“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” – Jane Marczewski (aka, Nightbirde).
Some of you might recognize the quote above. When Nightbirde told the judges and audience on America’s Got Talent that she was suffering from terminal cancer, everyone was blown away by how positive she was.
Her drive and will to make the most of what time she had left was inspiring, and it got me thinking about what true happiness is.
If we take Nightbirde’s example, true happiness isn’t something that comes easily. It’s a decision we make. From the things we actively seek, to the situations and environments we avoid.
And that’s what I’ll be covering today, 8 things truly happy people rarely do. As you read through this list, I hope it inspires you to decide to be happy, even if it’s not easy or convenient to do so.
1) They don’t hold grudges
Forgiveness is a funny thing – it’s so powerful, yet it’s often overlooked. Why forgive someone who never apologized? Or never gave you closure?
The answer is simple: You forgive to free yourself. Not to let them off the hook.
And that’s something truly happy people understand. It’s also why they don’t hold grudges.
They deal with their emotions just like everyone else, but they opt to shed the weight of feeling angry and upset because they know it’s not healthy to carry that load for so long.
That’s why they choose to forgive.
Because ultimately, life goes on whether you choose to hold resentment or not. But the only person who suffers from it is you, not the person or people who hurt you!
2) They don’t take things personally
I vividly remember driving with my uncle one day. A white van cut him off and rather than apologize, the driver flipped his middle finger up and beeped loudly.
My uncle didn’t react. He let the van drive off before continuing our journey. When I asked him why he didn’t get angry back or beep at the van driver, he said this:
“Who knows what the guy is going through? He must be having a pretty bad day to act like that, but it’s nothing to do with me so why make it worse?”
At the time I couldn’t appreciate the message he was trying to convey, but as an adult I get it.
We don’t know what other people are going through, and usually, bad behavior is a reflection of their circumstances rather than something we’ve done.
So, while you don’t have to excuse it or take it lying down, you should avoid taking it personally. Happy people take this approach, and it saves them a ton of energy and emotions.
3) They don’t spend time with negative people
Happy people are in the business of protecting their peace. They know that letting even one negative individual in can disrupt that.
So they limit the time they spend with such people.
They aren’t cruel. They don’t make a big deal out of it. They simply distance themselves.
Even if it’s a family member, they’ll act civilly, but they won’t be organizing BBQs or Sunday dinners with them.
Instead, happy people surround themselves with positive energy.
They look for other like-minded individuals who will lift them up rather than bring them down with their pessimism and negativity.
4) They don’t put down other people’s dreams
Or their achievements…
My partner and I finally got a new car. We took it round to some of his relatives for lunch one day, and to my surprise, they weren’t very happy for us.
In fact, they started listing everything that could potentially go wrong with the new car- we left feeling a bit deflated.
On the other hand, a good family friend noticed the new car and came over to congratulate us. They were beaming with happiness, knowing how much we’d saved up to achieve this little goal.
I guess it’s pretty obvious who is the happy person in this scenario. They don’t feel the need to shit on others because why would they?
They’re not jealous or resentful. They want to spread and share their joy, showing genuine excitement for other people’s dreams and accomplishments.
5) They don’t focus on things they can’t control
Another thing that people who are truly happy rarely do is focus on what they can’t control…
Instead, they pour all their attention and energy into the things they can do.
For example, you’re applying for an important, life-changing job. Rather than stress about the outcome, which you can’t do much about, you should instead focus on doing a great job in the interview.
That way, even if you don’t get the job, you’ll still feel proud for having tried your best.
Now apply this mindset to everything you do in life, and watch how much your stress and worry levels go down…
As I mentioned at the start, you can’t wait for life to stop being hard before you choose to be happy. Even battling cancer at a young age, Nightbirde understood this.
That’s why she kept her eye on things she could control, like her singing and influence on the world, instead of letting her devastating prognosis overshadow everything else.
6) They don’t live in the past (or future)
Coming from a large and dysfunctional family, I know what it is to live in the past. Most of my family are still stuck there, never fully moving on or getting over issues that took place 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.
Yet, I’ve seen my mom work hard to let go of these things and live in the present. It’s taken her a few years, but she’s finally learned how to do that, and boy, is she happier than ever before.
She now focuses on her day-to-day life and doesn’t let her family drag her back into negative trauma cycles.
And you can do the same.
Stop ruminating over what could have been, or what will happen in the future.
Focus on what you can do today to make it the best day possible. Or the most relaxing day. Or the most productive.
Because when you focus your mind on living in the present moment, you’ll naturally feel more in control, more positive, and as a result, happier.
7) They don’t compare themselves to others
When Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” he wasn’t messing around.
You see when you compare yourself to others, you stop seeing all the wonderful things about your personality or lifestyle. All you see is others who have more.
Happy people rarely do this.
They know life is made up of people who have more and people who have less. It’s useless to chase what others have or degrade ourselves for not being as pretty, rich, or popular.
Because none of those things guarantee happiness.
Instead, focusing on yourself, building a life you’re proud of, and being authentic is what matters.
Concentrate your energy on those things, and you’ll be much happier than if you spend hours looking at other people’s lifestyles!
8) They don’t neglect themselves
And finally, happy people rarely neglect their self-care.
They know the importance of listening to their body and mind. If they feel tired, they rest.
If their body craves nutrition, they dedicate some time each day to cooking healthy meals. The same goes for exercise or practicing mindfulness.
You might notice that happy people do a lot for others – that’s true. But look behind the scenes and you’ll notice that they’re also great at setting boundaries and prioritizing their own well-being.
After all, how can you pour from an empty cup?
So, we’ve covered 8 things truly happy people rarely do.
I hope this article has inspired you to find happiness by letting go of certain things, whether it’s grudges or focusing on things out of your control.
Life’s too short so let’s make a conscious effort to enjoy the little things and find joy even on the darkest of days!