People can make you feel great, soothe your soul, and help you rise above stress, depression and anxiety.
Or they can drive you deeper into despair.
Here are 10 things you need to give up when being around people if you want to be happy.
Give up your idea that others should be there to make you happy.
We never actually think this but often we carry this assumption around. While some of you may have had a mother or a father there to make you happy most of the time, as an adult, it’s nobody’s role to make you happy. It is nobody’s role to make me happy.
It’s our role to make ourselves happy. And one way to do that is to surround yourself with people who bring you up, not bring you down.
Give up trying to please everybody
If you are a pleaser, you are likely spending quite a bit of time focused on other people. You might even be saying things to yourself like “I hope he/she likes me (or what I’ve done for them.)
And, if they don’t like it, then you can justify feeling mad, hurt, and upset.
But that’s a trap. The trap is that your happiness is dependent on whether somebody liked what you did for them…and ultimately liked you.
Now, of course, when we do things for people, we should hope that the other person benefits from our gift. And that gift could be small such as a smile, or a question of how they are doing, or it could be something bigger.
But give up worrying about whether they are happy with our gift. A little example of how we can quickly turn a gift into some resentment goes like this.
“He didn’t smile back at me…who does he think he is!”
Give up trying to please and expecting something in return. We need to be focused on our intention, our gift, and our thoughtfulness. Let that be satisfying enough.
Give up paying attention to your every thought
Now this is a tough one. Just because we have a thought doesn’t mean we need to pay it too much attention.
Our brain and its thoughts is working to help us live our life effectively, eat well, procreate, and solve life’s problems. As such, our brain is always making judgments about our situation, trying to determine if we are safe and making sense of situations for us. To help us be successful.
But that doesn’t mean the brain can’t make some mistakes. I have a friend, for example, who is completely terrified of mice. It could be the little critter is far away. Nevertheless, she is terrified. She once came into my office where I had a small, rubber, blue mouse. I had to put it away she was so upset. Was the mouse dangerous? Nope. For goodness sake, it was blue. But her brain was pumping out fear messages for her. Which she believed. She listened to each and every silly fear message her brain pushed out.
And so it goes with relationships. You mind might put out ideas that you should be upset is somebody slights you. Doesn’t say thank you in the nicest way. Or doesn’t wear that special sweater you gave them for Christmas. You get the picture.
Think about it. In what way does being upset about these kinds of trivial things help you to feel good. In no way I can think of.
Now I didn’t suggest you should not pay attention to some serious experiences like violence, being emotionally abused, and so on. But when we make something big out of some small indiscretion, we help ourselves feel bad.
Give up living your life to other people’s expectations
Oh yes. This is a big one. If we live our lives living up to others expectations, we are going to have a tough life. Our life, our happiness, and our success in the world will be determined by somebody else. And their expectations.
Way too many of us live a life like this. If you live your life according to what others think is best for you…your friends, your parents, your partner… it could even be even what your teacher or somebody spouting off on some social media platform… then you are not honouring your own voice. You spend so much of your energy pleasing others that you can lose control of your own life.
You need to pay heed to your own voice. Your own values. Your own needs.
Give up expecting. Set agreements instead.
Give up expectations. Steven Chandler opened my eyes to this a long time ago.
Expectations are essentially unspoken assumptions about what somebody wants of you. And what you want of them. What you assume for somebody else.
And these create all sorts of problems. If I have a healthy relationship with somebody, it better be that we create a set of agreements with each other, not a set of assumptions.
This has been a powerful tool for people. When I give them this bit of knowledge, people have transformed their relationships. The hard part is giving up being resentful when people don’t follow through.
Give up assuming that you should be there for everybody, all the time.
Now, of course, I’m not saying that you should turn into some self-centered jerk who never pays attention to others. In fact, I think that to have healthy relationships, we should care for others, a lot.
But we don’t need to be there for everybody all the time. When is there time for you? When are those people you are associating with there for you?
It’s a balance. You need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others.
Give up thinking you should put up with too much
Let’s face it. There are lots of people in the world who can be critical, nasty, and hurtful to you. And downright dangerous.
It’s too bad, but it’s true. People who do these things exist.
Now some of these people have little awareness of the impact their behaviour has on you. But some are bullies or violent and intentionally hurt people. Both physically and mentally.
The question is…can you have a great life when living with and around people who are nasty?
Can you be happy when these people are touching your soul on a regular basis?
Is it possible to conquer stress, depression and anxiety when there are people hurting you on a regular basis?
While I’m a person that tries to not live in a world of black and white, yes and no, or good and bad, I’m going to say that it’s very, very hard to be happy and have people around you who are nasty to you.
But let’s get this straight. You are a good person. You are worth it. You deserve healthy relationships. Now I didn’t say you deserve a new Ferrari car, a beautiful 5,000 square foot home overlooking some beautiful water and landscape. Or being independently wealthy. That would be nice. But for most of us, that isn’t realistic.
But what is realistic is not having to put up with poor treatment from others. I remember a person telling me that every time they spoke to their mother on the telephone, her mother would criticize her about every decision she made, tell her what she was doing wrong, and how she wouldn’t turn out to be much.
Well she had turned out to be just fine. But she did need to give up letting that negative energy get in her ear. She needed to learn to keep herself safe from the negativity of others to she could nurture her own spirit.
Give up assuming that people live their lives like you do
We see the world through our own eyes. Others see the world through their eyes. Some of us are blind so they experience the world differently. But for the most part, we experience the world through our own experience. And we can make the mistake of thinking that everybody sees the world the same way we do.
Not so. Not so at all.
But if you assume that others have the same values, expectations, hopes, and desires as you, you are incorrect. And it will create a tough life for you as you will be filled with disappointment.
But you can be curious about what others want in life. What their values are. What drives them to do what they do.
And that will help you have great relationships, find the people to be around that are in sync with you, and it will protect you from assuming you want the same things.
In fact, you’ll find the differences between people are refreshing.
Give up not asking for what you need.
One person I know has made a tremendous gain in stopping her use of alcohol. And it has made a tremendous difference in her life. Sobriety is freeing.
But her family continually brings it up in the last half of a compliment. You might call it a hidden insult. Something like this.
”Susan, it’s been great for everybody that you quit drinking. And you look fantastic. It’s too bad you didn’t quit years ago.”
Hidden insults can drive you crazy. You might choose to give up putting up with them. Even for family.
What about asking for what you want? Try this on.
“Hey thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate you helping me stay clean. And you’re right, I feel great. One thing you could do that would help, is when you give me a compliment, don’t tag on the little ending about its too bad you couldn’t have done it earlier. That little ending isn’t so helpful. But I do love you and your compliments!”
Give up thinking you are fragile and can’t tolerate a slight.
Finally, the one thing that I see people assume that holds them back from having a happy life is to assume that they can’t take it when the going gets tough.
They fear standing up for themselves, such as giving up on the previous nine things. In fact, we are all tougher than we think we are.
Start surrounding yourself with people who treat you well. Then standing up for yourself by giving up some things becomes easier, day by day.
If you’ve been in the habit of doing these 10 things, you might worry about giving them up. But you can. And I think you’ll be happier for it.