Changes I've Made to Increase My Happiness
By Elizabeth Barrera
It’s kind of sad to think that sometimes we have to actively find ways to be happy and/or reach prolonged happiness rather than just little bits and pieces of momentary happiness. For a while, my writing reflected my most intimate emotions. Every article was about the same thing (for the most part - my apologies), and they all rooted from the same emotions. I can’t say that much has changed in regards to the experiences I’m living, but I can reflect on how I’m reacting to the experiences I’m living and the changes I’ve made to reach happiness.
Before, I’d dwell on the situation at hand and truth be told, I’d even go straight to victimizing myself. I can’t say that that has changed completely because who doesn’t like to complain every now and then? But I can definitely say that there’s been a huge improvement in how I do or don’t react to something.
Here are a few things I believe are detrimental and huge, negative factors that affect or delay our happiness:
- Reacting impulsively
- Being a People Pleaser
- Being prideful and resentful
- Making assumptions
- Depending on another person for happiness
I can list countless more, but I’m trying to ditch Negative Nancy and aim for a positive vibe instead.
Let’s begin with the infamous overthinking strategy. It sounds like an strategic and innocent thing to do till you’ve got about three different scenarios for why you weren’t hired or why he hasn’t texted you back. But I’ve got a tip for all you over-thinkers: If it’s not in your control, then let it go. There’s no use in stressing over something you have no control over. Let things roll out the way they should and if there’s an explanation, great. If there isn’t, sorry hun, but there’s nothing left for you to do. Want to live a healthy, happy life? Then give your brain a break and drop the issue.
Now, let’s move onto those of us who like to react to every single life event. Did you know that it’s absolutely unnecessary for you to have a reaction to every little thing? If you didn’t, well you’re now aware. Rather than reacting to your manager’s unrealistic expectations right away or your significant other’s stinging words, take a second to calm down, gather your thoughts, and then have a conversation. Don’t exaggerate an issue by reacting and don’t magnify a minimal problem by reacting. It’s simply not worth it.
People Pleasers - it’s impossible to make everyone around you happy, you know why? Because you won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. Tequila and Whiskey exist, and to some, it doesn’t go down as nicely as tea. That’s just how life works so don’t worry about making everyone feel warm and fuzzy - you can’t do it, so stop! Like my mom says, no soy monedita de oro pa’ caerle bien a todos (same idiom as cup of tea). WHY would you even want to make everyone happy anyway? Half of the people out there don’t even deserve to see the real you at all, ever. So quit putting up a front.
Onto the second-best: making assumptions! Limiting my expert-like assumption-making has helped me immensely. Not only was I assuming what people thought, how they felt, what they needed or wanted from me, but I was immediately expecting the worst from them. I was assuming, and 99% of those assumptions were negative. Now I’m asking questions, even if they’re the same question over and over again. I’d rather let go of my pride and be annoying instead of expecting the worst immediately.
So, ASK! Ask when in doubt, ask for what you want - communicate! Don’t torture yourself by assuming and faulting people without them even having a chance to speak.
Lastly, if you want to achieve happiness, you’ll need to find that happiness within yourself and the things you do rather than looking to one person for happiness. Otherwise, you may as well sign up for your death sentence by doing so. I understand how this may work differently for marriages and relationships, but we need to remember that we are individual people with our very own personalities, friendships, passions, and aspirations. Depending on a love interest, for example, will only magnify our insecurities and immaturity. We can’t make someone else happy if we’re not happy ourselves - how selfish is that? Uplift yourself and find what makes you happy. Spend more time with your girls, do things that interest you, and learn more about yourself. Your significant other can’t and shouldn’t be the only thing that fulfills you. You shouldn’t feel lost or entirely incompletely without them. Be happy for yourself and you’ll feel even more peace than ever.
It’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes. If something isn’t working out for you, then find the means to politely remove yourself from that. Remember, true happiness is achieved by how we perceive and react to things.
Note: Also, please try to keep a happy playlist. For some reason, and though I hate to admit it, R&B just wasn’t giving me the “happy” feels. Instead, I felt down most of the time and finding myself relating to almost every single song. While all that is great, let’s limit ourselves to only listening to that during break-ups, period weeks, or gloomy days. I promise you, you’ll feel much better once you make the appropriate changes!