There’s no one secret to being happy, no magic formula, no constant equation or pattern to follow that always results in happiness. However, there are some changes that many people could make that negatively effect their happiness level. Here’s how to stop letting other people affect yours.
- Let go of any expectations you have for others. Expectations are the root of heartache, disappointment, and ultimately of unhappiness. The best way to stop letting other people directly affect your happiness is to let go of any expectations you have for them. I know it’s a lot easier said than don, but like any habit, the more you actively try, the more it comes naturally.
- Get comfortable with doing things alone. If there’s something that you want to do, do it even if no one’s around to go with you. It can be kind of intimidating to go out to a bar alone or go for a hike alone but it’s healthy to be able to do things that you like by yourself. You may even find that you enjoy doing these things solo. If you are comfortable with doing things alone, you’re less likely to get upset or annoyed if someone cancels plans with you. Also, if you don’t need someone else’s company to go and do something fun, you’ll start doing more things that make you happy in because the only schedule you have to work around is your own.
- When someone hurts you, instead of getting upset, try to understand them. Of course, the natural reaction to your friend blowing off the plans you’ve had for weeks or the guy you’re seeing ditching dinner with you for last minute game tickets is anger, frustration, and sadness. It takes practice to look at these kind of situations from the other person’s point of view, but if you can understand why it happened, you can then try to understand the situation instead of getting angry over it. Don’t let people take advantage of you, but also try not to let other people’s decisions affect your mood for the day.
- Remind yourself that not everyone is going to treat you the way you treat them. It would be nice if the world worked this way, but sometimes people will let you down if you expect them to treat you the way that you’d treat them. If you’re feeling unhappy because you feel like your loved ones don’t give as much as they take, remember that everyone gets distracted and may have things going on that you’re unaware of. If you feel neglected, instead of letting it make you unhappy, take the energy that you normally give to other people and use it to take care of yourself.
- Put yourself and your needs first and don’t feel bad about it. It is not selfish to put yourself first and make your happiness a priority. You don’t have to be an a-hole and stop caring about other people that you love, either. Stop agreeing to plans that you aren’t really interested in, don’t go out drinking just because your friends want to if you feel like staying in, and don’t do something only because you’re worried about disappointing someone else.
- Do things that you actually like to do, not just something you want a picture of for Instagram. I’ll admit that there are things that I’ve spent time and money on that I wasn’t really interested in doing just to take a cool picture for Instagram or post about it on social media. Even when I’m doing something I absolutely love, like going to a concert or to the beach, I find myself spending a lot of time taking pictures for Instagram or Facebook, or Snapchatting it. You might find that you’re happier with your experiences if you put your phone down, stop looking for validation from others, and simply enjoy being in that moment.
- Don’t stay in relationships that are draining. This means both friendships and romantic relationships. If the relationship is causing you pain, stress, anger, frustration or sadness, it’s not worth it. While you need to be primarily responsible for your own happiness, you also need to let go of any relationships that are consistent obstacles for your happiness.
- Remind yourself that no matter what you do, people will have something to say. So, you might as well do what’s best for you and what’s going to make you the happiest. Life is too short to let the opinions of other people or the fear of what people will say stop you from doing what makes you happy.
- Make this your new life motto: “I’m responsible for my own happiness, so you’re off the hook.” And repeat it to yourself every day, as often as needed. It will take effort and be a conscious choice at first, but the more that you say it, the more you’ll start to really, truly believe it. I really believe that your happiness is directly related to what kind of thoughts you feed yourself.