A lot of introverts are proud of their independence. I know I am.
And yet we often let other people’s opinions about us affect us deeply.
We may have just read three articles about introversion and were reminded that introverts have many gifts (certainly no fewer gifts than extroverts); that there are many celebrities and high-profile CEOs who are introverts; that it’s possible introverts make up 50% of the population, making us the majority and not simply “weird.” And then our hearts sink when a family member calls us a “special snowflake” because we said we needed a few moments to ourselves (how ironic that so many articles about introversion seek to remind us how normal our personality is, and yet many of these articles contain the phrase “introverts think they’re special snowflakes” in the comment section).
Don’t outsource your happiness to the trolls – the ones online or in real life. Treat your happiness as an in-house job.
I’m not saying don’t let people into your life. But there’s a huge difference between letting people share your life, and letting people control how you feel about your life. You need to be the source of your happiness. Humans are messy. And flawed. And although we can welcome other people into our lives, and let them make us happier (and help to make them happier), ultimately it’s up to us to control how the world will affect us.
Gretchen Rubin, in her follow-up book to The Happiness Project, noted “If I’ve learned one thing from my happiness project, it’s that if I want my life to be a certain way, I must be that way myself.” She went on to say “If I want my marriage to be tender and romantic, I must be tender and romantic.” Ultimately, we can only control ourselves.
Here are a few tips to help you stop outsourcing your happiness:
- You are the expert when it comes to you and what you need to be happy.
- Other people’s opinions can be helpful sometimes, but opinions are different from “the truth.”
- Keep a happiness journal. Each time you do something that makes you happy, write it down in the journal. When you find yourself wanting to do something fun, but not knowing what, take out the journal.
- Happiness isn’t the only feeling worth striving for. It can also be fulfilling to be content, calm, peaceful, or serene.