When asked what they want from counselling, clients often say, “I just want to be happy, how can I be happy?” So often in life we are striving for happiness and seem to get knocked off that path by other people and the effect their actions have on us. You can only control your own thinking and your own behaviour. Happiness is different to everyone, but a good place to start, is to remove problems from our thinking that impact our happiness.
Here are some tips to stop letting other people affect you.
1. Don’t take everything personally.
We have a habit of making ourselves the centre of the universe and every action by other people is somehow about us. It’s not all about you!! Sometimes people behave badly, just because they do. It actually has nothing to do with you and it is completely their personality and their behaviour. Chances are, if they are rude to you, then they are rude to most people. Let it go.
2. Don’t take everything seriously.
Life is meant to be fun – yes it can be hard work at times but it doesn’t always need to be so serious. I have a rule to decide if I need to stress and worry about a problem, or just go with it. The question I ask myself is “Will it matter in a year? Will I even remember this problem the same time next year?” If the answer is “no”, then deal with it calmly and let it go. That flat tyre on the way to work is annoying, but it’s hardly worth being unhappy over and chances are you won’t think about it in a few days.
I see many people who put so much emphasis on small problems in their lives, but when they put it in perspective, they are able to look for solutions instead of just at the problem and get on with it. It’s hard to be happy when you are taking everything so seriously.
3. Don’t engage in problems if you don’t need to.
We spend so much time reacting to others, that we get involved in their problems and make them ours. If someone chooses to have an argument with you, and it is not worth it, do you really need to put the energy into it by reacting? Don’t engage if you don’t have to – let it roll on past you.
4. Don’t let other people’s actions dictate yours.
Own your reactions and behaviour. If somebody else chooses to behave poorly, you don’t need to react badly as well. Be yourself and act according to your own rules, don’t let others change who you are because you need to react to their behaviour. Does it really matter that your Aunt was rude the other day?
5. Say what you need to say.
This can be really hard for people to do and often when somebody upsets us, we stew on it and take it out on other people. Sometimes it is better to tell that person that you don’t like their actions or words and leave it at that. Be calm and polite about it, but still say what is on your mind rather than replaying it in your head over and over later and getting worked up over it.
6. Don’t expect everyone else to behave as you would.
We all have our own internal rules and a dialogue that goes on in our head. Often when someone acts differently to what we would do in the same situation, we get angry and think how they ‘should’ behave. This isn’t going to change the situation, it will only make you angry or upset. Tell yourself that you wouldn’t act that way, but it isn’t your choice and then let it go.
A great example of this is when driving. Another driver cuts us off and we think, “they shouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t do that”. Then we get angry and focus on that. Is it worth your anger? You can’t change their behaviour so let it go.
7. Be accepting of others.
This goes hand in hand with the last point. We are all raised differently and have different life experiences. Naturally this determines a lot of our values and behaviours. Just because you would act a certain way in a situation, doesn’t mean everyone else will. You don’t always know what is going on in someone else’s life at that time. Accept that we are different and look to managing your own behaviour, nobody else’s.
8. Don’t blame your partner.
This is particularly relevant when we are mixing with our partner’s family and friends. If one of their family members or friends treats us in a way we don’t like, rather that dealing with it ourselves, we blame it on our partner and get angry at them. They are not responsible for other people’s behaviour either so don’t take it out on them. That is not to say that they shouldn’t stick by you or stand up for you, but pick the battles that you feel they should be involved in and let the rest go, or speak up for yourself.
9. Make a choice to be happy.
The saying is that happiness is a choice and this can be true a lot of the time. Sure there are events in life that we can’t smile through, but most of us let the little things get in the way of our happiness. If you don’t feel happy, smile. It is really hard to stay sad when you put a smile on your face. It feels strange, but try it, smile right now for no reason at all.
10. Enjoy life today.
We often think, if I just had that new car, or the fantastic partner, the pay rise, or the wonderful holiday, I’d be happy. Stop waiting to be happy and be happy today. At this moment you only have today so look around and see what is good about it. Too often we have some goal in life that we feel will make us happy and we are always waiting for that to happen. Most of the time when we get there, we set the next goal that will make us happy. And so we go on waiting….
Life is full of challenges and there are times when you feel it will never get better or you will never be happy. You can be happy, you just need to choose to want that and then do something about it. Letting go of what we can’t control, such as other people and their actions, can be such an easy way of finding a greater level of peace in your life. Control what you can and what you need to, and let the rest go right on past. Focus on you. Pick one thing from the list above and try putting it into action in your day. Chances are you will feel happier for it.
If you’re striving for happiness and want to be happy with your live, feel free to call me on 0468 950 420 for a FREE 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs and find out how I can help you or press BOOK NOW button to find my available appointment and schedule an online booking.