How often do you see quotes online about how you can make other people happy?

I understand that these are coming from a good place, and I’m all for you being kind to others.

But you cannot make other people happy.

How other people feel is determined by the thoughts in their mind – it is not caused by anything you say or do (or don’t do).

Have you ever had this experience where you try to cheer someone up who’s in a bad mood and the more you try to “cheer them up” (force them to be happy when they don’t want to be), the more irritated they become?

Let’s say they’re frustrated with their friend, for example.  They have a whole story in their head about how rude and inconsiderate their friend was being earlier.  You think they’re overreacting and it wasn’t that big of a deal.

The more you try to argue with them and get them to see the situation from your point of view, the harder they hold on to their story about how their friend was being so rude.

Part of being a human is not being happy all of the time.  We have good moods and bad ones (and it would be bizarre if we were happy literally all of the time).

Sometimes we want to be sad, or irritated, or frustrated. That’s 100% normal and we don’t need to shame ourselves or other people for that.

Let people have their moods.  They’re going to anyway.

Trying to control how other people feel is exhausting and a waste of energy.

Here are some go-to thoughts you can think in situations when you’re tempted to try to talk someone out of a bad mood.

  • He can be grumpy, and I don’t need to be.
  • They can be worried, and I don’t need to be.
  • He wants to be sad right now.
  • It’s okay for people to be upset sometimes.
  • Everyone struggles, and that’s okay.

You can be kind and compassionate to others without trying to cheer them up.

If someone asks you for your opinion about a situation or tells you they want to be cheered up, then by all means, go ahead… offer them a different perspective.

But sometimes people just want to be upset, and that’s okay.