Sometimes happiness feels unattainable and out of our control. I have been thinking lately about happy women in my life and WHY they are so happy. Consequently, that has led me to think about what also makes women unhappy. What are happy women doing that set them apart from everyone else?
1. Happy women surround themselves with happy women
How’s that for stating the obvious? Sometimes it’s the most obvious things that are the hardest to realize. I will never forget one night when I was venting to my husband about relationships in my life that felt toxic and poisonous. Friendships that felt very one sided, negative, and were making me feel stressed out with the amount of “nurturing” that I was needing to put into them. He looked at me and, as if he were telling me the sky is blue, very simply said, “You know that you can CHOOSE who you are friends with, right?” I decided right then and there that from that point forward, I would choose which relationships in my life were priorities. I would choose to surround myself with friends who are happy, positive, and genuinely want the best for me. Since that time, I have drawn a hard line of what I consider an acquaintance and what I consider a friend.
2. Happy women know when to say yes
I am a firm believer that serving others makes you very happy. Some of the happiest women I know are constantly putting others first and doing things for other people. This is not a new concept. Feeling unhappy? Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about what you can do for someone else.
3. Happy women know when to say no
Let me preface this by saying, I have a hard time telling people “no.” This has been an “ah-ha” for me recently and something I have become fairly adamant and a firm believer in. Say it with me ladies, “NOOOOOO!” Man, that feels strange doesn’t it? As women, we tend to take on everything. Everyone’s problems, everyone’s emotions, everyone’s troubles, EVERYTHING. It is a heavy load, isn’t it?
I overheard a conversation the other day. Two people were talking about a woman and how they felt sorry for her because she was constantly being taken advantage of and being walked all over. People were using and abusing her good nature and inability to say no. Do I condone people who milk the system and take, take, take? No. Do I feel sorry for that woman who is being taken advantage of? NO! She allows it to happen by not setting boundaries and saying “no.”
A woman in MY life, whom I adore and has a heart of gold, once made a goal to stop saying yes to everything and everyone and instead started saying, “I’m so sorry but that won’t work for me” and just leave it at that. No made up excuses to justify it. Simple enough, right? So if the only thing that has been getting you through your week is the thought of putting the kids to bed and turning on Grey’s Anatomy with a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in your hand... then maybe watching your neighbors kids “is just not going to work for you tonight.” And that’s okay!
4. Happy women celebrate others success
And they do it without feeling envious or less than.
I remember one night scrolling through Instagram and seeing post after post about people’s accomplishments. So and so just built a gorgeous, brand new home while another so and so just landed an awesome job that pays big bucks. And there I sat in my small apartment, with my small paycheck, feeling…well…small. I disliked the way their pictures made me feel but sat there “liking” all of their posts because that’s what you are supposed to do, right? It took a couple pity parties and a large dose of reality to make me realize that praising others accomplishments has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME. We are a self-centered society that doesn’t like anything unless it benefits us or puts us ahead of the game and blah, blah, blah, me, me, me, I, I, I.
Hate the taste of humble pie, love the growth and lessons learned from it.
5. Happy women give others the benefit of the doubt
Let me introduce you to one of my resolutions for 2014.
We’ve probably all been in a conversation with Lucy where you say something negative about Suzy.
“Suzy is avoiding me and won’t return any of my text messages.”
“Can you believe that Suzy said that to me in that tone?”
“Suzy has bailed on me the last 3 times we had plans.”
And then, at the end of your rant, Lucy tries to shed some light on Suzy and says,
“Well maybe her phone wasn’t receiving text messages.”
“I don’t think she meant that the way you took it.”
“I know that she is swamped with her job and 3 kids. She probably feels like she can’t keep up.”
And then you want to punch Lucy right square in the nose.
It’s hard to assume that people really have good intentions when you feel wronged by them, I know. But in the end, the only person who it ends up hurting is YOU.
For one week, one day, or even in one conversation, try to give the women in your life the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. Your positive thinking will turn in to habit and you (and others!) will be happier because of it.
Be the person who spreads happiness WHEREVER they go, not WHENEVER they go.