Written By Dr. Jamie Richards
Have you ever been left with a difficult decision between pursuing a dream you’ve had for what seems like a lifetime and letting go of your potential achievement in order to allow someone else to have theirs?
You probably found solace in the often-repeated mantra, “happiness is making other people happy.” Whenever you felt even the slightest bit of resentment creep in, you nipped it with the reminder that you will be happy because you sacrificed your goal to enable another to experience what they wanted.
This is a difficult topic. Of course we want to help the people we care about most, that makes us happy, but what happens when we give up something we value for someone we don’t. Let me assure you, the outcome is never good.
To be clear, giving up something you value less than the person you’re giving it up for is NO sacrifice, but when you reverse the position, problems are bound to appear.
These 5 principles will come in handy anytime you need to make a difficult choice that involves exchanging something you really wanted for that of someone else.
1. What do you value most?
I can think of few exercises with as much potential for good as identifying your values. Your values are something you want to achieve or maintain, like health, vibrant relationships or financial abundance.
If your partner is high value, making a compromise may give you the feeling of happiness where the same decision for a stranger may leave you feeling bitter.
2. Check with your emotions.
How you feel can be a wonderful measurement of your alignment with your values. Emotions are not a cause; they are an effect, and the result of some action you took.
If you’re feeling angry or upset, there’s a reasonable chance you made a decision that opposed your values.
3. The never-ending gift exchange.
Thinking that making someone else happy by giving up your happiness is like the perpetual exchange of Christmas gifts that no one wants to keep. If everyone spends their days attempting to make everyone else happy, no one ends up fulfilled.
4. Karma Chameleon.
Too many give up their happiness out of fear…of Karma, of religious repercussion or the judgment levied by some other mystical entity. The choice to act in opposition to your values is only yours.
5. No one is coming to save you.
The only judgment that matters is the one you place on yourself. You are responsible for your own happiness.
Making decisions based on your highest values will be the most challenging and rewarding pursuit of your life and one that will leave you and everyone else who participates successful in achieving the world’s most sought after emotion… happiness.