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26 Things To Remember If You Want To Be Truly Happy

26 Things To Remember If You Want To Be Truly Happy

If you’ve asked yourself how to become a happier person, this is already a very good sign. Happiness is not something that happens to us by chance. Being happy is an achievable and learnable skill, which requires constant work on your attitude and depends on how you interpret your life situation. Happiness is largely a matter of choice. And it is probably the smartest life choice you can make. Recent studies show that happy people are 35% less likely to die early than unhappy ones!

So, what do you need to remember if you want to be truly happy?

1. Never dwell on the past

“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.” – Unknown

Your past is just a story. Everyone has a past – often full of pain, disappointment, missed opportunities, and unfulfilled expectations. No matter what your past looks like, it’s just a story – so don’t let it influence you. Make the present meaningful.

2. Never focus on what’s missing; look at what you actually have.

 “Happiness is not having what you want. It is appreciating what you have.”- Unknown

Be grateful for what you have. You could waste hours counting the things you would like to improve, which would only take you away from appreciating your real life. Gratitude puts situations into perspective and rewires your mind toward a positive direction.

3. Never underestimate quality time with yourself.

 “Focus on loving yourself instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.” – Unknown

Don’t confuse happiness with excitement; a lasting joy of life grows when your mind is in peace. Making time for yourself is as important as devoting time to your everyday duties. Regular meditation, sport, contact with nature, and quality (offline) time spent reading will help you reconnect with yourself and hear your intuition again.

4. Never stop improving yourself.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. – Mahatma Gandhi

We are all different, and there is no perfect direction or path to our personal evolution. The whole point is to become the best version of YOU, and never stop taking lessons from your own life experiences.

5. Never be too harsh on yourself.

“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.“ – Unknown

Many of us are our own hardest critics, constantly diminishing every success. Accept that you will never be ideal – and see this as okay. In the process of self-development, embracing your own vulnerabilities has been scientifically proven to be a key component of happiness.

6. Never lose a sense of purpose in what you are doing.

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” – Unknown

Your time and life power are limited, so spend them wisely and target your energy towards something meaningful. Finding a purpose helps you live a bigger life.

7. Never treat your body badly.

“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” – Buddha

A truly happy soul can only live in a healthy body. Your body will “send you a bill” for the trash you’ve eaten, the sports classes you’ve skipped, your long nights of partying, and your long hours of stressful work. Treat your body as your biggest investment; it will have to serve you your entire life.

8. Never value material things more than experiences.

“Your actions are your only true belongings.” – Allan Lokos

Experiences bring people more happiness than possessions, which never keep you satisfied. Experiences will last in your head forever, nourish your mind, and become a memory which will light up your face with a smile on a bad day.

9. Never compare yourself to other people.

“True happiness is when you are living your life without waiting for anyone’s approval.”- Unknown

Everyone lives life at a different pace, which makes us each special and beautiful. The sooner you embrace your uniqueness and the differences between you and other people, the happier you will be. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you really are without trying to change you or reframe you.

10. Never let your bad thoughts grow.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts” – Marcus Aurelius

Being judgmental, jealous, or angry will at some point turn against you. A bad thought can trigger bad speech, just as bad words provoke bad actions. Don’t let your mind initiate anything you’d be ashamed of later.

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11. Never fear to embrace change.

“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”- Unknown

As you accept the laws which change our life, our bodies, and the way we evolve, you will see the unique beauty of every moment in life with all its natural flow. Be open to new opportunities and humbly accept changes you can’t influence.

12. Never blame others for your own failures.

“Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems. Look for someone who won’t let you face them alone.” – Unknown

Be responsible for your actions and their outcomes. Taking responsibility gives you a sense of power over your life; blaming your life on circumstances can make you feel powerless.

13. Never tame your curiosity.

“If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.” – Fay Weldom

Be curious and ask a lot of questions. Travel, observe, read, watch, and talk with smart people to open your mind and explore the world. Inquisitive thinking and a passion for exploring will nourish your mind.

14. Never stop being mindful.

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect” – Unknown

Learn to mindfully observe, smell, hear, and fully appreciate every minute of your life. Those who can’t conscientiously notice and appreciate the present moment aren’t able to be fully happy.

15. Never forget about your loved ones.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Care about those who are happy to see you succeed in life and support you in difficult times. Avoid harsh critiques and make sure these people know how glad you are that they’re a part of your life.

16. Never worry about the things you cannot influence.

“Worry is a total waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All is does it steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.”- Unknown

How many times has a situation you’ve worried about not come true? Worrying about things you can’t influence is a waste of time and makes you feel unnecessarily miserable.

17. Never attach happiness to something in the future.

“Think of all the beauty that is still left in and around you and be happy.” – Anne Frank

Many people live like they’re waiting for something – to find a perfect love partner, to get promoted, or to retire with a good pension. Don’t postpone your happiness to a moment in the future; life is all about enjoying the journey.

18. Never stop meeting new people.

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” – Joseph F Newton

Surrounding yourself with happy people makes you happier. Meeting new people nowadays is easy, due to open lifestyles, new technologies, internet forums, popular mobile apps. It would be a waste to not make the most of this opportunity. Even people who enter your life for a short time can teach you important lessons and make your life more colorful.

19. Never let your ego win.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.”- Pema Chodron

Acting with anger and following your insecurities can only complicate your life situation. Instead, act with compassion and humility towards others. Showing maturity will make your relations with others more joyful and fulfilling.

20. Never voluntary harm.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

Every choice you make, every word you say, and every purchase you make impacts someone’s life. Choose to be a good person.

21. Never stop living life to the fullest.

“Hug harder. Laugh louder. Smile bigger. Love longer.” – Unknown

Live intensely. Do what you want and enjoy it with all your senses. Start working on fulfilling your dreams as soon as possible. “Hug harder. Laugh louder. Smile bigger. Love longer.”

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22. Never forget to smile.

“Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.” – Unknown

You don’t know what the person in front of you is going through. Be kind to others and share your smiles and positive words. Isn’t it amazing to make someone’s day a little better in such a simple way?

23. Never be afraid to completely change your life.

“If you’re still looking for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror.” – Roman Price

It is never too late to completely change your life and make it more meaningful. Let your mind be free and surprise you from time to time.  Go with the flow and open yourself up to different possibilities.

24. Never be afraid of being alone.

“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.” – Maxwell Maltz

Don’t be afraid of being alone. Happiness is internal, and you don’t need anyone or anything to be happy. Learn to have fun on your own: walk, travel, eat good food, etc. Being alone doesn’t mean to you have to be lonely. Look at monks for example – being happy in solitude is a virtue.

25. Never stop organizing your own happiness.

“Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” – Richard Kline

Happiness appears where dreams meet preparation. Make a conscious everyday effort to shape yourself and your life the way you want.

26. Never stop loving.

“Love as much as you can from wherever you are.” – Thaddeus Golas

True love doesn’t lose value over time; it multiplies and comes back to you the more you give it away. The meaning of our whole existence would be much simpler if love meant only romantic love. Love everyone who you think deserves and needs your love. Love the Earth and the people who have helped you become who you are. Love your own life.

Last but not least, try to appreciate more about small things that happen in your life to become happier!

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

    Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

    Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

    A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

    You know how this looks:

    • Parents constantly comparing children.
    • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
    • Domestic violence.
    • Adultery…
    • And many others.

    For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

    Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

    Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

    This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

    In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

    If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

    How to fix a dysfunctional family

    In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

    And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

    Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

    It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

    Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

    Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

    There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

    Dysfunctional… Or just average?

    Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

    The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

    You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

    A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

    Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

    Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

    • Unrealistic expectations
    • Lack of interest and time spent together
    • Sexism
    • Utilitarianism
    • Lack of empathy
    • Unequal or unfair treatment
    • Disrespect towards boundaries
    • Control Issues
    • Jealousy
    • Verbal and physical abuse
    • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

    You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

    If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

    Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

    How to turn it around

    When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

    But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

    One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

    We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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    As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

    What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

    Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

    Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

    Correction is possible

    In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

    Verbalize it.

    All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

    Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

    This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

    But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

    So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

    Putting it to work in real life

    In real life it would be something like this:

    “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

    Or:

    “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

    Or:

    “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

    As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

    This is what you have to remember:

    1-Stop.

    2-Why it’s wrong?

    3-What you need.

    And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

    It’s a family thing

    A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

    Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

    In other words, you will need cooperation…

    So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

    Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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    We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

    You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

    It’s not a free-for-all battle

    In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

    No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

    Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

    And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

    The method

    1. Drop the ego

    Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

    You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

    Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

    What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

    It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

    After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

    Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

    Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

    Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

    And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

    You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

    2. Not blame, but responsibility

    When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

    But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

    When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

    What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

    Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

    As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

    You will do something like this:

    “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

    I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

    You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

    I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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    It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

    What happened here?

    We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

    We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

    We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

    And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

    You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

    This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

    3. Doing the work

    What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

    This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

    Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

    If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

    It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

    “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

    I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

    But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

    You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

    Love is all you need

    You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

    That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

    And what happens if it simply is not there?

    What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

    What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

    There is only one thing you can do:

    To break away.

    Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

    There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

    “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

    If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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    Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

    You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

    Putting distance

    So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

    What do I mean?

    Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

    Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

    Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

    Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

    They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

    Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

    I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

    I choose my peace of mind.

    And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

    Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

    Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

    How to prevent it

    There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

    • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
    • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

    Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

    You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

    Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

    Priorities and clear thought

    You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

    You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

    You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

    Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

    If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

    And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

    Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

    But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

    Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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