By Paul Dalton
“Happiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval.” ~Francis Wilshire
It is only in the last few years of my life that I have felt genuinely happy and comfortable in my own skin.
Until my early thirties the dominant feeling I carried around with me was one of extreme social awkwardness. Which is strange, because most people who knew me prior to that time would have described me as a confident guy who got on with just about everybody.
I’m aware that outwardly I was very skilful at presenting a positive and socially pleasing demeanor, while on the inside feeling anxious and exhausted from keeping up the act.
This wasn’t just at work or at parties, it was rife in my closest relationships too—with my friends, my family and, most bizarrely, with my fiancée.
Perhaps the reason I was so well liked by so many is because I would agree with just about everything anyone said, so I was no bother to them. In disputes, I’d take both sides. I was always the first to offer a hand when someone needed help, but not because I felt charitable; I just wanted them to like me more.
If I got angry or frustrated, which I did often, you would never have known it. You would have seen someone who appeared unflappable, regardless of the circumstances. If I was hurt, let down or disappointed, my lightening reflex was to smile and say, “That’s okay!”
Somewhere along the line I had developed the philosophy that my happiness was dependent on the approval of others.
This meant that my level of contentment was proportionate to how pleased I thought others were with me moment to moment. Of course, the problem was that I rarely thought they approved of me enough, so I was rarely happy.
Now that I think about it, some of my earliest memories involve me trying extremely hard to be a “good boy,” to do what I was told, and how lonely it felt to fall out of favor with my parents.
I never thought about what I wanted from life, only what would make others want to have me around. Read More
Written by James Clear Nov 12, 2013Last updated: Apr 19, 2016
There are choices that you make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to your health and happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically.
With that said, here are 10 common mistakes that can prevent you from being happy and healthy, and the science to back them up.
When the Buffer team explored the science of happiness before on this blog, the interest was overwhelming. So I hope this can provide equally valuable insights:
Ultimately, the human experience is about connecting with other people. Connection is what provides value and meaning to our lives. We’re wired for it and research proves just that.
For example, people with strong social ties were found to be healthier and have a lower risk of death. Additionally, it was found that as age increases, the people with stronger social ties tend to live longer. And it seems that friendships can even help you fight cancer.
The benefits of deep relationships extend to marriage as well. Being in a long-term relationship decreases the risk of depression, suicide, and substance abuse. And one study of almost 6,000 peoplefound that marriage led to increased longevity while never marrying was the strongest predictor of premature death.
Finally, multiple studies (here, here, and here) show that strong family ties are one of the primary reasons the people of Okinawa, Japan have incredible longevity despite being one of the poorest prefectures in the country.
Connection and belonging are essential for a healthy and happy life. Whether it’s friendship, marriage, or family — humans need close connections to be healthy. Read More
POSTED MAY 16, 2016, 9:30 AM
Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor
Many people have low self-acceptance. There can be many reasons for this, but one widely accepted theory is that because we develop our self-esteem, in part, from others appreciating us, people with low self-acceptance may have had parents who lacked empathy during their childhood. Consequently, in their adult lives, they may need much stronger affirmation from others than most people do. In other words, ordinary levels of approval do not “move the needle” on their self-esteem.