How to Stop Relying on Others for Happiness (32 Ways + Tips)

Have you ever wondered how you could make your own happiness without needing anyone else? That’s a big and important question.

We’re going to explore some easy and fun steps you can take to create your own sunshine and stop relying on others for your happiness.

Ready? Let’s jump in!

Self-Understanding and Personal Development

1. Understand Yourself

Identify your interests and passions, as they can give you personal satisfaction and contentment. This can be as simple as taking time to write down what you love to do, what makes you feel accomplished, or even what makes you feel relaxed.

2. Set Personal Goals

Having personal goals can offer a sense of purpose and direction, which can lead to happiness. They don’t need to be huge; even small daily objectives can give you a sense of achievement.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

3. Face Your Fears

Identify your fears, question their validity, and use them as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks. By facing it, you create your happiness, not borrow it. Remember that your joy is in your hands, not others.

It’s time to become the architect of your own happiness.

Practical Example: If public speaking scares you, consider joining a local Toastmasters club to practice and improve.

4. Learn New Skills

Boost your confidence and self-sufficiency by learning new skills. When you discover and master something new, it brings a sense of accomplishment and joy that’s all your own.

This can lead to a deeper sense of self-fulfillment and happiness, independent of others. Plus, it keeps your brain active and engaged.

5. Own Your Actions

“Owning your actions” simply means taking full responsibility for the things you do, not blaming others when things go wrong, and taking credit when they go right. It’s about understanding that your choices and their consequences are in your hands.

By doing so, you not only gain control over your life but also nurture your potential for personal growth and happiness.

6. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

By cultivating a growth mindset, you can see experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. This helps you to become resilient and adaptable, qualities that contribute to personal happiness.

Fact: People with a growth mindset are more likely to achieve their goals (Dweck, 2006).

7. Be Curious

Maintain a sense of curiosity and discover new things about the world around you. It can keep your life interesting and full of excitement, increasing your personal happiness.

Fact: Curiosity is linked to higher levels of positive emotions and satisfaction with life (Kashdan et al., 2009).

8. Start a Project

Kick-starting your own project or task can bring you a feeling of success and happiness. This doesn’t have to be something huge; it could be as simple as a craft project or gardening.

It can help raise your self-worth, showing you that you don’t need to depend on others for your joy. You’ll discover the happiness that comes from within you, boosting your confidence along the way.

Interpersonal Relationships and Social Engagement

9. Limit Expectations

Holding high expectations can often lead to disappointment when people or situations fall short. So, keep your expectations realistic, and focus more on your personal growth and happiness.

Remember, your joy shouldn’t rely on others’ actions but on your perspective and attitude toward life.

10. Assert Yourself

Asserting yourself means standing up for your own rights and expressing your feelings, needs, and desires openly. It’s about valuing your thoughts, putting them forward without hesitation, and not letting others’ opinions overshadow your own.

By mastering this skill, you empower yourself to seek happiness from within rather than depending on others for it.

11. Give Back to Others

Finding happiness shouldn’t be a task for others but a journey of self-discovery you should embark on. By giving back to others, you contribute to their joy and, in return, experience fulfillment and happiness yourself.

Fact: Research has shown that helping others triggers a release of oxytocin, which has the effect of boosting your mood (Barraza & Zak, 2009).

12. Maintain Boundaries

Setting boundaries in your relationships can protect your well-being. This can involve defining how much time you spend with others or deciding what topics are off-limits for discussion.

13. Reconnect with Old Friends

Reconnecting with past friends can spice up your life with happiness and memories. It takes you back to the good old times you once shared. It’s also a good way to rebuild meaningful friendships that mattered to you.

Tip: Break the ice with an old friend by reminiscing about a shared memory.

14. Join Clubs or Groups

Getting involved in clubs or groups that interest you can bring excitement into your life. This is an easy way to meet new people who have the same hobbies or interests as you. This can help make your social life more vibrant, and open your mind to different experiences and ideas, all of which can boost your happiness.

Fact: Socializing can lower risks for mental health issues and improve your lifespan (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010).

15. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Doing random acts of kindness can be as simple as buying a coffee for a stranger or helping a neighbor with their groceries. These simple, unexpected acts can boost your own happiness and spread positivity to others.

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

– Princess Diana

Self-Care and Wellness

16. Acknowledge Your Achievements

Acknowledging your achievements, both big and small, can improve your self-confidence. Celebrating your successes helps reinforce the positive actions you’ve taken and encourages you to continue pursuing your goals.

Practical Example: Did you complete a difficult project at work? Treat yourself to something you enjoy!

17. Cultivate Optimism

Cultivating optimism means creating a positive outlook on life, even when challenges come up. Optimists generally expect good outcomes, which can make your mood better and even help your immune system.

18. Embrace Solitude

Embracing solitude means finding peace and enjoyment when you’re by yourself. Spending time alone can offer a valuable chance for self-reflection, creativity, and rest.

19. Meditate Regularly

Regular meditation can offer a variety of health benefits, including less stress and better mental clarity. There are many types of meditation, including mindfulness, transcendental meditation, and loving-kindness meditation, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

Practical Example: Start with just 5-10 minutes of meditation each day, focusing on your breath.

20. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle means eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. These are all key parts of self-care and can improve your physical and mental health.

21. Take a Digital Detox

Taking a digital detox means not using digital devices like smartphones and computers for a certain period of time. This can help reduce stress, make focus better, and give more time

22. Create Your ‘Happy Place’ at Home

Creating your ‘happy place’ at home involves designing a personal space that brings you peace and relaxation. This could be a reading nook, a meditation corner, or even a small home garden.

Managing Work-Life Balance

23. Switch off from Work After Hours

Separating your work life from your personal time is very important. The idea is to stop work-related activities when your workday ends. This helps to lessen stress and tension.

When you do this, you can focus on activities that make you happy and relaxed in your own time. This way, you can improve your overall happiness and not rely on others to feel good.

Practical example: Once your working hours end, turn off your work notifications and engage in activities that help you unwind.

24. Become Financially Independent

Achieving economic self-sufficiency can significantly improve your overall happiness and reduce your reliance on others. Being financially independent gives you the freedom to make your own choices and take control of your life.

Mindful Living Practices

25. Avoid Comparison

It’s important to appreciate your unique journey and avoid comparing yourself with others. Comparison often leads to discontentment, while self-appreciation can enhance your happiness.

Tip: Focus on your growth, celebrate your accomplishments, and remember that everyone has a different path in life.

26. Learn to Deal with Criticism

Learning how to tolerate criticism can be a significant step toward personal growth. When someone criticizes you, try to see it as a chance to learn and get better.

Instead of getting upset or defensive, see it as useful feedback. This way, you can adjust and improve, which can lead to feeling happier and less dependent on others’ approval.

27. Travel Solo

Solo travel can be a significant step towards self-reliance and happiness. It allows you to experience the world on your own terms, providing you with the freedom to explore and grow as an individual.

28. Try Art Therapy

Using art as a form of therapy is a fun and creative way to show what you feel. You don’t have to be an artist to do this. Just allow yourself to create freely with colors, shapes, or any form of art you enjoy. This can help you relieve stress and uplift your mood, making you feel happier and more content within yourself.

Fact: The American Art Therapy Association states that art therapy can enhance cognitive abilities, foster self-esteem, and reduce stress.

29. Create Affirmation Cards

Creating reminder cards with positive messages or beliefs can greatly improve your mood and self-confidence. These are just short, reassuring messages that you tell yourself, like “I am strong” or “I can overcome anything.”

When you keep reading these, they can help you remain focused and happy with your life. It’s a simple but effective way to rely less on others for your happiness.

30. Indulge Your Senses

Enjoy sensory experiences like listening to calming music, savoring a delicious meal, or enjoying a fragrant bath. Such moments can bring immediate happiness and relaxation.

31. Stay Independent in Your Decisions

Trust your judgment and make decisions that best suit your needs and circumstances. Being confident gives you control over your life and helps in building resilience.

Tip: Make a habit of self-reflection to understand your values and preferences better, which can aid in decision-making.

32. Limit Social Media

Excessive exposure to social media can often lead to comparison and dissatisfaction. Limiting social media use can help you focus more on your own life and find happiness within.

Fact: Studies have shown a link between excessive social media use and decreased life satisfaction (Shakya & Christakis, 2017).

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to rely on others for happiness?

Relying on others for happiness means that you depend heavily on the actions, words, presence, or approval of others to feel content and joyful. This could lead to a state of emotional instability and dissatisfaction, as the source of your happiness is external and unpredictable.

What are the signs that I am relying on others for happiness?

Some common signs include:

• Constant need for approval
• Feeling unhappy when alone
• Overly adapting your preferences based on others’
• Emotional roller coaster based on others’ moods or actions

Why is it unhealthy to depend on others for happiness?

Your emotions become contingent on their actions: If they act favorably, you’re happy; if not, you’re upset.

It can lead to co-dependency: You may find yourself unable to function without the approval or presence of the other person.

It often results in disappointment: People are unpredictable and may not always meet your expectations.

It can hinder your personal growth: Instead of understanding your own needs and desires, you’re focused on pleasing others.

What if I find it hard to stop relying on others for happiness?

It’s normal to find this process challenging. Consider seeking help from a therapist or a support group. They can provide guidance, tools, and techniques to help you on your journey to independence and self-love.


And there you have it! A handful of simple, practical ways to stop relying on others for your happiness. Remember, the journey toward self-reliance and personal happiness is personal, and it’s all about taking small steps. You have the power within you to build a happier life.

So, go on and start implementing these tips today.

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Brenda Calisaan

Brenda Calisaan is a psychology graduate who strongly desires to impact society positively. She aspires to spread awareness and knowledge about mental health, its importance, and its impact on individuals and society.

She also has a passion for working with children and hopes to dedicate her career to positively impacting their lives.

Outside of work, Brenda is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring new experiences. She is also a music enthusiast and loves to listen to a variety of genres. When she's not on the road or working, Brenda can often be found watching interesting YouTube videos, such as Ted-Ed content.