Sometimes you can’t make everyone happy.
Because in this world of ours, it’s so easy to find a reason to be unhappy.
You don’t have to spend much time looking.
This can be found as soon as you turn on your television. Or by consuming other forms of media like the news.
You don’t have to look very hard. There are people, viewpoints, and movements all around waiting to piss you off and make you angry.
And if you’re surrounded by unhappy people, trying to help them out well… you may be fighting a losing battle.
Because what if they don’t want to be happy?
What if nothing you do, say, or try is going to make them happy and finally crack a smile?
Because you can’t make everyone happy.
Our state of happiness is something we should personally be responsible for. We are the Captains of this ship called Life.
Looking for Sources of Unhappiness is Part of Our Evolution
There was a time in history when we humans were lunch.
We learned to ignore the beauty of the wildflowers on the paths we walked. Why?
Well because there could be a huge Bear behind the big tree to our left. And keeping an eye out for threats meant you lived longer.
But now our threats aren’t as immediate.
Those of us in the developed world actually have the luxury of stopping and enjoying the flowers. A beautiful sunset, or time on the beach.
But… we don’t!!
At least not all of us. And I myself am guilty of this.
We may feel we can’t because we need to be constantly productive. Or because we’re chasing our tail trying to please everyone else around us.
Pleasing People is a Learned Skill – You Can’t Make Everyone Happy
When you were a baby, the first time you smiled at your exhausted parents, they had a party.
You learned praiseworthy activities could please the folks who fed and cared for you.
And you received the love and the nurturing you needed in return.
However, as you built new skills, it became clear pleasing some people would take more effort. And more than just a few smiles.
If your caregivers were unhappy or anxious in general, you might’ve jumped through a lot of emotional hoops. At least before you finally understood you can’t make everyone happy.
You may have also put your own well-being on the back burner. All while struggling to please everyone else around you.
Standing Up Takes Courage
Once you reach adulthood, you may have learned to back away from some people in your life.
All because you can’t or don’t want to deal with their shit anymore. And you may have even kept your true self from those who knew you as a child.
Because you know you can’t make everyone happy. And you certainly didn’t want to rub someone the wrong way or “hurt” them.
But, standing up for who you are and what you hold dear is a courageous act.
Fulfilling Others is Sometimes the Path of Least Resistance
Even though you know you can’t make everyone happy, it’s sometimes easier to chase their balloons of joy.
Rather than blowing up your own balloons.
Figuring out what makes you happy in the moment isn’t that hard. It could be your favorite dessert.
Or a trip to your favorite store that makes you happy.
But, if you’re going to build a life that’s:
- Compelling: even if this will be hard, I really want to do XXX
- Enriching: even when I’m completely wiped out from my day, I’m so glad I did XXX
- Engaging: the experiences and people I meet make me want to learn and do even more XXX
- Fulfilling: no matter what, I plan to do more XXX because it’s important to me
You’re going to have to do some serious thinking. You’re also going to have to occasionally sit down and rethink your life path.
On that path, a few of your balloons are going to blow up, while others will just get released because they no longer serve you.
You might find yourself exhausted, and broke energetically, emotionally, physically, and financially.
And because you’ve been busy making other folks happy, you’ll have to stop reacting to the triggers of others.
And start paying attention to your bliss.
- What activities truly serve you?
- When are you the most satisfied with your decisions, your actions, and your results?
Life won’t always be a smooth ride.
The paths we take are sometimes going to get bumpy. And if the happiness or unhappiness of others is leaving rocks in your path, it’s time to find a new route.
This could mean a new city, a new job, or a new educational goal.
Some Folks Need a Struggle
You may also be surrounded by victims.
If you have a friend or family member who’s never satisfied with what they have and where they are, they either:
- Haven’t done the thinking work described above
- Don’t think they deserve happiness
- Don’t feel good enough in their own skin to celebrate who they are and the life they’ve built
Sadly, these folks often surround themselves with people who are never satisfied.
And in this cycle of emotional dependency, what you have is someone who’s never satisfied. Someone who is then being propped up by someone else.
Someone who will always put themselves in second place. All because they think the happiness of others is their job.
But it’s not.
Because we all need to OWN our happiness.
And the first step to owning your happiness is to think about what truly satisfies you.
Both spiritually and emotionally.
Then study your reactions to the folks around you. And if you’re putting yourself second, it’s time to stop.
Focus on your own happiness. Choose yourself!