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10 Reminders That Some People Are Happier with Less than What You Have

10 Reminders That Some People Are Happier with Less than What You Have

Usually when we find ourselves struggling and going through difficult times, we tend to focus mainly on the negative sides of our own life. In order to become happy again, we have to shift the focus back and see all the great (and little) things that are going on around us. Sometimes it helps to realize that there are some people out there who are going through even more challenging times in their lives while having even more limitations, and yet, they find ways to live a life full of joy and happiness. Look around and find somebody who is happier with less than what you have and learn to appreciate all the little things again!

1. Someone is happy to be single.

Breakups are tough—we all know that! The feelings of losing a loved one is terrifying and a lot of people then start to worry about ever finding a great match ever again. The feeling of being single again sucks. Whenever you are worrying about being alone, and you just desperately feel like you need somebody else for a fulfilling life, it might be a sign to shift your focus again!

There are people out there who really enjoy being single! Just embrace the fact that you can use this time to “find yourself”. And although this might sound cheesy, take a moment and really evaluate that thought. You can go to new places and go for new experiences without worrying about anything or making compromises for a while.

A lot of people out there have never really been single for a long period in their life, and you should not miss out on this invaluable opportunity. These people have not invested enough time into themselves to even be able to live a healthy relationship  They do not know what makes THEM happy. How could you attract and be part of a great relationship when the relationship with yourself is not flourishing in the first place?

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Don’t go into a relationship with a half-empty glass. Use this time to go for crazy adventures and experiences. Live wild! Find out what excites you! Find what you love to do and THEN look for somebody to share it with!

2. Someone is suffering from a serious illness.

There are stories of people out there who suffer from serious illnesses and yet keep a happy face. It seems that in the face of death/illness you begin to reevaluate what is important in your life. You begin to be thankful for the things you DO have going for your life and you value human connection and bonding more again. Maybe you should also learn from these examples and appreciate the fact that there are people caring about you, wishing you only the best. In the end these are the most important things in life anyway.

3. Someone is not having all his limbs.

Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and no legs. Still he fully enjoys his life. He travels the world, publicly speaks to thousands of people and inspires endless amount of souls by giving them hope when they’ve lost it. Doesn’t his story alone put all your petty problems into perspective? Doesn’t this convince you how you can achieve more with even less? It does for me!

4. Someone is failing even bigger than you.

Steve Jobs got fired from his own company and fell into a severe depression right after that. If you think you have been failing big time, think about how it would feel to spend years of your life to build a huge number one company, and then see it taken away from you by the very same people whom you build it up with.

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Although this might sound sad and depressing you also have to think about what Steve Jobs said about this situation AFTERWARDS (see Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address at 6:00). He ended up really enjoying the new limitless environment he found himself in. He could start anew and be creative without boundaries again. From this “big failure,” great new projects came to life. In the time Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, he started a new computer company called NeXt and also created Pixar (Toy Story 1995)! And he even got rehired at Apple too. So I guess good things CAN come out of situation which might look helpless in the first place. Maybe your challenging situation is one of these too!

5. Someone lost more money than you have.

Walt Disney wasn’t always known for Mickey Mouse and happy places. Walt Disney once had a ill-performing film studio that sounded like a joke-telling telegram company. When the mogul first started out in the Hollywood/cartoon business, he was pretty terrible. Disney originally created the “Laugh-O-Gram” corporation in Kansas City, Missouri that was forced to file for bankruptcy after just two years due to investors pulling out of the company.

By the end, Disney himself was suffering because of the company so he to start anew in California. And Walt Disney is just one case of famous (and successful) people who lost a lot of money on their path to success. The key is that they kept going and you should too! 

6. Someone is making less money than you.

There will always be people making more money than you do. Period. But it is not about how much money you make; it is about how you use the money you have. There is a difference between having resources and being resourceful. You might think you need more money to feel happy about yourself, but I guess you are just not using the money you have effectively enough.

There are people out there making less money than you do and still manage to live a full and abundant lifestyle. There are endless possibilities out there, but oftentimes, we tend not to see them. Sometimes we simply need to shift our focus and look at the problem from another angle. Instead of owning a costly Ferrari (if you wish to do that), why not rent one for certain weekends?

Instead of trying to make more money to travel more, why don’t you cut down on your expenses and responsibilities, or even move to another country where the conditions are more in your favor? Oftentimes we forget that the things we think we need are more than often just self-made boundaries we put in our own way. It’s less about having and owning things, and more about experiencing and living life! Be creative and doors will open!

7. Someone is not working his dream job.

Happiness is not about working your dream job! It is about aligning your daily actions with the vision you have in your mind. There are a lot of people out there who work a “bad” job and still are proud and happy about it. They put in a lot of effort and even over-deliver and love everything about it. Because oftentimes, not only is WHAT you do important, but furthermore, HOW you do it, which determines your overall happiness. These people learned to love every step that is necessary to get them to their greater vision in mind.

If living their dream requires them to sit during their off-time in an office job for some months, these people are willing to do it and they even love to do it, because they know that it brings them closer where they want to be. They might learn new skills they can use in the future. Or they might even learn some spiritual lessons, like accepting their current life situation and not resisting it, so they can experience more inner peace. Or they just do it for the sake of doing it, so they can put a little bit of money away each month. The saved money will then allow them to take the leap in 1–2 years from now. Either way it serves a purpose!

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8. Someone has no idea who his parents are.

You might not like your parents from time to time. You don’t feel aligned with their world view or how they handle certain things. Sometimes, you may also wish they would just disappear.

But there are people out there who have no idea who their parents are. They grew up alone and without support, safety and guidance. So your parents telling you how you should live your life might be a curse for you, but somebody else would have loved to feel some kind of connection and parental support! They would have loved to be able to go to somebody and get some elderly advice.

Sometimes, parents tend to be a little bit too “protective” with their advice though. They want you to do what they think is best for you. But the cool thing is: you don’t have to. Just appreciate the fact that they try to do whatever they can to make you happy. Sometimes they cannot express it in a way that is helpful for you or even appropriate. Sometimes what they think is good for you might not match your idea of living a happy life. Just be thankful that they care about you, love them and then do your own thing!

9. Someone cannot afford going to school.

You might tell yourself that school sucks. But there are a lot of people out there who would LOVE to be able to get the education you are getting there. You might feel like it is a waste of time, but for a lot of people, it would be a blessing. You might feel like it is boring to learn new things, but some people might get a rush out of exploring new things and learning new stuff. Maybe you can awaken your inner explorer again and feel the happiness which comes from learning something new!

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10. Someone has no WIFI.

Be happy you got today’s WIFI password! Not everybody else has!:)

Featured photo credit: savannchan via flickr.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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