Life in your twenties (and beyond) gets tough. For most of our child and teenage years, a lot of us don’t have very much control over our life and circumstances. We are too young to understand that our happiness, sadness, and life situation are completely and totally our control. I lived a big chunk of my life unhappy but eventually, I learned that I wasn’t destined for unhappiness and I took control of my life. Below are 6 things you can learn to shift your thinking and create more happiness in your life.
For each tip below I created a graphic with a quote that goes along with it. Feel free to download, save to your motivation Pinterest board, or whatever will help you to make these 6 things more of a habit in your life! 🙂
6 Things I Learned That Helped Me Take Control Of My Life And My Happiness
1. Learn to forgive… for your own well being.
Forgiving someone who has wronged or hurt you can be a very difficult thing to do, but it is so incredibly powerful. Holding grudges or negative thoughts/feelings about a person or situation doesn’t hurt anyone except yourself. It keeps you weighed down with negative thoughts and emotions floating within you. When you forgive and let go of resentment, you allow yourself to be happy and at peace.
Instead of focusing on the other person, try focusing on yourself and how you feel. You can’t control someone’s actions, but how you choose to react can change the outcome of almost any situation completely. You may not be able to make the other person feel regret or apologize, but you can choose to be at peace with the situation and let go of the negative energy holding you back.
When you hold on to anger and resentment, you have given your power to the other person. But when you choose to forgive, you now hold the power. The power to move on from the past and be happy with the present.
Forgive to free yourself, not the other person.
2. Make the choice to be happy and improve your life.
It really is your choice to be happy. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but you need to make a choice and stick with it. It took me so long to learn this, and even once I made the decision to be happy and create more happiness in my life, there was still quite a bit of back and forth for a long time. After growing up thinking happiness is not my choice, but rather the result of my life circumstances or even how I was born, it was hard to make such a major belief shift. But it is possible, and if I can do it, so can you.
Your happiness is not defined by your external circumstances. Nothing is permanent, so your situation is what you make of it. You don’t like your job, or where you are living? Letting yourself remain unhappy because of temporary situations is such a waste of your beautiful and radiant self.
Even if your life circumstances may not be ideal, remind yourself that they are not permanent, and you can still be happy in this very moment, regardless of what is going on in the world around you.
Do you want to be happy and love your life? No one is stopping you from doing that, except yourself. Love yourself enough to give yourself the gift of learning to be happy.
“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.”
3. Stop relying on others for happiness.
Here is the harsh but powerful truth: Nobody is going to save you. You have to save yourself. Nobody knows what you want except for you, so no one is going to give you want you want. If you don’t take action to get what you want, no one is going to be sorry or filled with regret except for you.
Other people can’t make you happy, because they don’t know what makes you happy. You are the only person who can make you happy. Other people can contribute to your happiness, but if you can’t create happiness yourself, you will never find it from the outside world.
I really think this is one of the best things we can ever learn. When I stopped turning to people to find happiness, and stopped relying on others to help me get what I want, my life drastically changed. If you want something: happiness, new job, more money, better body, anything… just go get it. Saying another person is the reason you don’t have something or didn’t achieve something is not a valid excuse. If you want something bad enough, you will do what it takes to get it. Work hard, and do it for yourself. You’ll be amazed what you can do when you do things for yourself. 🙂
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” -Wolf of Wall Street
4. Learn to be “selfish” and live for yourself, don’t be afraid to lose people.
Now I don’t mean this in a greedy, horribly selfish way. I just mean, you have to do what’s truly best for you. If there is someone in your life holding you back, pulling you down or creating excess negativity in your life, it might be time to let them go. Maybe not for good, and you don’t need to completely cut them out of your life, but if you are in a dark place and struggling to get out, or trying to make a life change that they just don’t understand, sometimes you just have to do what you need to do to for the sake of your happiness.
Think about how you feel after you spend time with a certain person. How do they make you feel about yourself and your goals? Do they inspire you, encourage you, and bring more sunshine into your life, or do they do the opposite?
“Sometimes you have to move on without certain people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll catch up.”
Learning to be “selfish” and live truly for myself was one of the hardest and best thing I have ever done, even though I have sure lost some people along the way. But when I look at where I am now, how much I’ve accomplished in the past few years, and how happy I am, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I never thought I would be where I am today, but I know the only reason I’m here is because I learned how to stop letting anyone or anything hold me back. The people who care and support me positively and unconditionally are still here.
5. Stop caring what others think about your life.
Not everyone needs to understand or approve of your journey. And that’s totally fine! It’s your life and the things that make you happy are going to be different from what makes others happy. Just because something is right in their eyes, doesn’t mean it’s right for you or your life path.
Don’t be afraid of others disapproving of what you’re doing. If you are happy with your life and what you are doing, that’s all that matters. The ones who genuinely want you to be happy will see that and support you.
Not everyone will support your choices or your goals, and not everyone will understand why you don’t want the same things out of life as they do. But here’s the thing – it’s okay to be different. How boring would this world be if we were all the same?
Don’t let judgement and criticism from others knock you off your feet as you follow your dreams. It’s not their job to enjoy the life you live, it’s yours. And if you are lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.
6. Stop obsessing over & regretting the past, and start now.
As Rafiki from Lion King says to Simba, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!”
This took me a long long time to learn. I have wasted soooo much time feeling regret. The only way you can change the past, is to change how you feel about it.
Similar to holding a grudge, regret or any negative feelings about the past are doing nothing but hurting you. Let it go. Accept that you can’t change it, and move on.
Instead of regretting moving in with a boyfriend when I was 21 only to get my heart ripped out a few months later, I am grateful for the experience because I learned so much about myself during the healing process, and it made me who I am today.
Once you change the way you feel about a situation in the past, you are freeing yourself from it. You have a new chance at whatever you’re pursuing, every single day.
When you learn to let go of regret, you can accept the past and be grateful for what happened and how it shaped your life. After all, if everything in your life didn’t happen exactly the way it did, you wouldn’t be where you are today. Even if that sounds like a bad thing, if you are thinking, “well yeah, if I didn’t give up my dream of becoming a rock star to settle down and have a family, I would probably be a rock star right now,” what’s stopping you from becoming a rock star right now? Lots of successful rock stars have families, or have even became famous late in life after they already have children. Just an example, but hopefully you get my point.
It’s never too late to start ANYTHING in life, and whatever circumstance/person/situation you say is holding you back or stopping you from doing what you want to do will continue to stop you from doing so as long as you believe it.
Have you heard about that female bodybuilder in her 80’s that went viral around the internet? She started lifting weights in her 50’s, and was not very active her entire life before that. It is NEVER too late to chase your dreams. 🙂
If you liked these tips and want to continue learning how to take control of your life and create more happiness, here are some great books I recommend:
How do you feel about the tips I provided? What else have you learned that has helped you to take control of your life and happiness? I’d love to hear in the comments below! 🙂