Don't Give Up What Makes You Happy to Make Others Happy

Sometimes, you tend to put aside what makes you happy to please others. However, if you do this too often, it can be extremely damaging to you. Find out why.
Don't Give Up What Makes You Happy to Make Others Happy
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Sometimes, life forces you to give up certain things. You do it because there are usually certain compensatory aspects to your actions and, overall, on balance, you’re still happy.

However, this isn’t always the case. Indeed, you don’t always maintain that subtle point of equilibrium where everyone wins and no one loses. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty common in couple relationships for one of the partners to embargo their own happiness for the good of the other.

You can give up the good to achieve the great. You can close a window knowing that there’s another door. However, you should never give up everything for nothing in return. Even more importantly, you shouldn’t give up everything that makes you happy. It’s like jumping into the void of an abyss.

Giving up isn’t selfish

It’s not about being selfish. Nor is it about prioritizing your needs above those of others. In fact, life always requires you to make agreements, both with yourself and other people. Furthermore, both are equally important.

You need to maintain a dignity that’s strong enough for you to feel good about yourself. You need to be able to look in the mirror and recognize yourself every day. To say “This is me and I’m happy”.

At the same time, when it comes to living together, you need reciprocity. Where each effort becomes worthwhile. Where, when you have to forfeit something, you’re compensated by something else. Where happiness is shared and not restricted or swallowed up by one of you in the relationship. Let’s reflect a little more on this subject.

What makes you happy defines you. If it’s taken away, you stop being you

girl with fox sleeping happy

Everyday happiness is made up of both small and big things. You’re happy to be with the people you love, whether they be your friends, family, partner, or even your pets. In addition, you’re happy with yourself when you do what you feel and what defines you, whether it’s your hobbies, jobs, habits, etc.

It’s difficult to have to give up what made you happy and that, in some way, is still present every day of your life.

However, it’s possible that, at any given moment, you might leave behind everything that defines who you are.

Giving something up can be worth it if what you achieve offers you what you hoped for. Indeed, it’s true that nothing in this life is safe, and it’s almost always necessary to take risks. However, you need gestures, words, attitudes, and actions that show you that everything you’ve done has been worth it.  That it was worth jumping into that void in order to be happy.

  • People often become aware of the idea that “life’s a struggle”. In fact, that sometimes it’s necessary to know how to give some things up in order to find better things, and therefore, to grow.

You don’t deserve anyone who detaches you from your own well-being

Whoever allows you to let go of what it is that makes you smile, gives you pleasure, and improves your well-being, simply doesn’t deserve you. You’re not only what they see you as.

You are your afternoon walks, your reading before bed, your sudden escapes to be alone. You are your mornings at the beach and your coffee with friends. You are your job, your ideals, your movies, and your afternoon nap with your dog… What will you have if they take it all away from you?

covered jar containing what makes us happy

Happiness doesn’t ever mean giving up who you are

The happiest person isn’t the one who has the most, but the one who has “more affection, serenity, balance and love” within them. We’re not talking about physical gains here, but emotional wealth, the kind you should cultivate every day of your life.

Don’t give up what makes you happy. Don’t give up on the people who know how to make you happy with the little things they do. Those who are with you in good times and bad.

Being happy doesn’t really cost anything, yet it seems to be one of humanity’s most complex challenges. In fact, sometimes, without really knowing how or why, other people seem to be skilled specialists in making life impossible for you.

What to do

Try and keep these simple aspects in mind:

  • Learn to give and receive. The day-to-day is a continuous exchange where, thanks to mutual respect and understanding, no one should have to give up anything.
  • Understand that it’ll be impossible to make others happy if you’re not happy in the first place.
  • Never make the mistake of giving up everything for someone in exchange for nothing, because then you’ll be empty. You’ll be just a shadow of your former self. In fact, if you lose your identity, you lose everything.
  • Listen to yourself every day, understand your needs, just as you understand those of others. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you’re selfish. Try to be happy, to grow, to be wiser, more skillful, to love yourself a little more.

As a matter of fact, love is the only force that grows when it’s shared, and that’s something you must never give up on.

happy girl with her animals
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The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.