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How to Be Happy in Life (Despite Your Circumstances)

How to Be Happy in Life (Despite Your Circumstances)

How to be happy despite your circumstances… What a loaded topic and like all big topic, it has to start with a big eye opening mind blowing statement and for happiness, it is this:

You choose to be happy.

Happiness isn’t found; it’s created, forged and chosen. You don’t attain happiness by having a perfect job, house and life. You choose to wake up and appreciate what you have and you choose to be happy by building a life that makes you happy.

Where Do You Start?

Obviously, we don’t all live our #BestLives. Sometimes circumstances out of our control and bring us down, make us hit rock bottom. Bankruptcy, divorce, discrimination, death, destruction and false accusations, need I go on? The world is a rather unpleasant and harsh place at times.

At that point you ask me, well how do I choose to be happy when the world is so seemingly cruel?

You look at what you have, where you want to go and make the next step forward.

Life is about one thing, perspective. Your perspective shapes your reality, so all you have to do is change your perspective on life.

Your life is a combination of loads of ideas planted in your head and you see the world through it. When we are born, we are a blank slate, just a white piece of paper. As children, our opinions and values are mostly boys are gross, transformers are the best, I love my mom.

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But as we grow, others embed us with their views, ideals and values and every week, a new value is planted and sprouts, blocking your view of who you are. That once white piece of paper is full of other peoples drawings. Eventually we are lost, no idea where your home is, blinded by all of these other peoples values and opinions that we have taken on as our own.

So we stumble through life, saying things we don’t really know why we say it or why we even believe it and we wonder why we are so unhappy. All we want to do is be at home, safe and happy, like when we were children, when life was less complicated, confusing and conflicted.

The only way to get home, to happiness, is to erase some of those ideals that no longer serve you so you can see a little clearer. Ideals planted like, we will never be good enough, based on an experience you had as a child. Or you once failed at a basketball game and you were public humiliated by the coach and now you are convinced you will never be good at basketball. These values and experiences, are hindering your happiness because they aren’t truth. They are just stories you think are truth.

Let’s take the basketball example, sure, you once sucked at basketball, that doesn’t mean you will always suck. With enough practice, you could be great if you actually tried and decided you were going to be instead of just saying you will always be bad at it.

So how do we make being happy easy? Life is only as difficult as you make it. So what can we do to start flipping your mindset?

1. Choose It

Happiness like all things, is created and chosen; so the first thing you need to do is commit to choosing happiness.

It isn’t the easiest path, you will have to let things go, not let things to get to you and you will have to fight the impulse to be negative, to be the victim.

Happiness is a life long commitment and like all good marriages, you have to put in continuous effort to uphold the value of your spouse.

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Happiness needs to be appreciated while you have it because it can be fleeting, the world isn’t always as kind as you are.

This article can help you to choose happiness easier: How to Always Choose Happiness Even During Tough Times

2. Show Gratitude for Your Life and Everything You’re Blessed with

You are incredibly blessed in your life. We all sit and decide that we suffer, we are victimized and we are failures but look around you:

You have running water, medical care on request, enough money to survive, loving people around you.

You have more than you are choosing to acknowledge because you are so caught up in what you don’t have, you are taking for granted all that you do have.

So take a moment and look around and every day, write down, think, say and show how much you appreciate at least one thing.

Gratitude can be addictive once you realize all you truly have, happiness will follow the sweet sound of gratitude.

Here’re more reasons to feel grateful: 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For

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3.  Change the Stories You Tell Yourself

We are a collection of our stories, the stories we tell other people (the times we were super cool) and the stories we tell ourselves (every failure or awkward interaction we have ever made).

We are what we say we are. If you tell someone you are an honest person, people will think you are an honest person. If you tell yourself you cannot do something, you will not be able to do it.

You Are Your Stories. What stories have you been telling about your life? The story of a failure? A loser? In recent society, it is popular to be the victim, to be the underdog because in the movies, the underdog wins in the end. But the underdog wins by getting over their complex and doing what is right and brave, and they write their own story.

So throw away the book you keep rereading about your awkward, embarrassing and devastating screw ups, those tales of loss, pain and heart ache, ditch them. I never endorse burning books but in this case, throw them on the pyre.

You aren’t a combination of your bad experience but you are acting like it, it is time to ask who you are underneath those experiences.

Who Are You? And who do you want to be now? Because the beauty of writing your own story is that you can choose it. You can say, hey, I am not a loser, I am a strong person. I don’t have anxiety anymore because I do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel anxious. I am a fit person, I go to the gym.

Find a story that would make you happy, then show up as the main character everyday.

Write your story and make sure its a happy one, which leads us to…

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4. Build the Life You Want

A reason you may not be happy is because you aren’t living the life you truly want. You are living in authentically and that is fine but, if you want to be happy, you have to live in alignment with your authentic values.

Decide who you want to be, what life you want to lead and then make a plan to go get it: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

Make a plan so you do something small every day to build towards that dream life and know that when you get there. You may feel happier by doing this but remember, life is a journey and you have to appreciate the climb, not just the view from the top.

The most important thing you will ever learn is this:

You will never be happy if you think something else will make you happy.

A new job won’t make you happy, neither will a new partner, house, holiday, object, pet. That’s not happiness, that’s a chemical reaction in your brain.

Happiness in long term is a choice to enjoy and appreciate those things, everyday, even when the going gets tough and you aren’t where you want to be, you didn’t get that job, well you still got one. You partners not appreciating you? Well, appreciate them first and encourage them to do the same.

Final Thoughts

Happiness is in your control. It’s a mental choice to see the positive in the negative. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that everything I was rejected, I was being redirected to where I was meant to be and when I suffered, it was so I could learn something to make me a better person.

Struggle is growth and strength, struggle is where happiness is forged. No matter how difficult, painful or hard your circumstances are, there is always something to be grateful for and you deserve to be happy, if only you choose to be.

More About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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