Why You Should Be Happy For Other People (Even When It’s Hard)

October 5th, 2017 by Nick Notas 9 Comments

Happy people
To me…

Happiness starts with the daily choice of understanding and prioritizing your needs. It’s about figuring out and pursuing the connections and experiences you find fulfilling.

You won’t find happiness by trying to please everyone BEFORE taking care of yourself.

To some people, this might sound selfish. But there’s a second part to the equation:

Happiness is also allowing others to pursue their own happiness…regardless of how their pursuit may make you feel.

You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to support them. And when it seems like they’re being irrational or misguided…you still have to accept their choices. That even means letting them go when you still have feelings for them.

It can be challenging, but I promise it will make for a better life for everyone — yourself included.

Should you really be happy for everyone?

Skeptical business guy

I’m sure there are certain people you feel like you shouldn’t be happy for. Why should you be happy for…

  • That girl you had a few dates with who’s back on Tinder seeing other people.
  • Your ex-boyfriend who left you for another woman.
  • Your co-worker who doesn’t go out to socialize and just likes to get drunk and smoke weed after work.
  • Your bro who struggles financially but still blows his money on “dumb” things.
  • Your female friend who sleeps around with different bar guys every other week.

These people rejected you. They abandoned you. Some of them hold values and act in ways you disagree with. So screw them, right?

It’s easy to hate on what they’re doing, especially when you believe it’s wrong and narrow-minded. But you have to understand something…

These people are often just doing what they feel will make them more fulfilled. It may not always make sense to you, but it’s what they feel like they need right now.

Because everyone finds happiness through different means. Therefore, only we have the ability to make ourselves happy, nobody else.

So as long as those people aren’t trying to maliciously hurt you or others, they’re doing what they believe will make them happier.

You can challenge that idea but at the end of the day, you can’t stop their pursuit. You can’t force people to believe what YOU think will make them happy. Otherwise, you will fight a losing battle that causes you endless pain and suffering.

Well…what about someone who scorned or rejected you?

Maybe you dated a woman who rejected you and chose another guy. He treats her like shit. He’s rude, emotionally abusive, and doesn’t really care for her.`

You’re frustrated because you’d actually be a loving, compassionate partner. You can’t be happy for her because you know she chose wrong.

But did she choose wrong?

What if she struggles with self-esteem and has a broken sense of healthy relationships? What if she only finds herself emotionally engaged and attracted to men who are aloof, cold, and destructive?

You being a sweet guy isn’t what she’s looking for. You’re NOT going to make her happy.

So some men in this situation consider acting like that other guy. They try to become the asshole she desires and on rare occasions…it works. But then what?

You basically have to always act like that to keep her interested. The second you let up, she’ll usually start looking for someone else who fulfills those needs. And unless you truly enjoy a relationship like that, you won’t be happy for long, either.

The same goes for if you’re a woman chasing a guy who left you for someone else. His new girlfriend is immature, doesn’t have a real career, and isn’t very smart (in your opinion). You possess all those qualities…and more.

But if what he doesn’t care about all that? What if he believes that all he needs to be happy is regular sex with that specific hot, young girl?

Then no matter how great of a catch you are — you’re NOT his vision for happiness.

In these types of situations, your ex’s pursuit of happiness might not make any sense to you. Their decisions may seem shallow and unhealthy. But remember, we are all emotional creatures and don’t always make logical choices.

You will have your soul crushed trying to figure out why these people aren’t happy with you and what you can do to convince them to change their minds. That’s a conclusion they’ll have to come to all on their own, if they ever do.

What happens when you don’t accept other people’s happiness

Stressed out and unhappy

Okay, so now you get that you can’t strong-arm people into wanting your version of happiness. You acknowledge that they’re often going to purse their own happiness.

But if you disagree with their pursuit, why do you have to accept or respect it? How is it hurting you to be upset with them?

It comes down to this…

We can only give our focus and energy to so many things at one time. We also can’t look forward while we’re still stuck in the past. We inevitably become consumed by what consumes our minds.

You’ll be the one getting hurt most in the long run. Because by refusing to accept other people’s happiness you:

  1. Become endlessly tortured by unproductive and destructive thoughts. You conjure bullshit stories in your head where you assume their motives and become more angry and hurt. You envision imaginary conversations and arguments you’d have with that person.

    All this is pointless because you can’t change anything until that person wants to. So instead, you’ll just be consumed by a cycle of anger and resentment while they’re continuing to live their life.

  2. Stop pursuing other, more healthy connections. When you obsess over someone who isn’t happy with you, you miss all of the other amazing people out there who will be happy with you. Your heart is wrapped up in the baggage of old.

    This prevents you from feeling motivated to connect with other humans. It can also prevent you from opening your heart again and allowing new relationships to flourish. This can leave you lonely and cynical.

  3. Take everything personally. If you’re not moving forward, prioritizing your happiness, and finding other meaningful connections — you’ll never fully grasp the abundance in the world around you. You’ll be chasing the approval of someone who doesn’t want you, and that feels personal.

    Therefore, you’ll never see how many great people will see you as part of their vision for happiness.

    And THAT’S the key to realizing that rejections aren’t always about you. It’s not that you weren’t good enough, it’s that someone just has a different idea about happiness and you don’t fit their specific mold.

  4. Lower your self-esteem. Self-esteem comes down to believing in your own worth. People who hold that belief value their time and emotional well-being.

    By hating on others or thinking about how you can get back at them…you’re doing the exact opposite. By letting other people control your thoughts and behavior, you’re not acting like someone who knows their worth.

How to be authentically happy for others

Being happy for others

Deep down, most people want to be happy for others, but it’s not always easy to put into practice. It can be a real challenge and feel disingenuous…especially when forgiving someone who inadvertently hurt you in the pursuit of their happiness.

In general, that self-security starts by getting into the habit of focusing on what YOU want. It’s a lot easier to be happy for someone else when you’re feeling great about your own life.

Once you’ve done that, start by supporting those you already love. A small compliment, word of encouragement, or helping hand goes a long way.

From there, you don’t have to be fake with people who hurt you or you don’t have a relationship with.

You don’t have to be grateful for how they treated you or how they ended your relationship. You don’t have to pretend it doesn’t hurt.

You don’t need to go out of your way to encourage their happiness. You don’t have to praise them or tell others how happy you are for them now.

You don’t even have to maintain a connection with them if you feel like it’s not a healthy influence on your life.

You just have to remember, despite all that…

“This is what will make them happy or at least what they think will.”

Then you act in ways that respect that idea and continue to establish it as a value you hold. A lot of times it’s simply about not intentionally trying to deter someone else’s happiness.

Here are some ideas:

  • Allowing people to publicly express their own views even though you may disagree with them. Not preventing them from speaking or expressing them, but being willing to debate them in a constructive manner.
  • Not sabotaging a previous partner’s relationship even when an opportunity arises.
  • Avoiding the spreading gossip or talking behind someone’s back.
  • Not berating, shaming, or intimidating someone who’s rejecting you romantically.
  • Not “trolling” or anonymously insulting others online.
  • Praising a friend for their new interest in fitness or their existing commitment to fitness. Not just teasing them that “they still have a long way to go” or calling them a meathead.
  • Letting a potential romantic partner go when you know they want completely different things (exclusivity, children, religious commitment, etc).
  • Allowing a friend to pursue a girl that you like because you already tried and she wasn’t interested in return. Not being petty and telling him he can’t have her.
  • Introducing an ex or someone you didn’t romantically connect with to someone else you think would be more suitable.

Holding yourself to these standards helps make a happier world for everyone. When we’re happy, we tend to treat ourselves and others better.

And when people see you as someone who can at least appreciate their happiness, they’ll want to embrace and encourage your happiness in return.

Inadvertently, being happy for others comes back to you ten-fold.

  1. Paul on October 5, 2017

    My parents were drug addicts who chased their next score over taking care of me and my sister. I hated them for most of my life and was a bitter individual. I still don’t agree with what they did but I’ve come to forgive them them. I attribute me finding peace and being excited about my own life in large part to that acceptance.

    • Nick Notas on October 5, 2017

      That’s an unbelievably tough road Paul. I can’t imagine what you went through but it’s incredibly brave to let that go. Glad things are looking up for you.

  2. Craig on October 5, 2017

    I’m going through the end of a 4 and a half year relationship. My girlfriend decided that she wants to be alone for a while and I’m not sure why. She says there was nothing that I could have done differently to change her mind, but I still feel like I didn’t try hard enough. I truly want her to be happy, but it’s so hard for me to process this right now.

    • Nick Notas on October 5, 2017

      So sorry to hear that Craig. But genuinely, maybe there wasn’t anything you could have changed. You’re making the right now by letting her doing her own thing. Just focus on you for now and trying to heal through all this.

      • Craig on October 5, 2017

        Thank you for your repy. I’m trying my hardest to focus on me.

  3. Timothy on October 5, 2017

    You prove a good point, man. I’ve never thought about whether or not I could support other people’s happiness better. This really opened my eyes of how I could be a better friend and more understanding of other people’s journey.

    • Nick Notas on October 5, 2017

      Thanks Timothy. Happy to help you on the path to being more compassionate.

  4. Ivan on October 6, 2017

    Nick, your words come right on time. I’ve just let go of one of the most beautiful (inside and out) persons that I’ve ever met. We have been together for a few months, and we both were standing in different places. I sometimes felt like I was holding back, not sure if my next comment or move would make her draw away, like treading on quicksand: I was basically being someone else sometimes. Objectively, I was a perfect match for her, but subjectively… she is right now in a moment of her life where she can’t feel that excitement, even if she wanted to. She wasn’t trying, just rolling with the tide.

    Nevertheless, when we departed we had the most beautiful and meaningful conversation that I’ve ever had with a partner. We both agreed that we were not going anywhere together, and that we would end up hurting each other soon. What was more interesting is that we sat there talking for four hours about ourselves, our fears, what we liked about each other… It was sadly beautiful, calm, without regrets and very emotionally charged. This is something I couldn’t have done before meeting you and staying in Lisbon, in the Confidence Retreat. I can feel that happiness for having known her, and even if I secretly hope that we meet again (that feeling lasts some time), I know that we’ll both be someone else (or maybe with someone else), but a bit happier for the time we spent and the way we said goodbye.

    The secret sauce is to be true, first to yourself and then to others and accept others as they are. And you also get what you spread, so no point being remorseful.

    We both thank you for your work!

  5. Jordan Ring on October 6, 2017

    Hey Nick,

    I think this one is huge: “Allowing people to publicly express their own views even though you may disagree with them. Not preventing them from speaking or expressing them, but being willing to debate them in a constructive manner.”

    I think many of us struggle at times with talking candidly with people about our ideas and then not being able to respect others when they do the same. We can indeed have a healthy debate with a friend afterall, and still remain their friend, even though this might be hard in especially heated arguments.

    Something to strive for though so I appreciate the comments.


Never Blow A First Date Again.