11 Things Happy People Never Do

12/3/13 9:50AM EST

11 Things Happy People Never Do 11 Things Happy People Never Do

Image via Unsplash/Chris Sardegna

It may seem obvious that everyone wants to be happy. It’s human nature not only to survive but to thrive and live contently. What’s less obvious is how to achieve happiness. For different people, true happiness means different things. It could signify fame and wealth, or it could bring to mind a small home in the country.

Despite differences, there are some things most happy people have in common. It’s not what they have or don’t have, or even what they do. Instead, it’s what they avoid doing.

Here are 11 things that happy people (almost) never do, that the rest of us should probably stop doing too:

1. Compare Themselves To Others

Happy people are content being individuals and don’t succumb to jealousy. They don’t try to be like anyone else, and they don’t seek anyone else’s approval. When they want to improve, they do it for themselves. They set goals unique to them and compare themselves only to their past selves, ignoring societal pressure to be a certain way. If other people like their individuality, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s fine too.

2. Try To Change Others

People who are happy with themselves and their own flaws have also accepted other people and the imperfections around them. People might change for the better, but they probably won’t. Accept people for exactly who they are, just as you’d want them to accept you.

3. Rely On Others To Make Them Happy

There’s a trend emerging here: happiness really does need to come from within and won’t be supplied by anyone else. Happy people may dream big and have high hopes, but they don’t usually expect much from those around them. They don’t count on others to make their day. Instead, they rely on themselves, do the things they love and make their own happiness.

4. Hold Grudges

Content people forgive those who have wronged them, even if they don’t ask forgiveness. Grudges are a waste of energy and take away from one’s overall happiness. Instead of living in the past, let bygones be bygones and move on with your life.

5. Have Regrets

Regrets are just like grudges, except all that negative energy is focused on yourself instead of someone else. Let yourself make mistakes, and then learn and grow from them. Your life experiences, both positive and negative, make you who you are. Use them to propel yourself forward into a more successful future.

6. Stay In Negative Environments

If something in particular is standing in the way of your happiness, remove yourself from the situation. Whether you’re in a dead-end desk job when your dream is to fly planes, or you simply found yourself at a party with people who are bringing you down, find a way to get back to a positive environment that can help you be happy.

7. Lie To Themselves

Happy people tell it like it is. They don’t pretend everything is perfect. They just accept that it isn’t. When there’s a problem, they prefer to tackle it head-on and rectify the situation rather than sweeping it under a rug. Honesty and frankness are their assets.

8. Give Up

Happy people know that failure is only temporary. When things go wrong, they get up and try again. Sure, they might reexamine the issue, change their approach or even tweak their goals, but they never walk away when they reach an obstacle. If they set their sights on a goal, they’re going to accomplish it.

9. Ignore Their Instincts

Content people trust themselves and follow their instincts. They do what they feel is right for them in any given situation. That means their choices are theirs alone, and they take full responsibility for the consequences. If a decision doesn’t feel completely right or natural, reevaluate it.

10. Take Things For Granted

Joyful people understand and acknowledge what they have and what they’re given. They are grateful for their good fortune. They make sure they appreciate everything from the fact that they have clean drinking water and roofs over their heads to the fact that so-and-so from Human Resources brought in donuts this morning.

11. Keep Their Happiness To Themselves

Happy people share their contentment with the world. They express gratitude, they do nice things for others and they pass on their good spirits, all without expecting anything in return.

12. Bonus: Happy People Just Don’t Shoot Their Husbands

Here’s a friendly reminder from Elle Woods that happy people don’t commit murder. Grumpy people, take note.