Finally, the last key for me in this happiness thing is that I meet myself where I am. I’m not perfect. Far from it. But I accept that. That’s part of me meeting myself where I am. I accept myself as both an imperfect and whole human being. The two can mutually exist. One is actually possible (being whole), but the other isn’t (being perfect). Accepting myself where I am and acknowledging the reality of who I am has helped me to love myself more and have more compassion for myself. In turn, this has made me a happier person. Knowing that I’m loved and appreciated by myself makes me happy.
So, what about you? I’ve been trying to not make these blog posts all about me, but I felt that telling this story from my perspective can help you find and connect with your own happiness. I offer these experiences as a way to help you shift your own paradigm, should that shift be wanted or needed in your life.
To find happiness in your own life, consider the following:
- Be accepting and/or tolerant of others.
- Accept what is. Don’t fight reality. Make an action plan to change it if you must, but don’t fight it.
- Take things at face value. Stuff happens. Life happens. Don’t make more out of things than you need to.
- Be honest with yourself about what you want and what you need.
- Take time for self-care. Invest time, effort, and resources in what your body and mind need/want.
- Meet yourself where you are. You’re not perfect and never will be. The sooner you can accept where you are in life, the happier you’ll become.
I’m interested to hear how this goes for you. Please let me know if you implement any (or all) of these techniques and how they’ve worked for you. My hope is that you’ll live a happier and more peaceful life because of it. Thanks for reading and thanks for your feedback!