How to Stay Happy When Those Around You Are Not
By Jennie Lee
No one likes conflict. And when those around us are unhappy about something it is easy to take it personally, especially when they are blaming us for their unhappiness! The most typical responses are to try to make the problem go away by fixing it, or to escape by avoiding the issue. Let’s consider a third response.
Consider for a moment someone in your life who is unhappy about something that relates to you. Now get centered. Be still and take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you cannot make someone else happy any more than they can make you happy. Happiness is a choice we elect within our own being, regardless of anyone or anything on the outside.
Physically, mentally and emotionally let go of feeling responsible the other person’s happiness. This does not mean that you isolate yourself or become unresponsive to the legitimate needs of those you care about. It means that you stay focused within so that you can appropriately analyze what is going on.
Take some time in reflective silence, calming any emotional reactions you feel about the other person’s difficulty. Notice any impulses that arise to take it on or defend your position in relation to it. Breathe through these.
When you feel calm, objectively look at any part you play in the other person’s discomfort. Is there something that you can do to help them, without compromising your own boundaries or taking on a false sense of responsibility for their wellbeing? If so, make those changes. If it seems the issue really is not about you at all, then in your mind compassionately send them peace and strength to find their own solutions. Visualize a harmonious outcome for all involved.
Finally, whether you have decided to engage in personal change or support the other person in his/hers, decide in this moment to stay in your happy place. It does not help either of you to take on someone else’s misery. Remember happiness is ultimately a choice we each make. We alone are responsible for creating our happiness, through our purposeful activities, loving relationships, creative pursuits and spiritual practices. And by sharing our happiness with others, we offer an example for them to follow as they make choices for their own wellbeing.
Bio: Jennie Lee is a Yoga Therapist with 20 years experience teaching the benefits of Classical Yoga & Meditation. By making the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras applicable to daily challenges, Jennie helps clients discover how to lead joyful, authentic lives. Holistic lifestyle counseling, meditation instruction, energy management, relaxation techniques, and therapeutic yoga postures, are all part of her process guiding people through positive personal change. Jennie’s new book on this topic is due for release from Llewellyn Worldwide in January 2016 (title to be determined.) She coaches in person on the island of Oahu, and by phone or Skype internationally.
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