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20 Beliefs All Happy People Share

20 Beliefs All Happy People Share

Everybody wants to be happy; no matter what your age, background or location, the pursuit of happiness is a universal goal. Even with different definitions of what “happiness” is, there are core beliefs that all happy people seem to have. These are not always conscious thoughts; in many instances, it is their outlook on life and the highs and lows that are part of living that are the most profound beliefs. Here is a collection of twenty beliefs that can help guide you to find the happiness you are seeking – whatever that may be.

1. They believe that anything is possible

Happy people don’t make the mistake of putting limits on what they think can be accomplished. Putting up emotional barriers by stating “it can’t be done” is a sure fire way to limit the ability to act, imagine or dream. Believing that what is desired can be achieved enables a sense of purpose and, in turn, creates a positive mindset that can carry someone through challenging or difficult times. This is more than just positive thinking but an affirmation that they will not let their happiness be limited by the perception of others that there are limits to dreams.

2. They realize that happiness does not have a monetary value

It has become far too commonplace in today’s world to measure happiness in terms of the material acquisitions, the size of an investment portfolio, or dollar amount in the bank. Happy people have long realized that how little or how much one has is a purely transitory state; true wealth, like true happiness, is measured much differently. Studies of other cultures, such as those in Latin America, have shown that the level of happiness and positive outlook doesn’t have to correlate with material goods. Understanding that happiness doesn’t have (or need) a price tag is a major step toward becoming a happier person.

3. They don’t sweat the small stuff

Getting caught up in trivial arguments and issues can be a real blockage to happiness becoming part of daily life. Keeping the bigger picture in mind is an important tool in maintaining a perspective on keeping the focus on those things (and people) that truly matter. Allowing oneself to get hooked by superficial issues creates frustration and, ultimately, a sense of futility about life in general. Happy people understand that, in the end, most of life’s issues are the small stuff and that which matters most is what the heart and spirit are drawn to.

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4. They believe that, in life, there are no accidents

Accepting that there is a connection within the universe and that there is a reason for things that happen, is an important belief of happy people. Whether it is called fate, destiny, synchronicity or other similar terms, recognizing that each encounter, each interaction, that happens fulfills a purpose provides a sense of calm even in the middle of chaotic times. Trusting in their own process and abilities to follow the clues they are being given is part of transforming oneself from feeling like a victim of fate into an intrepid adventurer seeking the future. Life, then, becomes a joyous journey of discovery, rather than an emotional slog.

5. They accept ownership of the past without being bound by it

Happy people have learned that in order to have a true present, there has to be a willingness to acknowledge the past -good and bad- and to own it as part of the path that has lead to this point. Trying to reject or ignore the lessons learned by what has gone before can take too much time and attention from the important task of living in the now. The past cannot be undone; however the missteps and confusion of the past does not control the present, nor is it a predictor of the future. Acknowledging fully where one has been is a crucial part of understanding and appreciating where one is now and where the path of the tomorrow may lead.

6. They don’t allow negativity a place at the table

With the constant barrage of dire information a part of the 24/7/365 connected world, it can be a daunting task to try and remain positive. Yet this is precisely what happy people have committed themselves to doing. The external world is not something that can be controlled; the impact of the negative energy coming from it is something that can be managed. The choice is simple: Should these waves of external negativity be allowed to dictate one’s outlook in terms of personal goals, relationships, and dreams? Happy people answer this question with a resounding “NO!” Maintaining a positive individual outlook can be a kind of spiritual umbrella during the downpour of negative energy from the outside.

7. They embrace the power of “paying it forward”

Unforced giving can be a profound emotional and spiritual booster. Putting that kind of positive energy out into the universe adds a dimension to living in the present that enhances the outlook on tomorrow. Happy people understand that by paying it forward they are investing in a brighter future and, at the same time, making life in the present have more meaning-both  for the recipient of the act and the one who is doing the giving.

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8. They recognize and accept the reality that no one is perfect

When one expects another person to constantly meet a set of expectations, there is a great chance for disappointment and heartache. Human beings, by the very nature of being human, are not perfect and to expect otherwise is naïve and stressful. Happy people accept that perfection is not a part of the human make-up; that applies to themselves as well as those who they are involved with. Ironically, it is precisely this imperfection that makes relationships so compelling. Working together to find a harmonious middle is one of the happiest things two people can do.

9. They understand the importance of time

Time can be a thief, to be sure, and it can be far too easy to let it slip away. Happy people have learned that time is precious and not something to waste. Making the most of time is a largely overlooked part of achieving a happier life. The old phrase “time well spent” is not just an idle observation but an acknowledgement that time itself is a finite commodity for everyone and that making the most of the time one is granted can be one of the most satisfying and pleasurable activities that a person can pursue.

10 .They love without fear

To truly dare to love, without reservation, can seem to be almost a monumental task. The fear of rejection, concerns about a failure in the relationship, even doubts about deserving love, can all stand in the way of the happiness that being with someone should bring. Happy people accept the risk gladly. To experience the glorious victories and, yes, the glorious defeats, is all part of a spiritual reminder of how good it is to be alive and to be able to feel the warmth of the emotional connection with another person.

11. They avoid the clutches of the “green-eyed monster”

There are few emotions that are more destructive to happiness than jealousy. Being envious of another’s achievements ends up consuming time and energy that could (and should) be better spent on making one’s own dreams come true. Even more detrimental is allowing jealousy to cloud the reality of a situation, creating issues where none may exist. Happy people have learned that envy is emotional cancer that can eat away at the spirit and heart. Rejecting these feelings and resisting the negativity they contain can be a truly supportive step towards finding a happier reality.

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12. They accept themselves for who and what they are

It has often been said that the first step to true happiness is loving and acceptance of oneself. There are few things in life less satisfying than trying to be something other than what one is. Truly happy people have long accepted themselves for who they are and those elements within them that make each of them unique. From this starting point, working towards a better future, or making improvements, becomes a task of joy rather than chasing an illusion that one can never hope to reach.

13. They know that you can’t please everyone, so make sure you please yourself

Trying to make everyone in one’s life happy is, truly, an impossible task. Since each person has their own individual opinions and standards, pleasing one person is just as likely to result in the displeasure of another. The resulting frustration ends of leaving a person feeling ineffective and, somehow, to blame. For those who are truly happy, this is no longer a problem; their focus is on pleasing themselves first. This does not mean to do so at the expense of others; rather, this is acknowledging that by creating happiness internally, first, it can become easier to spread that joy to others.

14. They appreciate the necessity of change in order to grow

It is not in human nature to stay stagnant and still find satisfaction and happiness in daily life. The need to look ahead and to want to discover new vistas is the underpinning for the importance that change plays in living. Yet, many people resist and even fear change. Those who have embraced happiness understand that change is an essential part of living and embrace the challenges that change may bring with joy. When fear of the new no longer exists, the pleasure of the unfolding future can be truly appreciated.

15. They are never too busy to “stop and smell the roses”

Appreciating the beauty of the natural world and of life in general is often overlooked in the rush to get things done, get ahead, etc. This obsession with schedules and artificially constructed destinations rarely leaves time to pause and remember exactly what all of this frenetic activity is supposed to be for. Happy people are never too busy to take a moment and enjoy the world’s treasures. The pleasure of a stunning sunset, the smell of fresh cut grass, or just taking a cleansing breath while walking can provide the emotional tonic that is so needed in today’s style of living.

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16. They have learned to be still

Sometimes it is necessary to rein in the racing thoughts and feelings brought on by the near constant bombardment of information and sensory overload that one encounters during the day. The sheer volume of all of this noise can drown out the important internal voice that helps maintain direction and stability in both an emotional and spiritual sense. Learning to be still -to allow the mind and heart to gently disengage from all of the external pressure- is an important practice happy people include in their routines. That mental pause that refreshes restores the ability to smile and know that things are alright after all.

17. They comprehend that happiness isn’t everything

While being happy is certainly important, truly happy people also recognize that happiness, in and of itself, is only one piece of the great puzzle known as life. There will be times that obligations, circumstances, or the press of the moment, may leave one feeling somewhat dismayed or uncertain. Yet, it is precisely in these moments, that lessons are learned that can lead to growth and a greater appreciation of the gifts that life has in store. It is these times of challenge that add to the value of happiness and the knowledge that what may be empty at the moment will fill again in the future.

18. They are grateful

Embracing the joy of living and being grateful for the experiences life bestows is one of the hallmarks of truly happy people. This gratitude is not just lip service but a spiritual thankfulness of being alive and part of this amazing, complex, and sometimes frustrating place that humanity calls home.

19. They focus on what goes right instead of what goes wrong

When something happens, it can usually be viewed in terms of whether something went according to plan or whether things just went off the rails. Yet, in the realm of spirit, there are no absolutes. This is what happy people have learned. It is just as easy to pay attention to the things that have gone as planned and work on those areas, than it is to bemoan things that may have come up a little short.

20. They believe that you are always at the starting gate

Happy people intrinsically understand that in a true spiritual and emotionally sense, one is always at the beginning. Even when there is a transition or failure, this marks a new starting point. As a popular song once noted; “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” These beliefs that truly happy people have embraced are not exclusive. Trying them out is the best way to see if, in fact, a fresh breath of happiness will appear.

Featured photo credit: boy-524512_1280/TaniaVdB via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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