5 Character Traits of Happy People
5 Character Traits of Happy People
Character is not the only component of happiness. There are also: approaches to thinking, (Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet” tells us that “Nothing is good or bad as thinking makes it so.”), learned skills in concentration, fundamental beliefs, personal values and specific actions that detract from or add to contentment and well-being. But character is still the essential component.
Why Character Matters
Who we are makes a difference. The way we treat others matters. The decency or indecency that fills our hearts and minds matters. Our values as expressions of what we believe and how we live our lives really does make a difference to our happiness. The traits we’ve developed over time is of no little consequence to how we feel about who we are.
When we look in the mirror, it’s often our character (or lack thereof) that speaks the loudest.
But not all character traits are created equal, at least not insofar as happiness is concerned. Following, then, are those traits I’m convinced will have the greatest impact on your happiness.
Fear is the great thief of happiness. It is parent to surrender. It sneaks in closed doors and robs us of resolve and the commitment and ability to endure to the end.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. -Mark Twain
Courage, on the other hand, is fear’s great nemesis. It challenges fear, pushes it back, and keeps it in check by taking steps toward its objection. Courage thereby shatters the shackles of fear, sending it into the insignificant margins of obscurity.
Courage allows us to challenge our comfort zones, approach people and situations, embrace life and accept the pain that’s inevitable in all of life’s changes and challenges. Without courage, happiness is a little more than an illusion, a temporary mirage, a puff of smoke that dissipates into thin air at its first challenge.
Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.
How happy are impatient people? This is a rhetorical question, of course. The answer is obviously “not very.” At least not for very long. Impatience is another major bully to happiness. It pushes happiness out of the neighborhood almost as soon as it shows up.
But learning to accept and allow, to go with the flow and relax a bit is critical to living a happy life. Impatience is often the irritation we feel at the loss of control. But life bubbles and gurgles in ever-changing streams and flows of unpredictable activity. It simply is not 100% controllable. And the more we try to control and manipulate the outcome of life and the events that boil up around us with any kind of precision, the more frustrated we’ll be at the effort.
So breathe. Relax. Take it in. Be patient. Learn to accept the uncertain and buddy
Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. -D. Bonhoeffer
To be grateful is to notice the good amidst the bad, the color against the backdrop of gray, the lovely even as it’s surrounded by the ugly. It’s to count your blessings and recognize how beautiful life is even when life isn’t quite going as planned.
Learning to be grateful requires the desire to see what’s sometimes hard to locate for those who are not accustomed to seeing it. It requires retraining your mind to think about the silver linings in life. But for gratitude to affect happiness in the deepest way, requires it to permeate your soul, encompassing attitude and thought, and becoming the general way you perceive life.
Gratitude doesn’t ignore the difficulty of challenges. But it focuses on benefits and opportunities of challenges. The Chinese characters for the word “crisis” literally mean “danger” and “opportunity”. All challenges and crises are opportunities.
When we’re grateful, our problems don’t disappear, they simply occupy less space up to the unpredictable. Let life happen, at least a little. You’ll find it that much more beautiful and happy when you do. The reason is that grateful people are focused on that for which they are grateful. By definition, that means the difficult, disappointing and painful commands less of our attention.
As a matter of fact, I don’t believe there is a single more important character trait to your happiness than developing the persistent, even automatic grateful response to life.
To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.
There’s not much more conducive to happiness than the ability to forgive quickly, spontaneously and freely.
People who hold on to pain, who nurse their wounds, who call out the troops to seek vengeance for the wrongs done to them, may win battles here and there. But the war against unhappiness will largely be lost before it’s even started.
Refusal to forgive with exaggerated and lingering resentments lead to a self-imposed imprisonment.
It’s the very bars that keep others imprisoned in our hearts that keeps happiness far away, at a distance, peering in at best. It’s time we free ourselves by letting old pain dissipate into the darkness, so new opportunities can take us to greater heights of joy.
So, have you forgiven your parents for their weaknesses as parents? Have you
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr
Love conquers all, as they say. And while perhaps not always technically true (I don’t think any person’s love of murder would make this act of violence any less evil, for instance), love certainly goes a long way to being nearly true. To recognize the centrality of love to living a happy life, just imagine a life lived without it. Imagine a hateful, loveless life of happiness (I know. That’s the point. It’s not possible).
The more love that beats in your heart, the happier and more buoyant your heart will be. The more you love life, the more life will love you back.
Love overlooks weakness and closes its eyes to idiosyncrasies. It
accepts, seeks, and empowers what’s best in others. This is the road to travel.
This is a post from one two of the happiest and healthiest people you’ll ever want to meet.