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19 Steps To True Happiness That Everyone Is Looking For

19 Steps To True Happiness That Everyone Is Looking For

Happiness is a term that has forever been a vague concept to grasp with countless studies and experiments done in order to decipher what it actually is and how it can be achieved.

In my person experience, happiness simply can’t be defined by using stats or figures and is first and foremost a feeling, which can only be manifested and acquired by you.

It’s an internal feeling that comes from a decision to be happy as well as a series of actions in order to help provoke it from within you.

Here are 20 ways that, when applied, have personally lead to increases in my happiness every time. Perhaps there are a few you can relate to.

1) Stop comparing yourself to others and false ideals.

When you look at the things around you, there are advertisements everywhere telling you what you need in your life in order to be happy. They encourage you to aspire to ideals that don’t actually exist and make you feel insecure about yourself.

The truth is, the things you see in advertisements and movies aren’t real. Most of it is manipulated and edited so that it looks perfect. We’re far from perfect, but we are unique and worthy enough to be special in the world. The truth is, you don’t need anything or to be anything in order to be valued on this planet.

2) Do what you love.

The best way to find out what it is you truly love in this world is to look deep inside yourself and to scope out whether what it is you want is due to what society tells you to like, or because of what you feel you want deep inside yourself.

If you felt ashamed of pursuing the things you truly enjoy due to social and societal pressure, then chances are, you’re being influenced, which is directly affecting your happiness. Pursue things you love without shame and don’t be afraid of standing out.

3) Turn off the television.

Simply put. Television is a distraction to the realities of the life around you and can easily influence you to believe in things that simply aren’t true. The best way to see the world in its entirety and completely uncensored is to turn off your television and to leave your house.

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What do your very eyes see of the world when you aren’t being fed with third party information?
There is no better experience in this world than to see it with your own eyes.

4) Don’t take yourself too seriously.

While life can be complicated at times and give you a hard time, there really is no denying the fact that all of us will depart the world in due course. This reminder should always be present when living out your daily life. It can help you realize that there really is no sense in taking life too seriously.

Learn to take in the world in its entirety and to enjoy it for what it is‒good and bad.

5) Be selfless and avoid being selfish.

Whatever it is you choose to do in this world, always try do it for reasons other than your own personal gain. The art of giving is perhaps one of the key things that has been proven to enrich your satisfaction and happiness, but is rarely ever practiced in society with regularity.

6) Be grateful for what you have.

In reference to #1, if you judge the quality of your life based on the things you own and how you look, you will never be happy, since you’ll always be looking for external references to prove to you that you are.

Whatever it is you may be unsatisfied with, somewhere in the world is a person who dreams of having the things you currently have. Always be grateful because it’s the precursor to moving forward with your personal and spiritual growth.

7) Share your values and kindness with others.

Similar to #6, there is nothing more satisfying than to spread your qualities with those around you and to influence people in a positive way.

Maybe it’s a blog you currently run, which you’re using to share your wisdom with others. Or perhaps it’s a skill you have that you’re happy to give and share in abundance.

Find out what your strengths and qualities are and don’t shy away from exposing it to the world.

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8) Learn to be patient‒things will happen at the right time.

The things we want and hope to achieve in this world are hardly ever acquired at the times we want them to. As hard as you work, it’s simply a law of average that the things you’re looking to achieve will simply happen in due course, but with no date as to when it will happen.

As long as you continue to push forward and keep taking the right steps that get you one step further towards your goals, it is then simply a matter of time and patience; it will happen for you eventually.

9) Become accepting of others as we’re all the same, yet unique.

Everyone may be the same as far as human nature is concerned, but we are all, in fact, different from each other, with unique nuances and characteristics. Learn to appreciate it and to see as a way of learning more about their character and personality.

10) Become forgiving of yourself and of other’s imperfections.

Following up from #10, don’t try to attempt to change people into your ideal. Life simply doesn’t work that way. There will be some people who you will naturally get along with, and others you will not. This is completely normal and a basic fact of life.

But above all, always be appreciative of people whether they’re in line with your values or not. This includes your very own characteristics. There’s nothing worse than to pretend to be someone you’re not in order to please others.

11) Keep a personal diary.

Our thoughts and worries can sometimes overwhelm us and in time, build up to a level that can cause us to feel depressed and frustrated. The best way to overcome this is to write down your thoughts on a notepad or a diary in order to help you unload whatever’s on your mind.

It’s never a good idea to keep things stuck in your mind, as it usually becomes a lot worse than it actually is, in reality.

12) Stop being a consumer.

We are often taught by the media that buying the next ‘shiny object’ would lead us to feeling better about ourselves in some way. Biologically speaking, this is somewhat true, as our body releases a short term chemical called ‘Dopamine’ that makes us feel a surge of satisfaction and excitement. But the sad truth is, it’s short lived, and is often confused for happiness.

Become conscious of the things you buy and start to question whether what you’re buying is something you actually need or whether it’s to fill a void in your life that you feel you currently have.

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If it’s the latter, then start to question why that is and begin to look for healthier solutions.

13) Become fascinated with the world you live in.

The world we live in is a very vast and abundant planet with a lot of things to do and experience It is simply impossible to see all of it in a single lifetime.
If there’s nothing more to get you excited, always remember that there is always something you have yet to experience, which could potentially lead you on a path you never thought possible.

14) Travel the world.

Its not until you leave your home country that you really begin to see just how different and varied our planet is. There are so many people to see, foods to taste and places to visit. It has literally changed my worldview and has helped me develop into a more open-minded and well-rounded person.

15) Learn about and make friends with people from other cultures and backgrounds.

Similarly, you will never quite develop a better understanding and deeper appreciation for people than if you consciously go out of your way and befriend people from other cultures and backgrounds.

You begin to see that while we may have different lifestyles and ways of doing things, in the end, we are all the same living under the same roof, which is the ever-expanding universe.

It will help you come to terms with the fact that, yes, there are people who are different from you and that like you, they too have worries, hopes and dreams.

16) Do your research when given information from other sources.

While wisdom, information and facts are important, you should always keep an open mind and seek to inquire with your own personal experiences.

Is the information you’ve been given really true based on your own personal experiences? Or is it simply a belief based on another person’s interpretation?

An inquiring mind is an open mind that isn’t easily manipulated.

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17) Smile more often.

It’s been proven by science that smiling more often and smiling just for the sake of smiling helps you be happy as well as help others feel better around you. Your physiology can in fact be changed simply by your psychology and vice-versa.

If you’re honestly feeling down or depressed. Consciously smile, stand tall and walk with your chest out. Then watch how you feel about yourself change with your very eyes.

18) Eat healthy foods and sleep well.

Our body is like a car engine and constantly needs refreshing and looking after. If it isn’t well-fed or maintained, it can lead to illnesses and a poor immune system, which over time will cause other problems as we age.

If you’re young, develop the habit of taking care of what you eat and drink and rest regularly. You may have all the energy in the world in your youth, but it will not be as abundant at a later stage in life.

But the enjoyment of your health can be maintained for years to come and will be solely dependent on how you treat your body in the present.

19) Meditate.

With so many things to do and experience, there will be times where you need to switch off from the world and reach a place of relaxation. Spend at least 5-10 minutes in complete solitude, thinking of nothing but your very own breathing and making it a daily habit.

You will find that over time, your mind will be a lot more stable and will begin to feel at peace with yourself as well as not be easily affected by the things around you.

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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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