Are you desperately seeking happiness but finding it elusive? Happiness is achievable. Tons of happy people are out in the world enjoying life across all economic classes, careers, ages, and races or even while enduring severe misfortune. What are their secrets and how can we feel the joy and happiness they feel every day?
Here are the 5 top secrets of truly happy people.
#1 – A Kind Outlook
Truly happy people tend to be kind. They genuinely like and respect others. Many of us distrust others, become easily annoyed by others or even hate people in general. Happy people don’t necessarily seek out the company of others. Not all of them are extroverts or see only the good in others and humanity. Instead, they appreciate the positive aspects of people and feel a genuine kindness, compassion and respect for everyone they meet.
This isn’t blindness or being naive as more misanthropic people might think. Believe me. I used to be a severe misanthrope that didn’t see people as anything but annoying idiots for the longest time. Instead, a kind outlook is simply seeing the other as the same as yourself – someone who is trying the best they can, even if it’s in the worst way possible, to find happiness and meaning in this strange world. They are striving for happiness for themselves, their families and their friends. Happy people recognized this similarity in everyone and have a profound respect toward others.
Happy people are kind people. This doesn’t mean they go out of their way to lend the shirt off their backs, donate to charitable causes, or are in the trenches on some cause. It also doesn’t mean they put up with abusive actions or condone bad acts. Simply, happy people are kind in their actions and thoughts towards others rather than aggravated, annoyed, and angry at others.
Kind people understand we aren’t perfect as a species and therefore their thoughts are more gentle and harmonious. After all, if you’re not constantly dwelling on all the bad things in others and instead accept their flaws and respect their inner humanity, you’re bound to be more peaceful and happy as an individual. As a bonus, people respond to that sincere kindness and respect and have lighter hearts themselves because they are appreciated for who they are. This makes for smoother social interactions and deeper connections with others.
#2 – Choosing Happy Thoughts
The second secret of truly happy people is in how they think. In many ways you can say they choose to be happy and have happy thoughts over unhappy thoughts. Maybe it’s always seeing a silver-lining to any situation.
For me, I used to be a miserable person who only ever saw the bad in a situation. If it was raining, I’d gripe about the rain to myself and others. If it was sunny, I’d gripe about the sun in my eye. Then I learned, like happy people know, that in such situations it’s just better to find the good in the moment. It’s going to be raining or sunny and since I can’t change it, better to be happy than miserable, right? Now when it rains, I enjoy the sound of the rain on my umbrella and how it makes the color of leaves and flowers more brilliant. On sunny days I enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face and the blue sky. It’s a simple thing but my peace and happiness has never been better.
Happy people focus on what is good in a situation or person. Again, this doesn’t mean being naive or burying their heads in the sand but happy people understand that in situations out of their control, it’s best to be cheerful rather than be miserable. Even during events under their control, it’s still a better use of time and energy.
#3 – Letting Go & Transmuting
Even happy people get frustrated, upset and depressed. Trauma and misfortune happen to everyone in varying degrees and it’s always personal. Happy people learn to let go of frustration, anger and pain in due course. They accept what can’t be changed, forgive what needs forgiving, and learn how to transmute emotions like grief, rage, resentment, betrayal, anger and pain into useful energy that will move them forward in life.
Truly happy people don’t bottle up their emotions or deny them. They express them, deal with them, overcome them, learn from them, and move forward. Many unhappy people dwell on painful memories, hold grudges, and obsess over wrongs or misfortunes. They carry it to their graves and are held hostage to strong emotions all their lives – even some 80 years after the event. Happy people take those same events and emotions, face them – even if it requires the help of others – and learn to heal so they can live an unburdened life. This doesn’t mean forgetting an event or being best buddies with someone who wronged or hurt them. Happy people have simply learned the art of turning lemons into fantastic-tasting lemonade. They come out stronger than before.
#4 – Being True to Themselves
Another secret to happy people is that they are true to themselves. They are authentically themselves, warts and all. They are not chasing someone else’s goals or ideas of success. They are pursuing their own dreams and playing their own unique game of life. This brings great internal satisfaction and fulfillment, even in the face of uncertainty or during times of adversity.
The number one regret of the dying is having lived the life that others expected of them and not the life the life they wanted for themselves. That’s a heavy burden to bear emotionally and intellectually. Happy people, by pursuing their dreams and being true to themselves, throw off that heavy weight on their souls, minds and hearts. The joy in doing what you love and working towards your dreams is exhilarating and uplifting.
Happy people don’t listen to what society says they need to be happy – what career or what education they need, the car they need to drive, the house they need to own, the spouse they should marry or the number of kids to have. Chasing external dreams and ideas about success that are not your own but belong to someone else will not lead to happiness. Happy people find what resonates with them and pursue that. They make this journey their own and appreciate its uniqueness.
#5 – Being Your Own Best Friend
One of the biggest secrets of truly happy people is that they are their own best friend. Happy people can enjoy others but they have a blast with themselves. Most of us are not friends with ourselves. Many of us hate ourselves or are constantly abusing ourselves mentally. We think we’re ugly, useless, fat, no good, dumb, unlovable, unlucky and worse. We tell ourselves this day in and day out. The stream of abuse is never ending. Drop a fork off the table and we’ll scream at ourselves for being so clumsy or stupid. We’re hardly a good friend to ourselves. After all, would we talk to our best friend that way? Hopefully not. So why do we talk that way to ourselves?
Happy people have learned to turn their mind into a good friend, one that encourages and offers useful advice instead of insults and self-defeating talk. Happy people accept their flaws and limitations – they accept that they are human, doing the best they can. Does this mean happy people are self-deluded narcissists? No. They still work on themselves but they do it in a supportive and uplifting manner.
We all have a voice in our head commenting on our actions, feelings, hopes, dreams, and the people and events around us. Happy people have an inner voice that is helpful, kind and encouraging. The rest of the world has an angry, abusive roommate in their heads that constantly puts them down, makes them doubt their abilities, encourages self-hate, and makes them fear or dislike the world and others.
Which roommate do you have? Maybe it’s time to change them.
The Happy Life
Happy people experience childhood trauma, lose their jobs and fortunes, live in poverty, have accidents, have personal setbacks, and develop terminal diseases like anyone else. The difference is in how they respond. They may mourn, cry and rage, but at the end of the day, they eventually pick themselves up, smile and move forward. They see the good in people and are genuinely kind and respectful to everyone they meet. They choose happiness over misery and have become their own best friend. Happy people are true to themselves, which leads to an empowered life of few regrets.
We can all be happy. It takes some work and it might require jettisoning ideas we have adopted about who we are and how we see things. Trust me, the peace and joy more than make up for what gets thrown away and is ultimately holding us back. Choose happiness and enjoy smiling through life.
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