3 Signs You’re A Truly Happy Person (& Not Just Faking It With Optimism)

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Fake it until you make it, doesn't quite work when it comes to happiness. You can hold on to positive thinking, but that alone won't fix the situation. What does it take to find real happiness? 

Your mind is a powerful tool. And with the right thoughts and actions, you can achieve anything! But life can still be frustrating, especially when you get handed some lemons. Optimism can help, though, to give you hope for the future. But this can sometimes lead to delusion since you're not really dealing with your problems and you're just pretending that everything is OK.

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Instead of accepting your situation as it is and working with it, you try to brush it off while the resentment wells up. Yes, your boss is behaving unfairly toward you. Or your family situation is rubbing you wrong. Perhaps your friends aren't being as kind as they could be when you need it. Or perhaps you're simply in a situation that causes you stress.

But what can you do to get through this? How can you take charge of your life? What small steps can you take now to get where you want to be?  

Actively experiencing your feelings and dealing with them are healthier options than just being optimistic that things will get better on their own. While optimism does have some wonderful benefits, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that you're going through a rough patch and need to face the situation head-on.

So how can you tell if you're deluding yourself with optimism or if you're really just a happy person using it in a healthy way?

Here are 3 signs you're a truly happy person, according to YourTango Experts:

1. You accept your reality and work with it.

“Happy people have terrible, awful days, they get upset and bad stuff happens in their lives, I call this a plot twist. Plot twists are the universal 'whatever' since 100 percent of people have them show up in their lives. The secret to true happiness is in how happy people respond and where they focus their attention when life takes a twist. 

When our focus is on outside events, other people’s bad behavior, the terrible situation, or the swirl of what went wrong in the past, we can end up feeling a lot of negative emotions. It’s a bumpy and disempowering road when we try to control reality. Happy people accept reality, using it as a springboard, rather than a roadblock.

Being easily offended, taking things personally, getting angry, all take emotional energy. Happy people let a lot roll off their backs. They have learned to 'let go' in order to move on with their life.

Negative emotions are like a black hole, if you get to close or hang out in them, they have a tendency to suck you into their gravitational pull, and it can be difficult to get away. 

Genuinely happy people don’t waste time being upset with the plot twist. Instead, they pivot and shift their attention toward what they have the power to change. Namely, they spend their energy proactively considering what they have control of, like what they say, think, and do.

This inside-out focus generates a positive influence in most situations. Positively influencing a situation leads to feelings of empowerment. Our choices expand when we discover, no matter the plot twist, we can choose where we focus our attention, we can positively impact most situations, and we can "let go" in order to move forward.”

Lyssa deHart, MSW, LICSW, PCC is a narrative coach and the author of StoryJacking: Change Your Inner Dialogue, Transform Your Life. Lyssa has spent 25 years working with professional women to develop healthy relationships with themselves and develop the tools to challenge the stories that they are telling themselves that keep them stuck. Please visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @LyssadeHart

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2. You recognize the good things in life.

“A truly happy person is someone who finds the 'awesome' in one or more of our five senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell.

The soft fur of a cat in your lap, a child’s sweet kiss goodnight, a beautiful sunset, watching a stranger assist someone in need, listening to Yo-Yo Ma playing Piazzolla’s Tango, being moved to tears listening to a comedy show, tasting the salty ocean air or chocolate melting in your mouth and the coffee aroma greeting you at that perfect time when you need a break or the smell of wood burning on a winter’s day as you walk outside to get into your ride home.

The truly happy person finds the 'awesome' wherever they are — in beautiful surroundings or the routines of everyday life. And if you’re so fortunate to share their company, you are likely to get an 'awesome' buzz, too.”

Mary Franz is a couple’s therapist, critical incident responder, and personal strategy coach. Need to talk about a personal or business relationship challenge? Visit her website and ask for a complimentary strategy session.

3. You admit when you need help.

“You can consider yourself a truly happy person by acknowledging you may not be able to solve all of your problems on your own. To be truly happy means you have discovered that being happy includes gaining the willingness to courageously ask for help when necessary. Acknowledging your strengths as well as your limitations builds happiness since asking for assistance, guidance or support connects us meaningfully to others.” 

You might believe that relying on other people makes you weak. But this is far from the truth. In life, you can't always go it alone. You need guidance or support when you're unsure or know you're in over your head. True happiness means accepting all aspects of yourself. The good, bad, and the ugly. Know your limits, and take help when you need it.

Paul McCandless, MFT is a psychotherapist in private practice in Fullerton, CA. For nearly 20 years, he has helped men and women create healthy marriages and relationships. You can find out more about Paul at

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Jamille Jones is a freelance writer who taught English in Hiroshima, Japan for 2 years. She's an Asian culture enthusiast, chocolate addict, video gamer, and loves to teach for the heck of it.