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How to Stop Looking for Happiness in Others and Learn to Create It Yourself

How to Stop Looking for Happiness in Others and Learn to Create It Yourself

Being in a relationship and finding that sweet spot between completely depending on the other person and being completely self-absorbed and absent is not always the easiest task.

But with practice and building awareness of the areas which can lead you into a trap of either hanging on to every little thing your partner does or being a cold robot, you can achieve that sweet spot too.

Many people enter a relationship expecting it to make all their woes go away and provide eternal fulfillment. And this can quickly turn into a state where you look for happiness exclusively in your partner.

Of course, the problems arise when people realise that even though they are with someone, the feeling of dissatisfaction lingers.

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This can lead to you resenting your partner, either openly or hiddenly, accumulating frustration and succumbing to a general feeling of not being fulfilled and helpless.

Good news is that you can escape this state of mind by starting from a simple realization: our true happiness cannot be found in others, rather we have to look inside ourselves to find it.

The path to reclaiming your happiness and possibly saving your relationship can be broken down into several steps:

1. TEST YOURSELF

Look within yourself to check if you have become emotionally dependent. Ask yourself: are you looking for a partner as a way to make yourself happy? Does it upset you if your partner doesn’t act or respond in a certain way? Do you complain about others a lot? Is your relationship the center of your universe? Does your world fall apart when you and your partner don’t do things together?

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If you answered with yes to several of these questions, it may be a sign that you are overly reliant on your relationship for happiness. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person but could be an indication that you are in need of change.

2. START LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS WITHIN YOU, NOT OUTSIDE OF YOU

We are often conditioned to seek happiness in things that surround us, after all, much of the modern economy revolves around the cycle of generating and satisfying needs with things.

The answer lies in realizing that people are not things to fulfill our voids. Their job is not to make us happy – they are probably struggling just as hard themselves.

3. GET COMFORTABLE BEING ON YOUR OWN

Just sit and listen to your thoughts. “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else” they say and for a reason – it’s a simple truth.

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4. START CREATING AND EXPLORE YOUR POTENTIAL

It’s not uncommon for people to “hide” in relationship, afraid of really giving their all and achieving their potential. The key is to break this cycle and start an activity – join a cooking class, work on your fitness level or start creating music.

Any activit that draws creativity from you and teaches you about yourself can help you. Once you experience the joy of doing something really well and learning from your mistakes, you will be less prone to depending on others to fulfill you.

5. COMPLAIN LESS

Notice the moment when you jump into that “whine mode” and stop yourself right away. Instead of focusing on the negative, drill yourself to draw your attention to the positive, however trivial it may sound. Soon enough you will “rewire” your thought patterns and suffer the burden of complaining a lot less.

6. STOP BEING NEEDY

Also notice the moment when you are being needy with your partner. Become aware of how this pattern repeats and then train yourself to break it the next time. Don’t give up if it doesn’t happen right away, the key lies in persistence.

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7. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY

Lastly, accept that you alone have the responsibility and power to affect how happy you feel (please don’t make me quote Spiderman here, that is just a cliche, albeit a true one). Go a step forward and don’t just accept it, revel in it and see it as a gift that is always available to you, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Becoming emotionally self-reliant | Leo Babuta, Zenhabits.net

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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