How can I be happy is a difficult question to answer when you can’t ever recall a time in your life when you’ve been happy, and I mean really happy. Therefore, wondering if happiness does exist at all for you.
As a result, why I’m dedicating this entire post to answering that exact question for you because yes it is possible for you to be happy, really happy regardless of where you started in life and where you are now. But to be able to access it, you’re going to need to do something unique to what everybody else is doing, be patient and trust in the process.
Happiness starts with you.
Not when you’ve acquired something outside of you, become accomplished, bought your dream house, got the relationship you want or whatever else because the truth of the matter is you might get all these things but they won’t change how you feel on the inside.
And it’s that, which matters most when thinking about the question how can I be happy? Identifying and shifting thoughts, feelings and behaviours you engage in on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis, which are the cause of your own unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life.
Therefore, is that, which I’m sharing the ‘How to’ to below.
So let’s get started.
How can I be happy? Steps
Step 1: Change your perspective
Stop, pause and reflect on what or who you are blaming on the cause of your unhappiness
Witnessing abuse was the reason I attributed to not being happy, to their being something wrong with me, why nobody liked me, I didn’t have many friends, was making tons of mistakes in my relationships and failing in my career.
And you too might be doing the exact same in this current moment; Blaming your past.
However, what I came to realise over time through working with a Counselling Psychotherapist, is that that experience was only a small fraction of the truth and in reality, there was far more to it than that
But since the mind likes to rationalise and make up stories about what’s true and what’s not using the familiar I was convinced this was the reason and couldn’t see beyond it.
So my question to you (and I want you to write it down so you can see it plain and clearly on a piece of paper) who or what are you blaming the cause of your unhappiness on? So once you do, you can tear it up into small pieces because as Will Smith says it’s ruining your happiness.
Recognise no-one can make you feel anyway you don’t want to feel
In addition, by blaming your unhappiness on something or someone else, you do the opposite of what Elena Roosevelt suggests in her quote above. That is, you consent to letting people, places and experiences in your life (past and present) make you feel unhappy and inferior. And so it’s in the consent you need to review more deeply.
In other words, why are you consenting to letting the people, places and experiences in your life (past and present) make you feel unhappy? What is it you’re believing about yourself and your life that would warrant you to consent to someone and something outside of you making you unhappy and inferior?
This is an important question for you to be able to answer since it’s your answers to these questions where the truth of your unhappiness lies.
Step 2: Take responsibility instead
The antidote to blaming your unhappiness on the people, places and experiences in your life (past and present), therefore, IS to take full responsibility for the fact that the thoughts, and feelings you are having today and the actions you are taking and aren’t taking in your life today are yours and yours alone.
Since nobody is pushing their thoughts and feelings onto you or telling you you need to do this and that. Once upon a time in your life maybe someone was doing this to you, but today as an adult they’re not.
It’s you who is spending the majority of the time with yourself and so it’s your inner voice (today), which is the culprit for your unhappiness and dissatisfaction. And so, IT’S YOUR JOB to change your inner voice by doing as I suggest in this post here >>> HOW TO FIND YOUR WORTH AND WHY IT MATTERS.
How to take responsibility?
To learn how to start taking responsibility you can check out my post:
- PART ONE: HOW TO TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHANGING THE OUTCOME OF YOUR LIFE?
- PART TWO: HOW TO TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHANGING THE OUTCOME OF YOUR LIFE? LIFE CHOICES
However, another really important part to being able to take on responsibility is to recognise you are now an adult and therefore, have more resources in you than you did when you were a child to be able to transform your life.
So don’t need to blame anybody else for your unhappiness since you can take action today to resolve the struggles you faced as a child.
Step 3: Transform challenging emotions
Many people think you’re thoughts drive your feelings, but the truth is it’s the opposite.
Your feelings and emotions (locked inside your body) drive your thoughts and your thoughts then reinforce your feelings.
Therefore, to be truly happy you have to work to transform your challenging emotions like fear, sadness, anger, resentment and grief otherwise they’ll forever control you and your life.
How do you do that? You utilise all the tools I talk about in my posts here:
- 4 MIND-BLOWING TOOLS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD AND HELP YOU TO OVERCOME PAST REGRETS
- 3 TOOLS TO GROW OUTSIDE THERAPY SESSIONS
Step 4: Change your behaviours…
The perspective you choose to adopt and the challenging emotions, which arise each day lead you to engage in behaviours that also do not support your happiness.
Therefore, it’s also your job to change these behaviours. These behaviours include, but aren’t limited to:
1) Pretending to be someone you’re not
Choosing to engage in this behaviour not necessarily only with family but those outside your family, causes you to be unhappy as it stops you from being the real you with others.
And it tires you out as you work so hard to uphold an image of you, which isn’t true to who you really are so as to come across as nice, kind, funny, and happy in order to gain the love, acceptance and approval of others you.
However, what this really does is disconnect you from others.
2) Deciding to put others first
Pretending to be someone you’re not (i.e. hiding what you truly think and how you feel) to gain the love, approval and acceptance of others results in you also deciding to put others wants, needs and desires before your own.
As you believe this too will gain their love, approval and acceptance.
Therefore, going against yourself, and what you think, feel and believe in favour of what someone else thinks, feels and believes.
3) Conflict in your relationships
How often do you choose to get angry, argue, shout and scream at family members, regardless of who starts it? (We all have a choice in how we choose to react to someone and/or something)
If the answer is frequently then know again you are further contributing to your own unhappiness.
Why? because as human beings we are designed to live in a state of harmony, peace, love and joy with other people, in order, to foster connection with them.
Therefore, when we move away from these states we’re not living in harmony with who we are at our core or the kind of people we want to be in this world.
As a result, making us feel worse about ourselves than we already do deep down.
4) Sticking with activities that make you unhappy
It’s really difficult to convince yourself to do something you don’t like doing or don’t want to do.
However, what can often happen (and I have found myself in this trap many times) is we find ourselves in a situation of needing to ‘prove’ ourselves to ourselves and others that we’re capable of doing something because if we don’t we’re going to be seen as less than as not being ‘good enough’ in ours and their eyes. And will not get the love, acceptance and approval of others.
When this might not be the case at all but since we believe it and we take actions, which reinforce our beliefs it becomes true for us.
Therefore, instead of quitting that activity we hate so much whether it’s a job or attending an event we don’t enjoy or talking to someone we don’t like, we stick with it.
But in doing so we end up sacrificing our own happiness.
If you’re constantly judging, criticising, blaming and putting yourself, your life and others down whether in your head or aloud, it’s no doubt another part of the underlying reason behind your unhappiness as it stops you from finding the peace, joy and gratitude of every moment.
Therefore, sending you into a downward spiral of negativity.
6) A lack of emotional and social support
Everyone in this world needs emotional and social support in order to thrive since we all go through ups and downs in life.
So when we don’t have these two things in our lives, feeling like nobody understands us we can become too self-reliant, therefore, closing ourselves off to other ways of thinking, feeling and believing.
And our happiness levels plummet since we can’t do it all and we further disconnect ourselves from others.
7) Not pushing yourself to learn and grow
As I talk about in my post A COMPLETE GUIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE LIFE BETTER, if we’re not growing as individuals, we’re not happy.
Since growth is an innate need in all of us no matter our age.
However, to grow and learn you’ve got to choose to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, situations you’ve never put yourself in before time and time again as it’s in these situations where you will learn something about yourself that you hadn’t realised before.
Whether that’s a limitation or a strength.
8) Letting your fears, doubts and insecurities get in the way of what you want, need and desire for your life
If you struggle with putting yourself in uncomfortable situations time and time again, it’s likely you are choosing to let your fears, doubts and insecurities get in the way of you doing so.
As a result, causing you to come up with excuses for why you can’t do this thing and why you can’t do that thing.
Therefore, contributing to your unhappiness as you put the breaks on getting the things you want, need and desire for you and your life.
9) Not listening to yourself and your ideas
Letting your fears, doubts and insecurities get in the way of what you want, need and desire for your life results in you, not understanding, listening and trusting in yourself and your ideas.
Therefore, leaving you going for people, places and experiences you don’t want, need and desire for your life, thinking and believing it is what you want.
This means you’re more likely to have past regrets precisely because you’re putting the breaks on pursuing the ideas you feel passionate about in place of those you don’t feel passionate about.
So you can’t even feel proud of who you are and what you’ve achieved as all you can see are the things you thought of doing, but didn’t and now wish you had and all that’s wrong with your decisions not what’s right with them.
10) Feeling tired and exhausted at the end of each and every day
Pretending to be someone you’re not to gain the acceptance, love and approval of others, isn’t the only factor, which is likely to be contributing to your unhappiness, tiredness and exhaustion.
Since we all have a certain amount of energy and attention we can put out each day and when we exceed those limits by engaging in the above behaviours we tire ourselves out.
Not only because we’ve participated in the activities themselves, but all the emotions that come along with them. The fears, the anxiety, the worry, the stresses, the guilt etc.
Whether you are able to notice this, however, depends on the number of positive relationships you have in your life as opposed to negative relationships (i.e. ones, which lift us up as opposed to those that don’t lift us up) and how well you are able to listen to and act on what your feelings are telling you, not what your mind is telling you.
Step 5: Learn to…
1) Find your worth
When you find your worth, life becomes so much sweeter because you believe in yourself, your capabilities and your life.
And you learn to trust that the universe has your back.
You don’t let the people, places and experiences in your life (present and past) hold you back, instead, you use them to move you forward.
To learn more about how to do that read my post here >>> HOW TO FIND YOUR WORTH AND WHY IT MATTERS
2) Become vulnerable
In working to find your worth, you’ll also learn it’s okay to be vulnerable (i.e share your true thoughts and feelings with others), regardless of whether you might be judged, criticised, rejected or humiliated by them.
Since you’ll also learn someone’s response to you isn’t about you, it’s about them and their own struggles with themselves and their lives.
Learning to become more vulnerable is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others as it will support you in fostering deep and meaningful connections with others over time.
And will relieve you of the pressure of feeling like you having to figure out and do everything on your own.
Therefore, contributing to your happiness as you build positive and supportive relationships with others.
To learn more about how to do that read my post here >>> EVER BEEN BULLIED? 4 REASONS WHY THERAPY IS IMPORTANT
2) Become honest with yourself
Part of the pretence of feeling like you need to be somebody else to who you are is not being honest with yourself about who you are, what you want, need, and desire, as well as, what you like and dislike.
And standing up for those things. If indeed, that is, you do know what they are.
Therefore, part of the process of becoming happy is learning to be honest with yourself about what you want, need and desire for you and your life even if it goes against ‘tradition’ or the ‘status quo’ since if you do this you won’t need to keep putting up with pretences with other people.
You can be who you are as you are and more people will be drawn to connecting with you, as a result.
3) Identify your wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes
To be able to stop putting the wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes of others first, you have to first know your worth, and be absolutely certain of what your own wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes are.
Since it’s only through being certain of what they are that you can start working towards them and can feel confident in placing limitations on putting the wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes of others first.
4) Learn to set healthy boundaries with the people around you
When you know what your wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes are, you can also then learn to set healthy boundaries with the people around you.
Not in a way, which reinforces conflict in your relationships but in a way that is sensitive and respectful to the thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes of others.
5) Manage your emotions
Putting your wants needs, desires, likes and dislikes, as well as, setting healthy boundaries with others in a way that is sensitive and respectful to the thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes of others, however, requires you to be able to manage your emotions.
Since it’s only through being able to manage your emotions that you can foster healthy and supportive relationships with others to be able to increase your happiness levels.
Step 6: How can I be happy? The last and most important step
If you know of another way to achieve all of the above steps in one place without having to go between one source to another, then by all means utilise that resource.
However, working with a Counselling Psychotherapist has been the best and most rewarding experience of my life and I know it can be yours too. Sure it’s not easy to have to face yourself week in week out, but the more comfortable you get doing it, the more you’ll see change and transformation in your life.
And the best part about it is you get to learn tools likes these four amazing tools here >>> 4 MIND-BLOWING TOOLS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD AND HELP YOU TO OVERCOME PAST REGRETS.
Summary: How can I be happy?
So there it is the answer to your question How can I be happy?
Firstly, you need to know what in your life is making you unhappy and once you know this you can then work towards taking the steps you need to take towards being happier.
Now over to you…
In the comments section below, I’d love to know what you’ve tried to increase your happiness levels and whether it worked or not.
And don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter to ensure you stay in the know about how working with a Counselling Psychotherapist will support you to develop personally and professionally.
- HATE MY LIFE! WHY IT’S OKAY AND THE ONE ACTION WORTH TAKING
- HOW TO LEARN LIFE (NOW YOU’RE A “FULLY-FLEDGED” ADULT)?
- UNHAPPY WITH LIFE? 4 REASON WHY AND HOW PSYCHOTHERAPY CAN HELP
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS?