How to Make People Happy: Stop Trying to Make People Happy

Do you get frustrated trying to help people be happier in their lives?

Do you find yourself giving your best advice over and over to people who never take it?

Are you tired of hearing people talk about the same old problems again and again, and having the same conversations over and over?

Have you given up on people because they just never seemed to want to get past the same old patterns in their life?

Would you be interested in knowing how to free yourself of this experience and never feel frustrated again?

Try out these 3 simple steps to feel great about helping people be happier:

Step 1) Realize that the majority of people don’t want to be happy. It’s true. Most people want to feel safe and accepted by others and they want to imagine a time in the future when they could feel more confident, but they do not want to be happy now. In fact, most people cannot even conceive of how they could be happier now – to them it feels like such a far leap – an impossibility because their attention is only focused on how they are not feeling safe, accepted or confident enough now.

When you talk to them about being happier or doing something that you think would lead to that, they feel like they are standing on the edge of a huge chasm with a 1000 foot drop into nowhere and you are asking them to step off the cliff. It’s not going to happen.

When you talk to most people, you will find the conversations much easier and more productive if you focus on helping them feel safe and accepted. Then you can talk to them, if you want to, about small ways they could feel more confident about what they are most interested in, not what you are most interested in. And definitely don’t talk about them being happier because that is too far beyond what they feel they can focus on right now.

Step 2) Get over yourself (I’m writing this for me as much as for you). There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to sell people something they don’t want to buy. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to help someone be happy when they don’t want to be. Let’s face it. Who are you to give them advice anyway? You don’t know how it felt to go through what they’ve been through. You don’t know what it’s like to be them. You’re not faced with what they have to deal with everyday. These kind of statements are going through the person’s head every time you try to give advice to someone who doesn’t want it. And let’s face it. They might be right!

What is it about your idea of yourself that tells you you know more than them about what’s best for them? You might want to consider all the ways you could be helping yourself be happier if you didn’t feel like you had the moral authority or obligation to pass on your “wisdom” to people who don’t want it anyway. What parts of your life could use more of your time, energy and attention?

Step 3) Do what’s most exciting to you – period. When you focus on what you are most excited about without “trying” to have an impact on other people, you are free to explore, discover and create things that reflect your greatest excitement. When you try to have a certain impact on people with your thoughts or advice without focusing on doing and saying what feels most exciting to you, your advice can feel stale, forceful and inauthentic. When you let your words come out as a result of the process of it being the most exciting thing you can say right now, people will either accept what you say or not, but either way it doesn’t matter. You are offering your advice because it’s the most exciting thing for you to do right then – period, and that not only gives the advice the best chance of having a real impact, it allows you to feel excited about it regardless of the outcome.

And I do see the irony in me writing this post in an attempt to help you be happier :-).

-Andy

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