Happiness: the term thrown around more often than any other when people are asked what they aspire to most in life. A loving partner, a fun high-paying job, and endless world travel are also among some of the most common answers, but all of these are preference-based means to the one ultimate end, which is happiness.
Being so sought-after, I thought I’d put together a list of traits that seem to be common to happy people — and I’m talking about the genuinely happy people, not just those who appear to be so on the surface.
In compiling this list I’m not suggesting that these are the only keys to happiness; I simply hope to shed light on some common characteristics I’ve noticed happy people share. I am also not implying that happy people don’t experience moments and periods of unhappiness in their lives.
1. Love Themselves For Who They Are
On the surface this may sound incredibly egotistical, but I simply mean that they are truly comfortable in their own shoes. They accept and embrace their physical appearance, they maintain their true character traits regardless of whether or not they receive approval for them, and they work to make the best of the human experience they are living, rather than wallow in what others would define as weaknesses or shortcomings.
2. See Relationships as an Extension To, Rather Than the Basis Of, The Human Experience
Relationships, whether friendly, familial, or romantic, are certainly one of the greatest parts of the human experience. However, far too many of us let their presence or absence, and even more so the value we attribute to them, dictate our overall happiness in life. I’ve found that genuinely happy people tend to find complete contentment within themselves, and see all relationships as the awesome extension of their already complete self. It’s often when we are not looking for others to fill a particular void, or to make us feel a certain way, that most of our truest and most valuable relationships form.
3. Embrace Change
Life is a constant lesson and happy people tend to be well aware of that. Not only are they always open to change, but they truly listen to suggestions, respect and consider all opinions, and take criticism constructively rather than with offence.
4. Celebrate Rather Than Despair in the Accomplishments of Others
Jealousy is a killer, and as Gary Allan once said, “You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” We are all capable of accomplishing anything in this life and are the only ones that are going to find the drive within ourselves to do it. Rather than observe and compare to those who have accomplished, the truly happy tend to celebrate those successes and use them as motivation to accomplish more within their own lives.
5. Never Dwell in Being a Victim
We’ve all been the so-called “victim” of several things in life, whether it be an unexpected breakup, job termination, or even domestic abuse. Truly happy people tend to be those who choose not to dwell in the feeling of having been wronged. They choose to let their difficult experiences strengthen them, rather than wear them as a badge of weakness or as the thing that makes them consistently worthy of receiving sympathy.
6. They Live in the Present
As fun as reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can be, nothing will ever be done in anything but the present and happy people tend to realize that. Not only that, they use that knowledge as motivation to make the most of each and every moment. In addition to being motivating, presence can also come in handy for truly appreciating those moments of relaxation, allowing yourself to be truly in them rather than distracted by future concerns.
7. Trust That Everything Happens For a Reason
This can easily be paired with the choice against victimhood, but happy people tend to trust the process and existence of everything in their life. They know that nothing is ever too big to handle and choose to embrace what life is currently throwing at them rather than cowering at the sight of it or wallowing in self-pity.
8. They Don’t Let Money Dictate Their Lives
Nobody is denying that, in this world right now, we all need money to exist, and as a result, many of us spend the bulk of our lives doing things that help us earn it. What I’ve found sets happy people apart is that they don’t let money be the ultimate dictator in their life. They still make sensible choices within their means, but they never let money: A) prevent them from pursuing a so-called “risky” passion, B) be the factor that is blamed for why their life is so miserable, or C) complain about how little they have. There are creative ways to do everything in this world, and only recognizing and valuing the traditional ways of making money cripples that creativity.
9. Look Within For Solutions
One of the most powerful realizations a genuinely happy person will often operate based on is “change starts within.” The empowerment that comes with not only realizing this truth but also using it as the backbone to everything in life can be quite remarkable. There are thousands of books, mantras, techniques, and practices out there that can all help us to find solutions to so many things in life, but they all require one thing to truly be serviceable: the consciousness to support them.