5 More Ways To Make Yourself A Happier Person

Here's another set of tips and techniques you can try out to make yourself happier overall and minimize the negative feelings you have to deal with. (The first set is over here.) None of these require anything fancy or expensive; all they require is some time, effort, and a little imagination.

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Give yourself some quests.

Feeling like we're achieving nothing is a major source of misery and discontent in our lives. One way to combat this feeling is to set up a few quests or ourselves. What these quests ought to be is entirely up to you. The only thing that really matters is that they are both enjoyable and attainable - it will do you absolutely no good to set up a goal that's simply beyond your reach for the foreseeable future.

Here are a few examples of quests you might set for yourself:

It's a good idea to give yourself multiple quests because sometimes it just won't be possible to work on one or you might just not be interested in it at the moment. You don't want to end up finding yourself stymied because you've got absolutely nothing to do because it's too rainy to do something that requires being outdoors.

Whatever quests you give yourself, it's never a bad idea to give yourself something that involves learning a skill or subject. This way, you'll also be giving yourself something that you can do something with later. For example, studying history can give you inspiration for worldbuilding, and watching how-to videos can help you do something similar yourself or write a character doing something similar with realism.

Accept mistakes, failures, setbacks, and delays as part of the journey.

Some people have a very unhelpful notion in their heads that if they do anything wrong or imperfectly, or that if anything bad happens to them, then they've failed somehow or that they're tarnished forever.

First of all, while it is true that your past will be part of you forever, it is not true that your past must define who you are and what you will do forever. Your past is who you were and what you did, not who you will be and what you will do. Stop and appreciate this fact for a moment. People turn their lives around and take them in new directions all the time.

Secondly, mistakes and failures along the way are just the default state of things - it's quick and easy success that's the anomaly. Bad things happening along the way is also pretty normal - for everything to go smoothly and unhindered is abnormal. So if things aren't working out smoothly for you, or if you're having a hard time finding your way or getting the knack of something, it's all right. You're all right. And anyone who says otherwise isn't worth listening to.

If you find yourself beating yourself up and thinking all kinds of negative thoughts about yourself when things go wrong, then you need to work on changing your thoughts.

If what you're doing goes awry because you didn't know something important:
Do NOT think: "How could I have been so stupid not to know that? I'm such a failure! I'm always so ignorant!"
Instead, think: "Oh, so I was missing this piece of information. Well, now that I have it, I can try again and see if I can make this work. And next time, I'll try to make sure I do more research ahead of time."

If something you do turns out less than perfect:
Do NOT think: "It's so terrible! I can't get anything right!"
Instead, think: "Well, I did my best, and the practice I got from doing this will help me do better the next time. Also, can I identify any glaring flaws here that I can make a point of working on to improve?"

If something you're doing gets interrupted by something else or otherwise goes awry for reasons beyond your control:
Do NOT think: "I'm so unlucky! Obviously I'm just not meant to succeed. I don't know why I even try. I should just give up."
Instead, think: "Well, that's unfortunate, but that's the way things go sometimes. The question is, do I get up and try again or do I try doing something else instead?"

If something bad happens because you made a poor choice that you actually did know was risky or did see warning flags ahead:
Do NOT think: "I knew I shouldn't have done that! I'm so stupid! What's wrong with me?"
Instead, think: "Well, I took a risk and it didn't work out. But hey, that's the whole point of taking a risk - because you know it might not work out but you're willing to chance it anyway in case it does. And now I know that if I see warning signs like this again, I should take them more seriously."

Also, let go of the idea that you're a failure if you haven't reached a certain level of accomplishment by a certain age. Sometimes we see people who seem to have it more together than we do and feel like failures because we haven't lived up to their success. It's all well for them that they're doing well, but they lived a different life and knew different things that you do. You can't use them as a yardstick to measure yourself against.

The same goes extra for people who have reached some stunning success or other that you haven't. Again, they aren't you. You can't measure yourself against them. Anyone who says otherwise can safely be ignored. You aren't them. You are you, and your own journey, your own story, will be different from theirs.

Watch out for the Ultimate Life Goal: Reach This Milestone trap.

It happens sometimes that people make one single milestone their life's goal. That goal might be to go to college, to get a romantic partner, to get into a particular career, or to move away someplace. All of these are fine goals in and of themselves, of course. But the fact is, no goal or milestone, no matter how big and wonderful, is going to make you feel fulfilled and satisfied for the rest of your life. At best you're going to feel happy and contented for awhile, but it will eventually wear off. People in this situation may find themselves wondering whether this is all there is or feel completely at a loss as to what they're going to do with themselves now.

Fact is, fulfillment is something that must be continuous and ongoing - which means that you can't hang your life's fulfillment on one single goal and just expect to be happy forevermore once you get it. And some milestones, like going to college or getting married, are more like stepping stones. You need to put some thought into what you're going to do beyond or beside that. Are you going to refine your art skill? Are you going to get involved in charity causes? Are you maybe going to learn how to garden? Exactly what you do doesn't matter; what matters is that you bear in mind that you've got to keep your options open and keep doing things.

Additionally, if you suffer from depression, you will likely find that your depression will simply move the goalpost for you and devalue what you have. So for example, instead of feeling happy with your new girlfriend, you might find yourself hating yourself because you couldn't get a "better" one, or because you can't be a better, more ideal partner. In this case, what you need is to find appropriate help for your depression - therapy, possibly medication, etc. - because it simply won't matter how much you have or how great it is, your depression will find a way to make it seem meaningless or trivial.

Develop and cultivate healthy mental defenses against jerks.

For some people, harsh criticism and unkind words can leave an especially strong impact and leave them feeling inordinately distressed. Fortunately, it is possible to build up mental defenses that will prevent other people's words from having such an impact.

An important first step is learning to distinguish between valid and invalid criticism. Realizing that someone is criticizing you unfairly takes out a lot of the sting. How To Recognize A Moral Abuser, How To Recognize Gaslighting, and Dealing With Criticism & Negative Reviews all have tips on how you can recognize unfair criticism for what it is. Another useful article is The Voice of Reason vs. the Control Freak - The Difference.

The next step is to reframe nasty words as laughable and pathetic. It can take awhile to get this mindset fully ingrained in your mind, but once you do you might find yourself simply laughing at something that would have left you a trembling mess before.

For example, if you get a nasty and rude message, you might be afraid of responding lest you start a fight with this person. What you can do is stop and take a deep breath and think, "Well, what's the worst this person is going to do? Yell at me?"

You might have someone in your life who constantly nitpicks everything you do and tries to make you feel horrible over the slightest mistake. Maybe you do something that you know is going to raise this person's unstoppable ire. You might stop and think, "Well, I've done the best I can here. If the Griper Baby decides to whine about it, that's not my problem."

Maybe there's someone who often makes disparaging comments about the content you enjoy. You might stop and think, "Ah, the Judgmental Jackass Department has decided to weigh in again."

Or maybe there's someone who makes mean comments about your personal appearance. You might think, "Yeah, but what are you gonna do to stop me from looking like this? Sucks to be you!"

It might take some time for this mental reprogramming to really sink in, and there might be some days when people end up breaking through your defenses anyway. However, it can still build you up a pretty solid defense against those who would otherwise tear you down.

Let go of the desire to prove, explain, or endear yourself to everyone.

The desire to be liked and understood is a very, very powerful one. And in many cases this is a good thing - it helps us form social connections and smooth things over when things to awry. But sometimes we end up trying too hard, or end up trying to please the wrong people.

So what does this mean in practice? Well, let's say you like a series and say as much. If the other person expresses dislike, you might just go "Oh, all right" without trying to convince this person otherwise. Or you might ask "Why is that?" If this person names a reason, you might mention how you perceive it differently. But what you don't do is say something to the effect of "No, you're wrong because..." You don't need to convince this person that this show is really actually the greatest thing ever. Let the matter be. Let go. If you have to, say to yourself "Well, that's all right. I don't need everyone to like all of the same things I like or see everything the same way I do."

It also means that if someone tries to tell you how you're doing something wrong when you have your own particular reasons for doing things this way, you don't need to stop and try to explain why you're not actually doing it wrong. Instead, you might just shrug and say "I appreciate your input, but I have my reasons" and leave it at that. If people can't respect this, that's their problem, not yours.

It can also mean accepting that once an argument becomes circular, it's time to withdraw from it and that it's okay to do so. You know you're in a circular argument when you find yourself repeating the same points over and over. At this point you say to yourself, "I don't need to waste my energy and time with this nonsense; I have other things I could be doing," and withdraw. Gracefully let the other person know that you're withdrawing from the argument, and then do so. You are not losing. You are not ceding victory. You are letting go of a lost cause so that you can do something more productive or enjoyable. This is in itself a victory, because you've taken charge of yourself and the situation and are now acting on your terms.

It also means acknowledging that people who only ever see fault in you and always assume the worst about your actions and words are likely never going to stop doing that no matter how hard you try. Maybe they'd rather be angry than wrong, maybe they just enjoy having someone to feel superior to, or maybe they just have some irrational wonk. But the reality is that they have issues, and their issues are not your problem.

It means accepting that you and some people are simply not going to be compatible with each other, not because there is genuine fault with either one of you, but because you simply aren't compatible. You do not have to try to make friends with such a person. There isn't something wrong with you if not everyone wants to be your friend.

And finally, it means recognizing that you do not need to say whatever you think people want to hear or agree with everything they say in an effort to make them like you. Decent people do not require you to agree with them on everything; if you have to do this, they are not decent people and you should not even want to be friends with them.

In summary...

You might also like:

7 Ways To Make Yourself A Happier Person
How To Cultivate A Strong Internal Identity
Simple Ways To Brighten Your Life & Exercise Your Imagination
Ways To Deal With Negative Emotions
Ways Young People Are Making Themselves Miserable

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