Oftentimes, we let our emotions be affected by other people’s actions or words. Well that just shows that we’re human and have real emotions. We have these expectations of other people that they should be nice, honest, friendly, fair. But having expectations only sets us up for disappointment. Not everyone’s going to be nice to you all the time. People have their bad days. People have their own lives. Some people just don’t like you and never will.

These expectations we have are often especially strong for the people we love: our parents, significant other, siblings, close friends. We assume that if they really loved us, they would know what makes us happy and what upsets us. They would treat us well, give us their time, attention, respect, and love. They would make us a priority. They wouldn’t do anything they knew would upset us. But that’s not true. No one is perfect. People are going to disappoint you at some point or another. Even we disappoint ourselves. People don’t live to please you, as you shouldn’t live to please others either. Humans are generally self-involved beings.

We create these conditions of what will make us happy: if people are nice to you, spend time with you, care about you, love you, treat you well, pay attention to you, etc. So when these conditions are fulfilled, we may feel happy, but perhaps only for a while.

Then there are conditions that often trigger us to feel upset: when people abandon you, let you down, use you, lie to you, fight with you, show dislike towards you, gossip about you, ostracize you, reject you, ridicule you, judge you, criticize you, etc. So when these things happen, we often feel upset. We really let it get to us. What people think, say, do. Our emotional reaction to the situation is often worse and more painful than the situation itself. Our perception and emotions are eating us up. The situation was one hit. But we repeatedly hit ourselves over and over with our emotions.  Why?

Why do we care what people think, say, or do? Why do we let it hurt our feelings? Why do we even feel affected? Why do we need other people’s validation, approval, and love in order to feel happy and to feel that we are good enough and worthy of love? Why is it that when people treat us badly, we sometimes feel like we’re unworthy of love or life? It can ruin our mood. We feel bad about ourselves because we take things personally and really believe that people’s poor treatment towards us is due to us not being good enough. We believe it and we start to hate ourselves too.

Why do we need love and kindness from other people in order to feel happy? Isn’t our own self-love and kindness enough for ourselves? That’s exactly why. When we don’t show enough love, kindness, and acceptance towards ourselves, we depend on others to make us feel worthy.

But the only thing we can control is ourselves. We cannot control what other people think, say, or do. When we allow our emotions to be so easily affected by other people, we lose control of our emotions, of ourselves. We become emotionally labile, happy one second and upset the next. It’s not anyone’s job to make you happy. That’s up to you. People come and go life. Sometimes people will love you, but they will also hurt you. We cannot depend on anyone but ourselves.

So how can we learn to not care so much? How can we learn to be happy by ourselves no matter what other people do? It’s easier said than done. Our thoughts and emotions are mysterious and we sometimes feel like they’re out of our control. How can we learn to love ourselves, treat ourselves with kindness, and to create our own inner happiness? How can we be unflappable? How can we remain calm and content at all times despite difficult situations?