This article is the continuation of part 1, of 52 Ways to Be Happier. I recommend that you read this article from the beginning.

Happiness Habit #5:  Know that Happiness Comes from Within

Happiness comes from within. When we channel our positive energy, experiences and even our outward emotions (smiles) we create more positivity in our lives. This in turn can be shared with others. Do not look to material possessions, money or vicarious experiences such as watching others live exciting lives on television to bring you the joy that you need for you in your life. Happiness is born within yourself. We cultivate it through small daily habits such as smiling and perpetuating kindness.

Happiness can certainly come from others, shared experiences and from the joy we receive from spreading happiness through kindness but its origins begin within us all. We cannot wait for others to give us the happiness we need to be able to create our own.

Money cannot by happiness. Material possessions cannot provide us emotional happiness. We can certainly surround ourselves with luxurious goods – the trendiest technology and the biggest homes but all these things are empty without the company of others and the happiness we can gain from them. An empty life, emotionally, can be full of the best possessions in the world. A prime example of this we can all see and maybe even relate to is the materialistic world of Hollywood and the celebrities in it. Many celebrities have millions of dollars (more zeroes in their bank accounts than many of us will ever see in our lifetimes) but their lives can be devoid of personal connections. They fear that the friends they make are only interested in the material possessions they bring to the table and therefore fear that their relationships are built on weak foundations.

The average marriage length in Hollywood is a testament to this. How can we advocate that money buys happiness when the richest and most exclusive group of people in the world has high divorce rates, short marriages, drug addictions and suicides occurring at an alarming rate? This can also be tied into the habit of not gossiping. The closer the magnifier is we are watched under, the harder it is for us to live our lives in a space where genuine happiness is created and sustained. Happiness certainly comes from within but we can be robbed of it externally from ourselves. The world is filled with negativity and we must learn to build thicker skins to recover from this. Knowing that your happiness is the most valuable thing in your life and that it belongs to you – and only you – makes it harder for anybody to rob you of it or to hurt you. You are the curator of your own happiness and the master of your own destiny. The way in which you choose to live your life helps to create happiness for yourself and for others as well.

Know that happiness comes from within.

Happiness starts from within. Being able to smile, laugh and communicate in a positive manner, helps to create happiness within ourselves. Again, being dependent upon others for something we need to create within ourselves is undesirable. Learn to be the creator of your own happiness. Once you learn that happiness comes from within, it is harder for others to rob you of it.

Happiness cannot be bought. It is not tied to material goods- that new shirt from your favorite clothing store will not give you happiness. It may give you a new sense of confidence but not happiness.

In other places in the world, women and girls are abused and harmed because they want to get an education that they are being denied, sex trafficking, slavery and world hunger still exist – take a deep breath and pause and consider yourself among the lucky ones who do not have to face these kinds of tragedies. Take pause and enjoy your life. Once you can realize your own happiness, you can go ahead and take it to the outside world. Help others with your happiness by joining clubs and volunteer organizations.

Happiness Habit #6:  Exit Draining Relationships early

When relationships are emotionally, physically or financially draining it is best to exit them before it is too late. It is always important to remember to value your happiness and not devalue it. It is also equally important to ensure that your happiness is not solely dependent on someone else. You cannot build a life where you only gain positivity from others – you need to be able to create positivity for yourself independent of others.

When relationships create unhappiness, they are creating negativity that lingers long after the person exits our lives. The longer the person stays, the longer the memory of the unhappy, unpleasant and overall negativity lingers. It is hard to stay in draining relationships if you strive to create happiness in your life. You need to get rid of the negativity that is holding you back from living the life you deserve. We all deserve to be happy and once we find that within ourselves, we can then and only then share it with others.

Often times it is easier to see this when we look at other relationships as a third party observer. When we are engrossed in what we believe is genuine love we forgive more than what we would think acceptable from a distance. Verbal abuse from afar seems cruel and unusual but when in your own relationship you may justify it and think that it is not as bad as physical violence. Many times we stay in relationships long after they have stopped providing us happiness or a sense of joy. We begin to fear being alone more than we do being hurt – physically or emotionally. It might be better for us to take a step back in our relationships and reevaluate our situations in order to understand if they are in fact beneficial relationships or if they are straining us. It is okay to leave a relationship when it becomes a source of anxiety, unhappiness or panic. It is the fear of uncertainty – that once we leave a relationship we will either be alone forever or never find someone we love ever again – that keeps us in a place that is otherwise toxic and harmful. Value yourself and your happiness. If relationships threaten your happiness in the long-term, it is important to remember that you should leave them. Do not fear the future when it comes to deciding to leave a relationship, evaluate the present and act accordingly.

Happiness Habit #7: Don’t Want to Please Everyone

Strive to please yourself first and foremost. Accomplishing personal goals that you set for yourself allow you to better yourself and live a more fulfilling and happy life. Do not set your sights on pleasing everyone. This, firstly, is entirely impossible and can be a waste of time if the people you are trying to please do not care for you in the same way you care for them. Secondly, it is your happiness that creates positivity in your life and not the approval and satisfaction of others (although this can be a factor of your happiness level). It is hard enough to satisfy ourselves in emotional, mental and physical ways for us to also be focused on pleasing everyone around us. Those who love us understand this. We all make sacrifices in our lives. Don’t let your happiness be a sacrifice in your journey to please others.

Generally, the younger we are the more we seek to please others because generally when we are younger (especially in high school) we seek validation from others more so than ourselves. In some cases, we lie to ourselves about who we are and what we believe in and compromise a good part of ourselves in our journey to seek approval from others in social settings. This is a bad place to be in – we need to understand that it is okay to be exactly who we are, and if someone does not accept who we are, then they do not deserve a place in our lives. This is important to instill in the youths of our culture because they deserve to feel accepted and loved without fear of being bullied or ridiculed for their beliefs. We cannot expect everyone to accept us for who we are but we should be able to expect it from society. This is a dream at the moment rather than a reality due to the prevalent world of bullying – both online and in schools – that makes it hard for kids and teenagers to feel like they have the right to be different and be accepted for who they are. Just be who you are. Make yourself happy and surround yourself with people who have a vested interest in your happiness.

Live in the moment and make decisions based on what makes you happy. Seeking approval from others in all aspects of your life is emotionally draining and can be a waste of time. At the end of the day, you have to live with the decisions you make and you must always learn to be able to please yourself. If we mold ourselves into a false image, a person who we think society wants us to be, then we are lying to ourselves and true happiness will never become a reality.

Why is that we are all hard-wired to seek approval from others? Why do we have an innate desire to please people – even complete strangers when we are out in public? Understand that the best happiness comes from within and with that notion the greatest approval we need to seek is approval from ourselves. Are we happy with whom we are? If no, don’t change to accommodate the societal norms of our culture. Change because you want to…change because you are unsatisfied and because you know that it does not matter what other’s think of you.

We are all people pleasers at heart and that is a large motivator as to why we seek acceptance and approval from others. We want to feel important and indispensable to others. This is a big reason why when people are in relationships or friendships and even at work that they sacrifice a part of who they are in order to make their friends, partners or bosses happier. We want to feel important but we need to remember not to forget who we are just because we want to make a good impression with others. If you give things up in any sort of relationship, you set yourself up for an even greater failure should that person decide to move on, should you decide to quit your job or should your friendship end. Don’t compromise yourself for anyone. Stand your ground and be who you are not who you think people want you to be. Don’t forget about your ability to say no.

Statistically, it is much harder for women to be able to say no because women are inherently people pleasers – they want others to like them. This may also be because women are more likely to gossip about each other so they make greater sacrifices to their sense of selves in order to stay ahead of the gossip or to prevent themselves from being a part of it.

We run the risk of making promises we cannot keep when we work to only please others. We may make stronger commitments at work than we are capable of and we may make sacrifices we generally wouldn’t in order to keep a relationship going. We sacrifice who we are, gain back a false sense of confidence because we feel loved or needed by someone else and fall into a spiral where we lose an essential part of ourselves- we lose our own personal goals and dreams while we push to achieve the goals of others. Please yourself and then think about being able to please others.

Don’t become a sycophant for your boss, your significant other or for your friends. Don’t become the proverbial yes man. You are not a doormat and if you let yourself get walked all over, it will be hard to stop the vicious cycle it creates. Don’t be afraid to speak up and admit what you need from a relationship whether it is a little time off from your boss, some understanding from your partner or some distance from your friends. Evaluate what you want and ask for it. If you are denied then you know you are in a toxic relationship. Be yourself, and have the courage to know that who you are is who you are meant to be. Changing to please others is fruitless. Continue to read part 3 of this article here.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

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