1. Make Yourself a Priority.
No, it’s not ALL about you, but No it’s not NEVER about you. Your needs matter and other people’s needs matter. But remember when I said your needs matter?
It’s up to you to value yourself, take care of yourself and, set your own healthy boundaries for yourself – it’s not anyone else’s responsibility. And if you don’t consider yourself in any of the equations, you’ll likely find yourself feeling exhausted, run down, bitter and frustrated – and that’s no good.
I’ll use one of my favourite metaphors to illustrate this quite appropriately here: when you’re on a plane and travelling with a child, you are absolutely required to put your own mask on first before helping the child because if you don’t take care and put your mask on first, you will be no good to anyone.
2. Start Being Yourself.
And do it Con Mucho Gusto (with a lot of gusto)! Trying to be someone else is a waste of who you are.
As much as you may think you need to become someone else to be worthwhile, happy, content, acceptable etcetera etcetera… if you can make it your intention to accept, embrace, and just be exactly who you are I guarantee you will start to feel worthwhile, happy, content and acceptable in no time.
3. Surround Yourself With People Who are Good for You.
Believe it or not we are ALL very influenced by the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
If you surround yourself with people who bring you joy, encouragement, acceptance and love you can’t help but feel really good. Conversely, if you chose to spend your time with those who are always negative, judgemental, or critical… well, you guessed it.
4. Value Your Mistakes.
I think it’s safe to say there is no such thing as having great success without failing at least once, or more realistically, dozens of times. There’s no such thing as doing it right the first time, every time – for anyone. Mistakes and failures are the best way you can learn and grow.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” — Nelson Mandela
The first time I wrote the Graduate Requisite Exam (similar to the GMAT or LSAT) to get in to grad school I did not get the score I needed to for my application. And let me tell you, I. Was. Devastated.
I had studied for months and months and months and was SO nervous going in to the exam, but did manage to persevere and get through the timed exam in the half day it took to write it. And after all that I found out my score wasn’t good enough and I literally fell to pieces right then and there, and thought I might actually decompose on the spot.
But after a good cry and an impressive pity party I realized I had 2 choices: I could give up right now and not fulfill my dream of becoming a therapist OR I could pull up my socks, take my sorry bum to the library to check out another stack of exam prep study books and get back to work. You can guess which choice I made.
5. Start Enjoying and Appreciating the Things You Have.
Did you know that even the wealthiest people in the world have been surveyed about their financial satisfaction and most of them have stated that they will be happy once they have just 10% more?
Do you think having ‘more’ will REALLY make you happier? For the moment, maybe, but not for the long run.
If you live in a perpetual state of “When – Then” i.e. “WHEN I have, achieve, or am this, this, or this, THEN I’ll be happy, content and satisfied with myself and my life.”
But do you know what? The THEN never actually comes because there’s always more to want or a higher status to achieve. And in the meantime you’re missing out on the now, and the now is really the only thing we have that is guaranteed.
6. Look for Opportunities to Help Others.
“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” — Mother Teresa
I’ve talked about this one before, and one of the biggest things any of us can do for our genuine personal happiness is to give our time, energy, effort, and money to help others.
It can be little things like opening the door for someone, or letting someone go in front of you in line at the grocery store. Or it can be bigger things like volunteering for a non-profit organization on a regular basis. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it’s something selfless and thoughtful you’re doing for someone else.
7. Accept Yourself and Others as Less than Perfect.
Breaking News: You will never be perfect, no matter how hard you try. I’m sorry. And neither will anyone else.
And insisting that you, and those around you, must be perfect will only leave you feeling disappointed, discouraged, frustrated, and let-down.
Grace, acceptance, and fair expectations for both yourself and others will do wonders in helping you feel much happier and much more content.
8. Do what Needs to Get Done Even if You Don’t Feel Like It in the Moment
The difference between successful people and people who wish they were successful is successful people get stuff done and things tick off their to-do lists even if, or more aptly, especially when, they don’t really feel like it.
As annoying, overused, and outdated as the circa 1990’s quote is, stop coming up with excuses of why you don’t want to, or shouldn’t have to, and Just Do It.
You’ll feel great when, and because, you did.
9. Start Noticing How Wealthy You are Now.
Even when things are not quite going how you want them to, or feel tougher than you’d like, you actually have quite a lot and you do have many things to be grateful for.
If you went to bed with a roof over your head and a warm blanket on top of your body, or can get food from the fridge whenever you’re hungry, or have clean drinking water at the turn of a tap, or have access to healthcare, education and whichever religion you choose, you are wealthy.
I’m not saying you don’t have the right to ever feel bad because there’s always someone who has it worse, but I am saying that in spite of sometimes feeling like you got the short end of the stick in some way or another, there are times when it’s good for us to reflect on the things we have to be grateful for.