Overcoming barriers to happiness
I’ve never by any means been a very unhappy person. I’m very extroverted and I love being with other people. Nevertheless, my moods have always been quite up and down. I could be perfectly happy one day and it would all come crashing down a few days later.
After a while, I realized that this kept happening because I was basing my emotional state on other people.
Let me explain what I mean. For example, I’d find out that several of my friends would be going to a party that I wasn’t invited to. Or someone would make a comment that I construed as being overly critical. Or someone would cancel on me.
I would take those kinds of situations very personally. Every time anything like that happened, I’d question myself. Did I do something wrong? Did people actually like me? Did they still want to be friends with me?
I had construed this image of myself as a reflection of how I thought others saw me. Try to wrap your head around this one. As long as I thought I was well-liked and I had a lot of friends, I felt happy. And as soon as that perception changed, I felt bad about myself.
I wasn’t doubting my abilities or personality. I just felt insecure about whether others thought I was good enough. So, I was constantly seeking validation. I think that happens to a lot of people. We crave validation from others because we don’t know how to self-validate. We don’t understand how we can create our own happiness without depending on others.
I’m Helene, the creator of the HC Lifestyle Blog,
where I share my favourite life experiences. I love writing about travel, food, fitness, and many other things.
I’m a big believer in trying to live life to the fullest, dancing, and seeing as much of the World as I can.
As soon as I realised this, I started changing my thinking patterns. This was how I started thinking:
- Everyone has their own life. Stop being so self-centered in thinking that every action or reaction is about you. It really isn’t. Someone might be having a bad day and be cranky, and that might have absolutely nothing to do with you. If you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t assume it’s about you. Offer support instead.
- Be happy on your own. Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. If no one is around, start that project, get fit, cook, get creative, travel, or just watch a film and enjoy your own company. If you feel uncomfortable doing anything by yourself, ask yourself why you’re scared of being alone with your thoughts. Then tackle that issue.
- No one is responsible for your happiness apart from you. Your friends and family have no obligation whatsoever to help you with your issues. Of course, if you ask them for help and they help you, they’re great. But don’t feel like anyone owes you their friendship, their time, or their listening ear. If you learn to tackle your own problems, you’ll become much stronger as a person.
Let me clarify something. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make friends or you shouldn’t hang out with people. Be social, hang out, have friends, but don’t become emotionally dependent on them.
If you can be in charge of your own emotions and create your own happiness, you’ll naturally attract other emotionally stable and strong people who will enhance your life. Instead of subtracting from each others’ happiness, you’ll create more happiness between you than you each possess individually. And that’s a very freeing experience.
Note from Kate: Ah… Helene is SO right. Nobody can make you happy if you are not happy alone. And that goes with love and self-love as well 🙂 I am so happy Helene let me publish this beautiful story of hers!
If you want to read more life-stories from our Team up Girls, head over here.
Otherwise see you until next time! Lots of love and Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!