We all know of people around us that can drive us nuts, really make us angry or annoyed very easily and quickly when they do something. It is said that every relationship is a mirror and we are reflecting back our own issues, insecurities or preferences. This article is about the people who can rob us from feeling good, but really it is only because we have allowed it to happen.
When we depend on others for our own happiness we are opening ourselves up for a fall. A relationship could be so important to us that spend a lot of time trying to make that person happy or trying to please them, and keep them in a good mood. The relationship could be your son or daughter, partner, a parent, best friend or your boss.. it can be anyone, it doesn’t matter – if you give this person too much control over you, its time to look at yourself.. and your own reactions to them.
As an example, if I were only in a good mood when my husband is in a good mood, I would be constantly on edge waiting to see what his form is like when he comes home, picking up on every sigh and moan and reacting to him. Spending my time trying to make him happy. What if the majority of the time he’s not particularly happy, or at least doesn’t show any signs of it. Then I would live a miserable existence waiting for him to be happy? I used to do this and believe me, it’s no way to live. We have a short time on earth and we should be aiming to make it as enjoyable as we can, not suffer through each day depending on someone else to lift us up. Then the worst is, if I pick up my husbands bad mood and pass it on to the kids, then the whole family is in a bad mood! So, I now don’t rely on anyone else to make me happy, I try my best to be in a good mood from the start of the day to the end, and not allow things or people to get me down. It doesn’t always work but at least I’m conscious of it.
I’ve learnt that the only person we can control is ourselves, and by allowing someone else to control us, and our mood, we will never find any kind of peace of mind or contentment. Also the only person we can truly rely on is ourselves too, that’s why its so important to learn how to lift yourself up out of a bad place. I spend a lot of time and energy helping children and teens to realize this, through life coaching, and its amazing how quickly children can ‘get it’. I also know as a parent my children will mirror by moods perfectly, shouting at each other when I shout, or happy and playful if I am.
Additionally, we all know that its not just people that we rely on for happiness, some people rely on other things to dictate their mood; their football team winning, the weather, money, their weight or size.. the list goes on! I saw something recently on facebook about how we, as humans, are always wanting the next thing, or waiting to get to the next stage of our life, ‘when I meet someone’, ‘when I have kids’….’when the kids are older’, ‘when they finish college’… ‘then I’ll be happy’ we kid ourselves. But isn’t the best time of our lives to be happy- right now!
We each hold the key to our own happiness – it is inside each of us; see the good in our lives, be grateful for them and do things that make us happy. It is not always easy, it can be hard work! Lets not ignore there are also bad things that can happen to us, we could lose someone or have family member with a serious illness, financial problems… life can be tough, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t grieve or get proper help, but whatever you do, when things are bad, take action and reach out to others.
In relation to people, here are my steps to freeing yourself from a person who makes you miserable (if you can’t get them out of your life altogether learn how to change your reaction to them).
- Awareness – Realize that you are starting to react negatively to someone and catch yourself. Break that habit.
- Remind yourself – its not about me its more about them, whatever they are saying is about their mood/ the day they’re having, their stuff etc.
- Ignore – Let it go right over your head, as much as you can
- Action – take action where you need to, apologize if you were in the wrong but do it all from a good calm place, after a few deep breaths, not from an angry defensive place.
- Choose happy – most importantly if you were in a good mood, stay in a good mood, don’t let someone else take your happiness away!
I just want to finish by telling you that recently my children and I were watching (and not for the first time either) one of the best kids movies around at the moment, ‘Trolls’, which has some really fantastic lessons about happiness and is a real feel good movie. Later on that night, as I was tucking them in, I asked them what they learned from the movie (I don’t normally ask this question but this movie just makes you want to… to see if they ‘get it’?), and one of them said ‘you can’t get happiness from something, it’s just inside you!’ I was so proud! Out of the mouths of babes… it only took me about 35 years to figure that out!
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First written March 2013, updated May 2017.