The meaning of happiness is different to each and every one of us. For some it is treasuring the time spent with family and friends, for others it is financial freedom. The rest is made up of hobbies, whatever those maybe, travel, sport, reading etc. All of these aspects of happiness are reached with the same first step, which is:
Realising you have the right to choose.
More often than not, we live for other people. We may not intend to but the pushy overbearing natures of some individuals leaves us backed into an uncomfortable corner. Before we know it we are spending Christmas in the place we said we definitely wouldn’t, we‘ve paid for a holiday we don’t want to go on and we’ve committed to a slap up meal at an expensive restaurant we can’t afford. It could even be other burdens like looking after family and/or friends.
Yes I said it.
Not everyone wants to spend their life looking after others but they feel they are obligated to, usually by other people. Just because someone is your family or friend, it doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate anything to you, especially how to live your life. There are stories of people losing those close to them because they did not choose them as a bridesmaid, invite them to an event or visit that person. Are these really people who care? If someone loves you and cares for your wellbeing, they will tell you to do whatever makes you happy, even if that means them missing out. Sadly, this species of human is few and far between. More often than not, the people surrounding us have set expectations of our actions and often presume and assume we will do whatever task they conjure up next.
So how do we get out that one?
Simple. We say no!
Saying no takes balls if you are not naturally assertive and it is always better to say no in a polite way. You may want to offer up an explanation if you feel really bad, although it is probably better not to bother. If you are 100% soft 99% of the time then the people who know you will be so taken a back at your ‘no’ that they may sense it is unwise to question you further. If they do ask why you’ve said no, try get into the habit of saying ‘I just don’t want to’, or ‘it’s not for me’. Just like you are not obligated to cave into their demands, you are not required to provide evidence to satisfy them either. Whatever reaction you have received you should not feel guilty because you have been true to yourself. If the person wants to make an issue of it then they have not considered you and your feelings anyway.
Keeping your behaviour and responses surprising keeps others on their toes. They are less likely to harass you to do x y z when you’ve just finished a b and c for them. They will also start to treat you with respect the more you give answers that are true to how you really feel. If this does not breed respect then you will have to use some ruthless scissors to snip them from your life. Life really is too short to tolerate shitty people who refuse to understand and accept you.
Another aspect to the first step of happiness is accepting that others may reject you on the quest for their own happiness. They have the right to say no too and the best way to respond to them is with humility. Their decisions should not determine your worth or your life path, so don’t take offence!
Ultimately, you should want anyone you care about to be happy and as stated, that usually means the freedom to do what they want without negative feelings, or people unnecessarily holding them back. We all risk waking up one day to find we have ran out of time to do what we really wanted to.
So start saying no to others…and say yes to yourself!