If you’ve been trying to find happiness and haven’t been succeeding, stop and ask yourself this question: are you relying on someone else to bring you happiness?
This someone could be an intimate partner or a close family member. Does it feel as though your happiness depends on them in some way?
This can be hard to admit. But if the answer is yes, this has to change. You will only be truly happy when you live for yourself and find what makes you happy. Learning how to stop relying on others for happiness (you can) is the first step in discovering your authentic self.
Should You Rely On Others For Happiness?
No, you shouldn’t rely on others for happiness. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to address your own emotional needs and find your own joy.
Why Is It Important To Cultivate Happiness Within Yourself?
You cheat yourself out of true happiness by relying on others for happiness.
You will not be focusing on your own needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, and goals. This can lead to issues with diminished self-confidence and low self-esteem down the line.
Another important reason why you should stop relying on others for happiness is that you will be putting undue pressure on them. If they are made to feel that you are relying on them for happiness, your relationship might take a hit.
Always remember: your happiness starts with you.
Is It Harmful To Be Emotionally Dependent?
Emotional dependence will delay you on your journey of personal growth. But even more importantly, emotional dependence often masks the true problem: fear.
It is usually fear and self-doubt that prevent us from going after our own emotional needs, relying instead on others to provide it for us.
Living your life in a certain way only to please another person, or to meet what you perceive as their expectations of you, can be harmful to your mental health. It will take a toll on your self-esteem and can lead to resentment.
You cannot be emotionally dependent and truly happy at the same time. It is one or the other. If you want to be happy, you need to take responsibility for your own happiness and stop relying on others to provide it for you.
What About Being Happy For Others?
You can (and should!) be happy for your loved ones when they achieve success and celebrate their successes with them.
However, you must not depend on their achievements for your happiness. Your own achievements would be better suited to the task.
Sometimes, you may find it difficult to celebrate others’ achievements. This might be because you feel as though they’re moving on from you.
If others’ success makes you feel insecure or jealous, this could be a sign that you’re relying too much on them. You need to take a step back and focus on your own goals and achievements. Consider reading up on how to be happy for others so that you can be a supportive presence in their lives without relying on them.
Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)
In extreme cases of dependency, people may be diagnosed with a disorder called Dependent Personality Disorder.
DPD is an extreme case of needing help from other people. People with this disorder have a hard time making decisions or doing things on their own. They are often seen as clingy and overly dependent on other people in their life. This can include family, friends, or even strangers.
DPD can cause people to stay in unhealthy relationships and avoid social interactions independent of these relationships. People with this disorder are also more prone to experiencing depression and anxiety.
The Role Of Therapy In DPD
Psychotherapy can be of great benefit to those suffering from DPD.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from this condition, please know that it is treatable. A qualified therapist will help you to understand the unhealthy and potentially harmful relationship dynamics that you are experiencing.
The Aim Of Psychotherapy In Dependence Disorders
With counseling and support, people are empowered to step away from emotional dependence and build healthier relationships.
If you feel that you need help to stop relying on others for happiness and become emotionally independent, find a licensed psychotherapist in your area.
How To Stop Relying On Others For Happiness
The reasons why you should stop relying on others for happiness are clear.
However, it can be a very difficult pattern of behavior to break. Here are 7 tips that will help you start on a path of self-reliance and inner joy.
1. Learn To Differentiate Between Emotional Dependence And Emotional Support
Everyone becomes a bit emotionally needy at certain points in their lives, especially during difficult times. However, there is a big difference between being emotionally dependent on others and simply needing emotional support.
Being emotionally dependent on others means that you rely on them for your happiness. You expect them to make you feel better when you’re feeling down, and you may even get upset with them if they can’t always put a smile on your face.
On the other hand, needing emotional support simply means that you appreciate having someone to talk to during tough times. You may lean on them for a shoulder to cry on, but you don’t expect them to constantly boost your mood.
If you find yourself getting upset with friends or loved ones because they can’t make you happy, it’s a sign that you’re too emotionally dependent on them. You will need to work on this. It takes great courage and mental resilience to develop emotional independence, but it’s possible.
Start by exploring your own emotions. When you’re feeling down, ask yourself what is really bothering you. Don’t expect others to always know what’s wrong; they’re not mind readers. Once you can identify your own emotions, it will be easier to control them.
Next, work on building up your self-confidence. If you need help with this, try some affirmations for confidence. When you feel good about yourself, you won’t need others to validate you all the time.
Finally, don’t be afraid to spend time alone. This can be difficult if you’re used to being around others all the time, but it’s important to learn how to be comfortable in your own company. This doesn’t mean that you have to be alone all the time, but it does mean that you should be able to be content when you’re alone.
2. Take Charge Of Your Own Life And Embrace Change
Emotional self-reliance skills may not come easily to all of us, but they can be developed.
The important thing to note is that you have to want it. You have to do this for yourself when you are ready. There is no timeline for this sort of thing.
When you are ready to break the bonds of emotional dependence and stop relying on others for happiness, don’t second-guess yourself. You have decided to be emotionally self-reliant, and you will never need to look back. Change is always a bit scary, but it is probably fear that has been holding you back all this time.
Don’t feel the need to rush though – you should do this at your own pace. It may have taken years to get yourself into a situation of emotional dependence on others. It can take time to get out of it.
Be realistic about what you want to achieve, and the time it will take to do so. You may find it easier to use a journal, diary, or accountability calendar to get your life on track. There are endless resources available to guide you on your journey to self-fulfillment.
Trust in your own abilities and have faith that you will find your way. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. You deserve to be happy, and only you can make that happen.
3. Replace Toxic People With Supportive People
One of the most important things you can do for your own happiness is to cut toxic people out of your life. These are the people who regularly make you feel bad about yourself, are always putting you down, or are just generally negative.
If you reflect on the people in your life, you will likely be able to identify at least a few toxic individuals. It’s not always easy to just up and leave a toxic relationship though.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t just walk away, then try to find ways to limit your exposure to that person. If they’re a co-worker, try to avoid them as much as possible. If they’re a family member, set boundaries and don’t allow them to treat you badly.
It’s also important to make sure that you have supportive people in your life. These are the people who make you feel good about yourself, who will lift you up when you’re down, and who will encourage you to pursue your dreams.
It’s important to have at least a few people like this in your life. If you don’t, then make it a priority to find some. If you do, make sure to cultivate your relationships with them. Just like they’re there for you, make sure you’re there for them too.
You might find yourself becoming a bit dependent on them for your happiness. But that’s okay as long as you’re also working on finding ways to be happy without them. A truly supportive person will want you to be happy and independent, not dependent on them.
4. Discover Your Own Happiness
Find out what makes you happy.
Spoiler alert, it may not be the same thing that makes your life partner happy.
It’s not necessarily going to be the same as your friends either, because each of us is unique. We all have different emotional needs and different dreams for our futures.
Our lives have been shaped by the experiences and influences that we have been exposed to throughout our childhood years and into adulthood.
What matters most to you? Take your time, and be completely honest with yourself when you answer this question. Your initial response may be one that you have learned, one that reflects your partner’s, parents’, or other person’s expectations of you.
Forget what they want for you, and think only about what would make you happy. If you’re not sure, ask yourself what you would do if you had a million dollars and no one to answer to. Really let your imagination run wild here.
Some people would travel the world. Others would start their own businesses. Some would donate to charities and help those in need. Others would buy a big house and fill it with all of their favorite things.
Think about the why behind your dreams. What is it that appeals to you about those things? Is it the freedom that comes with travel? The independence of owning your own business? The satisfaction of helping others?
Whatever your own personal reasons are, write them down. This will be your starting point for finding your own happiness.
5. Find Your True Purpose
What is your purpose?
You may need to spend time thinking about your answer to that question. We all have a deeper sense of purpose, an idea that gives meaning to our lives. People who have purpose-led lives are happy and content in any situation.
When you lead a purposeful life, you will be confident in your own skin. Your self-esteem will soar, and you will feel empowered to stop relying on others for happiness. This is what everyone wants for their life, but so few achieve it because they deny their purpose. Permit yourself to discover yours.
6. Live In The Moment
One of the best ways to become emotionally self-reliant is to develop a practice of mindfulness. This means being present in the moment and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judging them. Simply observe them and let them go. This will help you to become more aware of your inner emotional landscape and better able to deal with it.
Another helpful way to develop emotional self-reliance and live in the moment is to keep a journal. This is a place where you can vent all of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Write about whatever comes to mind, and don’t hold back. This is for you, and no one else needs to see it. This can be an incredibly therapeutic way to work through all your emotions.
7. Remember That Happiness Is A Choice And You Can Choose To Be Happy Every Day
Never forget that being happy is a choice that you can choose for yourself every day.
Start by smiling more and appreciating the good things in your life. Be grateful for what you have and focus on the positive. Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Exercise and eat healthily to boost your mood. Get enough sleep and spend time outdoors in nature.
You don’t need anyone else to make you happy – you can do it yourself.
Relying on others for your happiness is never a good idea. When you tie your hopes to another person’s actions, you only do yourself a disservice.
We are all individuals and need different things out of life.
What makes you happy will not necessarily be the same as anyone else, even your closest family members and friends. Honor your dreams, and become your own source of built-in happiness. Because only you know what you need to be happy and at peace.
If you want to promote more happiness in your life, check out the a little dose of happy blog.