1. They don’t respond with a job title when asked “what they do.” Their lives aren’t consumed by work and they aren’t defined by a job or title or position — and that’s exactly what makes it possible for them to actually enjoy those things. They forge their own paths by choosing the ones they enjoy walking down, not just the ones that lead them somewhere else.
2. They keep light roots. They know that wanting to go — from cities, from relationships, from jobs — is enough reason to. They act. They make changes, they do the work. They grow wherever they are, but can move and blossom anywhere. They’re never so attached to anything that their happiness depends on it.
3. They choose where they live based on lifestyle and culture, not on the ability to say they live in one specific city or another. The happiest people live where they feel at home — and beyond that, but to the same extent — they cultivate their spaces to be the same way. They know the importance of having a home to feel grounded and calm in, one in which they don’t just exist, but thrive during downtime.
4. They develop a personal dogma, they create their own religion. Many people follow religious and spiritual beliefs that have been pre-outlined for them, and that does work in some instances, but for many people — not quite. A more effective way to cultivate one that does work is to learn about the origins of religions, read and research for yourself, and create a mindset that works for you, and moves you in the right direction rather than forces you into a direction dictated by someone else.
5. They know that they can control their experience, though they were taught otherwise. Beyond allowing negative feelings to pass without attaching to them, they also know that those negative feelings about something external are projections that are indicators of something internal. So they maintain a state of self-awareness, and from that, grow from even just everyday encounters. Not to mention that they become emotionally bulletproof by realizing that there is no good or bad in the world — only within. That “control” is not a matter of what happens, but how you perceive it, and that perception is your choice to heal and cultivate or not.
6. They’re conscious of their mortality. They know everything is impermanent, and they stay mindful of that fact. The suffering will pass, but so will the things you love. Have them, and be present in them, before they’re gone.
7. They don’t try to convince other people to love them, and they also know that they cannot convince themselves to have self-love based on someone else’s love for them.
8. They don’t buy or keep things they don’t need. They spend their money on how they live, not to prove any sense of worth or wealth through the acquisition of things.
9. They know that nothing is inescapable. They know that no fear or anxiety is unconquerable. They also know that this subconscious mindset is usually the backdrop for some of life’s darkest moments.
10. They let themselves feel, knowing that if they’re avoiding the bad, they’re inevitably avoiding the good too.
11. They realize that there is nothing to lose by being happy, but that it’s a struggle because our human minds and bodies are almost addicted and completely attached to feeling pain — we create it when there isn’t any. Happiness is a shift and a choice to be made.
12. They don’t seek permission. They don’t wait to feel that their choices will be accepted before they act. Most people narrate their lives through the minds of other “people,” whomever they may be. They make choices based on what so-and-so would think of them — subconsciously or not.
13. They know that they are not bound to what they were born to. They don’t force relationships that inherently won’t work out of “obligation.” They realize that the physical, blood-related family is a lovely thing to have if and when you naturally fit together, but that ultimately it’s not as important as finding your own “family” elsewhere — ones who love and support you unconditionally, if your biological family doesn’t.
14. They do not gauge their self-worth or the quality of their lives by the number or nature of relationships that are in it. Doing so leads to filling roles rather than finding love, and gauging worth on that love only leads to a disingenuous sense of self.
15. They know who they are, not because they found or created it, but because they revealed it. It’s not about being able to define yourself as one thing or another, but being able to connect to that unspoken, undefinable truth and act on it, and be comforted in knowing that everything will be okay. Those words are cold until your inner warmth rises and affirms that it’s the truth. That inner knowing is who you really are, and the only opinion you need to follow.
16. They let themselves be set on an end result, but are flexible in terms of how it comes about. They realize that infinite patience yields immediate results, and that going with the flow of things usually delivers you to the place you want to be regardless.
17. They understand that difficult people aren’t setting out to hurt them, but dealing with their own demons. The father who lashes out numerous times a day, incessantly controlling everything but ultimately in denial that he has a problem; the coworker who has a problem with every aspect of the job and office but doesn’t realize the problem is them; the impossible-to-please boss. They’re the people we have to deal with, often whether or not we want to. It’s easy to take these types of people personally and wonder what you are doing wrong, but it’s always about them, and once you’re secure in that knowing, it’s that much easier to let it go.