All of us have been around people who are genuinely happy. Happiness I have found, is not something that always comes naturally. Actually, it takes work. It requires us to deliberately and consistently take stock of our lives.
There are ten characteristics that seem universal to happy people. It is a list that I look over often when I find myself struggling with a situation. It helps me to realize that happiness really is a state of mind. We must train our minds towards happiness.
Here are ten things happy people understand:
1) They are comfortable with uncertainty
Happy people understand that uncertainty is a part of life. They cannot always control what the next chapter of life will bring, but they can learn to be comfortable with it. They have faith in the fact that even though they do not see their next step, a path will appear for them. They have learned to adjust their wings and ride the next wave of life.
Tony Robbins said,
The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with.
Happy people do not stress about what will come next because they are too busy living in the now.
2) They do not rely on others
While they love their family and friends, happy people do not rely on them for their happiness and fulfillment. They have learned to be the hero of their own stories.
They decorate their own souls instead of waiting for someone to do it for them. By loving others without relying on them, they cultivate relationships that grow and endure with time. They understand that we do not need others to complete us when we are whole already.
3) They consistently bless their life
It was on a busy, stressful morning when I got on a shuttle bus to the airport from the parking lot. The driver cheerfully asked me how I was doing. I responded kindly and asked her the same question. This is what she said:
"I am so blessed. Do you see what I see everyday? I get to see this beautiful city in all it's glory. I get to see all the colors of the sunrise. And I make sure people get to their destinations to be with their families and friends. So yes, I am blessed!"
Happy people find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Each day they consistently bless their life. They understand that what they focus on, expands. So they chose to focus on the good.
4) They keep their inner circle small
They may have five thousand friends on facebook, but happy people keep their inner circle small. They understand that true and authentic friendships require time and energy so they save theirs for a select few. They choose like-minded people to be around. They choose those that radiate positivity and a sense of contentment with the world around them.
Their inner circle challenges, inspires and pushes them to their greatest potential. And they pick them very carefully.
5) They are driven by intrinsic rewards
Happy people are motivated by intrinsic rewards. They seek activities and professions that bring meaning into their lives. They understand that when they are 'in the flow' of things and doing what they are passionate about, they are stepping into the greater blessings that life has to offer.
They are not motivated by money or material objects. What really excites them is honoring the journey of their soul. They seek to do the work which makes their soul come alive.
They also realize that sometimes they have to go against what society is telling them to do in order to be who they really are.
The author Paulo Coelho, was sent to a mental institution by his parents three times when he was younger simply because he wanted to be a writer.
He later wrote on his blog,
I promised to myself that one day I would write about this experience, so young people will understand that we have to fight for our own dreams from a very early stage of our lives.
Happy people are driven to do the work which brings intrinsic rewards, honoring the work they were called to do.
6) They show up for life
Happy people are present in every aspect of their lives. They will not be on their phones when having lunch with you. They give activities and people their full attention. They understand that showing up and being present is a major part of being alive. They refuse to let their lives pass them by because they were too busy looking at a screen.
They show up. They listen. They pay attention. Happy people make everyone feel like they were heard.
7) They don't have self limiting beliefs
Happy people understand that where they are in life is largely because of what they believe is possible for themselves. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we lose the ability to dream big. Happy people have held on to those dreams.
They believe that they are enough. They are smart enough. They are pretty enough. They are enough to fulfill the dreams that lie within them.
Brene Brown said,
The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.
Ultimately, it is the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect that propels your life forward into your greater destiny.
8) They don't compare their journey to others
Happy people understand that there really is nothing to prove to anyone. The only one they have to please is themselves. Each soul has their own journey so comparing themselves to someone else does not serve any purpose. They are their own yardstick, their own measure of success. They strive to be better than they were yesterday.
9) They concentrate on 'what is' instead of 'what could have been'
Happy people don't spend their time concentrating on 'what could have been'. They learn to forgive and accept 'what is'.
They understand that holding on to the past will poison their future. Pastor Joel Osteen wrote this about holding onto the past in his book, Become A Better You,
The car you drive has a large windshield, but only a relatively small rearview mirror. The implication is obvious: What happened in your past is not nearly as important as what is in your future. Where you are going is much more important than where you've been.
Happy people are concentrating on looking forward at their windshield instead of looking back into the rearview mirror.
10) They transform through pain
Happy people take painful experiences and use them for transformation. They understand that sometimes it takes being broken open to finally break free. When they go through the trials of life, they ask, 'what is this here to teach me?' and 'how can I learn it with grace?'
Oprah Winfrey said,
The struggle of my life created empathy - I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.
Like Oprah, they use their pain to fortify their soul. They gather the strength to use their heartbreak as a force for personal growth and to inspire change in the world.
It is in this transformation that they go through the process of death of their former selves and rebirth of one that is incredibly resilient.
Happy people understand that it is through pain that they are transformed. And it is through transformation that they begin to see the light that is within themselves.
Happy people understand all of these things.
You can follow Smita on Facebook here.