You may have heard the popular advice: “Don’t let anyone steal your joy”.
Well, today you’re going to learn how to keep it.
As an experienced certified life coach, I have worked with plenty of people who have suffered as a result of letting others steal their joy.
Thankfully, I’ve also been able to help them back on the path to happiness.
Below, you’ll find 11 of the best tips and exercises I recommend to help them deal with toxic people and maintain a positive outlook on life.
1. Don’t Rely On Anyone Else For Your Happiness
This is obviously easier said than done.
We are social creatures. Being socially excluded is painful. Approval and validation feels lovely and nice.
Still, we must all avoid an over-reliance on other people’s validation for our happiness.
Don’t be the student studying medicine just because it would make his parents proud. Don’t be the wife who needs her husband to tell her she’s beautiful every day.
Build your self-esteem, so you don’t need anyone to tell you how awesome you are.
Find a passion or hobby that makes you so happy, you’d dedicate your life to it, even if everyone thought it was stupid.
If you focus on living the life that makes you happy, no-one is going to steal your joy.
2. See Haters For Who They Are
Haters (which I’ll use as a short way of describing ‘people trying to steal your joy’) disguise themselves in many ways.
They’ll convince you they have your best interests at heart, or society’s best interests. But they barely ever care about either of these things.
Most haters will try to steal your joy because they have none. They desperately wish they had the joy you have. In many cases, they wish they were living the exact same life as you.
If you’re living a good life, dealing with haters is inevitable. This is out of your control.
As Elbert Hubbard famously said: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
3. Disarm Your Haters With Love
Haters are good people who are hurt. Now you know this, perhaps you can find it in yourself to forgive their unsupportive words.
Don’t fight your haters’ hate with anger. This fuels toxic people.
Respond with love instead. Thank them for their concerns. Empathise with their anger. Give them compliments. Then, continue living your best life.
This will completely disarm them. It’s the best way to show them that they can’t steal your joy.
(Or, if you have online haters, just block them. Sometimes, it’s better not to engage at all, especially on the internet. Remember, there’s no rule saying you have to deal with toxic internet trolls, or even to continue reading their hateful anger-fuelled words. Go put the kettle on, instead 😉 )
4. Realise That Most People Don’t Care What You Do
Let’s assume you’re broadcasting the best parts of your life on social media (as most people do these days).
Even if you lead a super-exciting and unique life, I’d predict that 95%+ of people who see your posts won’t care for more than a few seconds.
That might sound bad, but it’s actually incredibly empowering.
This means you can live your life free from the fear of ‘what other people will think’.
(And I’m sure the majority of the remaining >5% will think you’re awesome and absolutely love what you’re doing…)
5. Avoid The Comparison Trap
People can also steal your joy if you compare yourself to them. So, avoid the comparison game altogether.
Yes, the thought of overtaking someone can inspire people to improve faster. But, even if you do bypass your rival, there will always be someone else above you ready to make you feel small.
You’ll never be the richest business owner, the strongest bodybuilder or the most-followed social media influencer.
The comparison game is a comparison trap that you can’t escape. So, move past it. Don’t play at all.
Compare yourself to your past self and no-one else. Then, you’re completely in control of your happiness.
Social media tends to facilitate the comparison trap. I’d urge you to do a quick audit of the accounts you follow. How do they actually make you feel? Do they inspire you, or are they creating an uncomfortable feeling of inadequacy inside you. Are these accounts giving you joy or stealing it? Perhaps an unfollow spree is in order?
6. Make Personal Boundaries And Stick To Them
If someone is stealing your joy or doing anything that breaks your personal boundaries, tell them to stop.
If they ignore these warnings, remove them from your life completely.
Maybe they don’t get a warning at all. That’s up to you.
Yes, some people are more difficult to remove from your life than others. Maybe you live with a toxic person. Perhaps you’re married to one! Still, there is always a way out – and you should take it!
There is no reason to continue dealing with people who won’t stop disrespecting your boundaries.
7. Assess Your Friends & Family
Some people are stealing your joy in subtle ways. They may not be doing it on purpose, but it’s up to you to address it.
Assess the people you spend the most time around. These people shape your personality and affect your mental health the most.
Often, these people are doing more damage than you think.
Maybe your drinking buddies can’t stop complaining. Maybe your best friend is great fun on a night out, but never happy in his day-to-day life.
Perhaps you have a colleague whose heart is in the right place, but is always dumping her problems on you without doing anything to address them.
Are these people a net positive or a net negative in your life? Sometimes, the answer isn’t immediately obvious. If they’re a net negative, even after you’ve tried to help them, you’re better off without them.
No family member should be immune from this assessment either. Sure, you might feel obliged to spend time with them, but are you really? Your personal boundaries and your mental health is surely more important.
You don’t need to make a big song and dance to cut them out of your life. Don’t shame them or call them a bad person. Just spend less time with them. You don’t need any justification to avoid or leave a social situation.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. These people could fill your mind with positivity or drain it. That’s why I’m not spending significant time with energy leeches who steal my joy.
You don’t need to do this either.
8. Make A Gratitude List
A daily gratitude list helps you retain your joy, regardless of who is trying to steal it.
At the end of each day, write down 10-20 things you are grateful for.
If this sounds like a lot, it’s supposed to be. A long list will inspire you to focus more energy on the smaller positive things in your life.
The first flowers of spring, the surprisingly mild autumn weather, or the relaxing hot bath after a winter hike.
Just as there is always someone better off than you, there are usually millions who have it worse. So, why not take some time to appreciate the small luxuries you do have.
This exercise really will help to make you feel happy as you end your day.
9. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in what you’re doing. This skill helps us notice the beauty of the world around us, rather than being trapped in our thoughts at all times.
Meditation is a useful practice that helps to increase mindfulness – and to improve your mental health in general.
In fact, many frequent meditators report that this practice helps them to feel joy without any external stimulus.
10. Have Faith!
Faith is the unwavering belief that everything is going to turn out perfectly.
Billions of people tie their faith to a God who is looking out for them at all times. Many more believe that the universe has its best interests at heart.
Faith allows you to trust that everything happens for a reason, whether positive or negative. You learn to see obstacles not as threats to your happiness, but as opportunities to grow as a person.
How could you allow anyone to steal your joy at this point?
Sometimes, it’s hard to keep your faith in a world that presents one difficult situation after another. For more tips on how to strengthen your faith, see my guide on 11 ways to let go and trust the universe
11. Make Time For The Things That Matter
In our efforts to keep up with the Jones’s and buy the things we think we need to be happy, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and spend all our time working.
Yet, time is our most valuable resource, not money.
Working too hard is one of the biggest regrets of the dying. None of them say they wish they worked harder.
So, when I say “don’t let anyone steal your joy”, I’m including your boss. I’m also including whoever is convincing you that you need a flashier car or a bigger television.
Many people would lead more joyful lives if they had less liabilities and more time doing what they loved.
What use is a luxury lifestyle without the time to enjoy it?
Any More Questions About Maintaining Your Joy Or Dealing With Toxic People?
Thanks for reading my article!
You probably already knew that ‘Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy’ was good advice. Hopefully, you now also know how to put that advice into practice.
You should now be ready to never let anyone steal your joy again!
If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment section below.
I’d really love to hear what you think about this topic – and will try to reply to every comment I see!