Many of us have been taught at an early age to allow the needs of others to come first.  I see it oftentimes when I take my daughter to the playground, and watch other parents insist their kid share a toy, when the child clearly does not want to. It is polite to share, but it’s also okay not to. It is not selfish or mean to want to enjoy something on your own.

Same as with happiness.

Without a healthy balance of give and take, it is easy to get caught up in pleasing others, sacrificing your own contentment or habitually making others a priority. Those that put others first tend to get taken care of last while experiencing more stress and less enjoyment in life.

Here are 5 reasons why pursuing your own happiness will improve your life and make you available for others in an even better way!

    1. Your happiness is your responsibility. A common misconception is that happiness and success are based on being immersed in the best circumstances. You might think you will be happy once you meet that perfect man, own a Birkin, lose that last 5 lbs and more. All are endeavors worth pursuing; however, you can find happiness on your journey toward your ideals. The great news is that happiness is within your control and you can have it now without delay! You can start by finding gratitude in everyday occurrences.
    2. You are living with your worst enemy. Nope, I’m not talking about your roommate, in-laws or soon-to-be-ex. It is you, and you may or may not be aware of it. Pay attention to your inner voice. Do you predominantly have a cheerleader or a judge? Clearly everybody loves the cheerleader – she makes us feel great! And let’s also acknowledge that the judge does play a big role in protecting us from harm, embarrassment, sadness and more. Unfortunately, the judge has a tendency to be more dominant. I’m sure you’ve heard ‘we are our own worst enemies.’ So, when you catch that negative inner voice, I encourage you to question it more. Where does this criticism come from? What are you afraid of? Is it a legit fear or criticism? Or did it somehow get stuck in your head?
    3. You will make the world a better place. Happiness is, in fact, contagious. Have you ever spent time with a friend, relative or co-worker that is full of positivity; and when you leave them, you feel hopeful and light? Now think of the opposite – the person who’s a downer, or airs their gripes on social media, encountering that person’s negativity doesn’t feel so great. By focusing on your happiness, your positive vibes will emanate and spread more beneficial energy in the world.
    4. You will be more confident.  Happy people are confident people. You can’t have happiness without self-esteem. Sometimes just the act of focusing on you will raise your confidence. And if you would like to keep building, try positive affirmations, personal goals, meditation or exercise.
    5. You will be more helpful to others. I love the classic airline safety comparison: Put the mask on yourself before assisting others. Why? Because you’re more useful if you are at your maximum capability. Once you have better peace of mind with yourself, you have the ability to be open, available and accepting of others.