In a world where your eyes are constantly bombarded with images of beautiful celebrities, masses of money out of your reach, and advertisements preying on your insecurities, it can seem impossible to be happy.
It may seem even more impossible to be happy with yourself. You see people on social media boasting about big parties, smiling wide with perfect teeth, and talking about all the good things in their life.
It can seem unfair.
How are they so happy and content if you cannot be the same?
The thing is that people rarely share negative thoughts or unflattering images if they have an audience, or if they are trying to gain attention.
Would you rather follow or read about someone who just won the lottery, or someone who is worried about paying their bills?
There are way more people worrying about bills than winning the lottery, so you must put that in perspective. Think of all your happy moments, and how it would look if you only shared those with others.
Without negative things to compare against, that would make you sound like you are completely happy and satisfied.
When you are an adult, it is hard to see problems in that lost teddy bear mentality.
Even if you lost a family member years ago or you got laid off, maybe your bills being higher or your shoe breaking is harder on you in the moment.
How you feel is completely valid, no matter what others say or think. You do not owe it to anyone but yourself to be happy.
Mind your Mindset
Your mindset is what can turn a miserable situation to one where you are content.
You do not have to accept everything to be content, and you should never lose the drive to better as well.
But you must learn how to be content with what you have at a particular moment.
There is a never-ending cycle that people tend to rely on for happiness- if something good happens now, then something else has to be better. Why be happy with what is currently going on if something better could happen to you?
Why be content with finding a twenty on the floor when others have paychecks in the six digit range?
You can buy a new car and then notice how much nicer everyone else’s cars are, or your new house may make you see how much better your neighbor’s driveway is.
You will never be content with this mindset. Learning how to be content without changing anything is the first step in being happy with yourself and your situation.
How to Be Happy With Yourself: Always Be Grateful
Ask yourself, what are you grateful for?
At first, it may seem hard to find an answer. You may think to the big gift you got last Christmas, or your new car lease.
Sure, those things are nice. They make you happy so you are grateful for them. But what about everything else? Are you grateful for having a roof over your head, having clothes on your back, having friends and family, or just living in a place better than so many other people on Earth?
Obviously you would agree that yes, you are grateful for these things. Are you only grateful now that they have been brought to your attention?
Think about how grateful you are when you put your shoes on that you have shoes. Think about how grateful you are to not be working in a factory for pennies when you sit down in your cubicle. Do not save gratitude for Thanksgiving. You can always find something to be grateful for, no matter the situation.
The more you try, the easier it becomes. Soon, you will recognize your gratitude for everything from big holiday bonuses to the smallest change in the color of the leaves during fall.
Recognize What’s negative!
You must also recognize negative thinking and learn to change that. You do not have to pretend that nothing goes wrong or could be better, but you can always find a way to put a positive twist on things.
If you are running late for work, you may think to yourself how everything seems to be going wrong, that things at work are just piling up, and how the company has been talking about a round of layoffs.
Say to yourself, yes these things suck and they could be better… but what is good right now? All these things are negative, but your partner still packed your lunch last night and you have something awesome to talk to that one coworker about.
Recognize negative thoughts about truly negative situations as steps in the road towards happiness. Never dismiss your thoughts.
You know when something is impacting you in the wrong way, but you do not have to give into the “woe is me” cycle. Recognize that yes, your feelings are valid and things are bad. Then, recognize everything good surrounding those things.
How to Be Happy With Yourself: Enjoy The ‘Little Things’
When you think of “joy”, do you only think of the holidays? Tacky wreaths and bad weather, pretending to like your relatives? Joy is not reserved for Christmas or the winter holidays. Learn to see what gives you joy, or a feeling of pleasure and happiness.
It will seem odd to tell yourself how joyful getting that Amazon package early is, or how Target having your favorite cereal in stock again makes you feel joy.
You have learned to associate joy with big things, and unfortunately with greed as well. If you only recognize big, rare moments as joyful, then you will be missing out on a whole lot.
Drinking your favorite tea should be joyful, as should be reading that new book you got.
You will always have your favorite t-shirt even when you do not have a billion dollars or a private jet, just as your dog will love you even when you do not head a Fortune 500 company.
See the little things you have, and you will learn to ignore what you do not.
Even if everything is going well or just fine, you may still find faults and factors to obsess over in terms of yourself.
Very, very rarely is someone completely content with themselves. There is always something that they dislike or something that could be better.
If everyone else seems to be content or have a particular feature, it can make you feel guilty or invalid for wishing you had the same- you are the outlier there, so what right do you have?
Every right. If everyone in the world had blonde hair, and you had brown, would you wish you were blonde too?
You are unique in that scenario, and why would you possibly want the everyday normal of everyone else? This figures into learning to be grateful and not taking things for granted.
For someone who is disabled, hating their amputated limbs or wishing to have function back could be what they want. Everyone else seems to have limbs and motor function, but that is so normal that it could make the person feel bad or invisible.
When you think in big numbers of large populations or statistics, it is easy to forget that every single person has a life as unique and rich as yours.
You have quirks, features, and mannerisms just as everyone else- only yours are unique, and therefore yours alone. You may have a partner like many other people, but that person is unique to you just as they love you for being unique to them.
You may have graduated with the same degree as many other people, but you scored well on that one test or joined that particular club. Within every normal and everyday thing you do, you put your own unique spin on it.
You drive to work alongside thousands of commuters, but you always put your thermos in that exact cup holder. Learning to be thankful of the little things that make you yourself can help to reconsider what you consider faults. Hate your nose? Think you are fat?
Those feelings are valid, so do not make yourself feel worse for feeling bad in the first place. There is someone who finds you beautiful or handsome, and there is someone who loves your body.
Maybe their feelings do not matter to you, but someone- and probably many people- see good in what you see bad. Think about that. It may help.
How’s Your Temper?
When you are in a bad mood, do you find yourself acting rude or having a short temper? As much as you should focus on yourself, how you act does affect others.
If you are having a bad day, you may not even notice how you are impacting others in your life. Say you wake up and hate your hair that day.
You have no time to fix it, so you leave for work in a terrible mood and you are self-conscious already at 8am. You stop for coffee, and you are short with the barista.
You may not realize this or you may feel justified in your actions by how you feel. Here is the thing- maybe that barista is having the same exact kind of day.
Maybe they are feeling horrible about their hair, or any feature, and they assume you treating them poorly is because of how they look.
Now they are in a bad mood and may treat the next person they come across poorly as well. It goes on and on, and it does nobody any good at all.
Even if you are feeling bad, take a moment to think about what you are saying and doing. You do not have to go out of your way to hide feelings or fake interaction, but at least think about it. Just as a smile is infectious, so is a bad mood.
Find something you appreciate about a person when you interact with them. Give them the benefit of the doubt if they are seemingly in a bad place.
Let them know what you appreciate, just as you would want them to do for you. The Golden Rule of treating others in a way you would want to be treated is absolutely essential to improving your social interactions.
If you surround yourself with positive conversation and influence, it will help you. If you make a positive impact on someone else, even better. You never know when they will end up helping you.
How to Be Happy With Yourself: Give yourself the Benefit of the Doubt
Just as you may give that person the benefit of the doubt, do the same for yourself. Do not start by thinking about everything bad. Convince yourself that everything is just as it should be.
This does not mean settle if things are going poorly, but rather that you are in a particular situation because you have the tools to get out of it.
You are not something that must be shaped into anything but yourself. The same goes for others in your life, the world, and everything in it.
Keep this in mind when you begin to ask yourself how are things perfect. You may find yourself saying “well, x and y is good…” in that situation. Keep that rolling and never stop thinking about the good, and how things could be much worse.
Day Dream Believer?
Day dreaming can be fun, but it can also be detrimental. Always dream and reflect, but try not to obsess over what could or what you think should happen. Some say buying a lottery ticket is buying a ticket to dream for a day.
This is true, but when you find out you are not the winner, it may seem to be more of a ticket to disappointment. Try to stay positive and think about what things could be and how you would feel then.
Reflection like this can prepare you to better handle not-so-great things and in turn motivate you to better your situation if things do not go as you dreamed they would.
Thinking about what things would be like if you were to be content can put you in the right mindset to get there.
When you see beautiful celebrities on social media, you may think about what it would be like to afford their treatments and surgeries and their lifestyle.
Why are you thinking that? Dream for a moment what it would be like, but do not dwell.
Think about how you are taught to see them as beautiful before yourself, and if there is any meaning behind their constructed ideals- there is not. Just as every person has unique lives like you, they also feel the same negative things.
Your favorite celebrity or icon may always look great on Instragram, but sometimes they feel fat and have bad skin days you do not see. The image you force yourself to create and see in them is not the truth, so why must it be for yourself?
Are you content?
If you are happy and content with yourself, it will be easier to do the same with others. When you do not criticize yourself over little things, you will learn to ignore or even appreciate those in others. Your attitude reflects onto others, and then that can come back to you.
Being content with yourself makes you a better role model, partner, and friend. You will set an example for others to follow.
Having a positive life full of positive people can impact your health in a very good way. You may eat better when you are feeling okay, and you may also treat yourself to deserved breaks when you think you deserve it.
Eating junk food can help yourself feel better after a breakup or job loss, but being content will teach you that sometimes that is okay, but that you also do not have to rely on that.
You can work out to get a perfect body, and being content can help you realize there is no such thing as perfect, but also that you are good in every step of the journey just as you are now and when you reach your goal.
Health impacts emotion, which impacts your life.
How you feel can affect what you buy. Surrounding yourself with things you think are cool can end up being overwhelming and bad for your finances.
Yes, you may have that brand new purse or game console, but now you have to skip going out to lunch or even paying your bills for that month. Having more is not better, so take care in buying as an investment in yourself.
Even the littlest things like the toilet paper you buy can take a toll on your mood when you use or see those items.
Purge things you do not need but keep the things that make you feel good, even if you do not absolutely need them- those ugly socks are unique and comfortable!
How to Be Happy With Yourself: Make Time to Relax
Part of being content is being satisfied with what you do, and what you are doing. People stop trying to mediate after their first try because they do not see how they could possibly sit still for ten minutes or think about nothing.
Just as they say “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean” in business, it seems to mean that doing nothing or taking a moment means you are wasting your time. You could take a long bath to relax, but you could also be working.
You could make a home cooked meal over ordering takeout, but you could also save time and use that to organize your closet. Well, you could, you should, but how often do you?
Do you just end up feeling bad you did not do that one thing? Think about how you were doing something, but just not what you could have been doing otherwise.
Taking a bath is not a waste of time. You are using time to relax and better yourself.
Cooking may take a bit longer, but you are doing something you enjoy over just rushing through. What you do in your day is an investment in your work, of course, but it is also an investment in yourself.
Taking a moment, or two- or three- can put you in a better place to crack down on work when you should.
This should be balanced and you must prevent yourself from procrastinating. If you know you can do something, do it. If you have something else to do, do that first. And if you just do not want to, then make yourself do it anyway.
Treat yourself with a cup of tea or a promise to buy that shirt from the store, and follow through with your promises to yourself. Do not rely on incentives, as getting stuff done should be reason enough. Take pride in everything you do, from making coffee to folding socks.
You are just as valuable as anyone in your life. If your partner or friend were to share their insecurities with you, you would reassure them and offer ways to help.
You have to learn to do the same for yourself. You are unique but you are never alone. This is an investment in yourself and you cannot expect to feel 100% great in a single day.
Take your time, forgive mistakes, and always remember you are good how you are, but that you can also strive for more.
Be content with your journey, not just when you reach the end of it. You will have more to look back on, instead of just a grueling struggle. Every day is a chance to make change and learn more about yourself and your life.
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