When that particular person walks into a room and everyone lights up and gravitates to her, we know she’s one. A free-spirit. A moonchild. A happy person. In today’s days of pessimistic politics, mental health disorders and stressful career and family life, it often takes a sighting of one of these infectious happy people for us to pause and take stock of our own lives. So what is it about these people that make them happy?
Is it something they do, or something they don’t do?
Perhaps it’s just the seven things that truly happy people don’t care for that keep them smiling and high on life itself.
1. What other people think
Truly happy people wander through life, sometimes aimlessly, oftentimes pursuing a different dream or goal from one day to the next. For you or me that might mean stress and anxiety, but to the truly happy person, this flight of fancy is no big deal. Why? Because they don’t care what other people think. Honestly, don’t care. Their internal schema of who they are is so sound, they don’t need a voice from the outside to shape them or shake them.
2. Making mistakes
The aimless path that truly happy people sometimes drift along can lead to mistakes. Perhaps investing in the frozen yogurt business was not the best decision given the sudden unseasonable cold snap that has descended this year. Oh well, it was a mistake, they lost some savings, but they will move on. Truly happy people make mistakes and accept them. They don’t let themselves be defined by their mistakes and govern their futures.
Have you ever been asked to do something by a truly happy person and had to respond negatively? “Come to the party Saturday night, it will be amazing!” You agonized for days and finally had to say, “No, I’m actually busy that day.” Then to your surprise and indignation, the truly happy person hugs you, smiles and says, “No problems, next time!” This type of rejection would crush most of us, but the truly happy person takes rejection in her stride. She understands that life can’t always be smooth, so she expects the bumps in the road and rolls right on over the top of them.
4. The past or the future
Most of us spend so much time dwelling in the past over mistakes made or regrets about the path not taken, or else worrying about what could be in the future. The truly happy person lives only in the now. She breezes through life, most likely going from paycheque to paycheque and is satisfied and happy, content in the knowledge that life will work itself out.
5. Comparisons or envy
How many times have you looked at what your neighbors or co-workers have and felt that bitter ball of envy lodge in your stomach? How often do you morosely compare yourself with the supermodel on page four of Glamour magazine? The truly happy person is content with herself for exactly who she is and what she has. She doesn’t feel envy and knows there is no point in comparing herself to friends or neighbors; what you see on the outside looking in might not necessarily be the reality.
6. Societal norms
We often get stuck in the rut of getting up, going to work, having a family, paying bills, squash on Thursday nights with Tina… you know the rut. It’s the rut of societal norms. Fitting in. Carving a life based on what is the ‘done thing’. You often find however that truly happy people live to the beat of their own drum. Truly happy people tend to follow their passions and dreams and don’t care if they break societal norms.
7. Material possessions
There is wisdom to the old well-used proverbs. ‘Money can’t buy you happiness’ is one such adage trotted out when we can’t afford something, usually as a means to make ourselves feel better. Truly happy people though tend to live to this maxim. They know that having plentiful money to purchase enough material possessions to keep up with the Jones’ requires fitting in with societal norms, often at the detriment of their dreams and happiness.
So is it that truly happy people walk a freer path and choose to give away the pursuits of a ‘normal’ life for the sake of happiness? Or is it that forsaking our hard-wired social norms and pursuit of wealth is what will turn us all into truly happy people? You decide.
About The Author:
Marcus Clarke has a degree in psychology, a masters degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organizations. He started Psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bite-size, meaningful and helpful resources that are interesting and insightful and often help people on the right track to improving their lives.
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