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The Rules of Life: 22 Secrets to Never Be Unhappy Again

Don’t you wish life came with a rule book? We all do. But don’t worry! Here are 22 rules of life to follow so you will never be unhappy again.

rules of life

Do you find yourself frustrated and stressed out with your life? Do you wish we had a class in school that taught us all the rules to live by so that we could make the most out of life and live it to its fullest? Well, there may not be a class, but there are these rules of life that you can follow.

The rules of life to live by

I was lucky enough early in life to do a lot of reading about self-improvement and how to live life happily. So, these 22 rules of life I am going to share with you are time-tested by yours truly.

Everyone always says that I have such an aura of inner peace. And it’s true. But do you know why? Because I have these rules to live by. They all bring me happiness and inner peace. So, let’s take a look at them.

#1 The Golden Rule. Yeah, this is not one of the new rules to live by. I think we all learned this in kindergarten, right? If for some reason you don’t know what it is, this is it in a nutshell: do unto others as you would have done unto you. In other words, treat people the way you want to be treated.

It blows my mind about how many people don’t do that. But it’s not that difficult, people! Think of it this way – the better you treat others, the better they will treat you. So, if nothing else, be nice and kind to other people so they will return the favor. Do it for them, and also do it for yourself. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and find inner happiness]

#2 Don’t take anything personally. This is a difficult one for most people. But I promise you – it will make your life 1,000% easier! And yes, I said 1,000%… that was not a typo. We all think we’re the center of the universe, but we’re not.

Everyone else has their issues and problems, too. And sometimes we’re just in their line of fire. How people behave usually has very little to do with you, and everything to do with what kind of person they are.

#3 What is… is. This is one of the rules of life that will also change your life. So many times, we mentally and emotionally fight against something that we can’t change. But guess what? It’s wasted energy.

If you can’t change it, then why worry about it or spend time griping about it? Accept it. What is, is. That’s what is. It’s not going to change, so stop wishing that it will.

#4 It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem. A lot of people love to create mountains out of molehills. I should know… I’ve done it too. But even some seemingly bad situations in life can actually be to our benefit.

So, that cute guy or girl didn’t text you back after the first date? Not a problem. Time to move on and find someone who is courteous enough and kind enough to appreciate your company. Choose people who choose you. Catch my drift? [Read: How to be happy in life and live life to the fullest]

#5 There is no such thing as failure. We all go around with an intense fear of failing. But guess what? While we might label something as a failure, you can re-think it and look at it as a learning opportunity.

Your relationship ended? Well, don’t just cry about it. What did you learn, and what are you going to do differently in your next one? See my point? You always need to look for the lessons in every supposed “failure.” This is one of the most important rules of life.

#6 Stop trying to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfection!! Let me repeat… there is no such thing as perfection. What is “perfect” to me is not “perfect” to you. Everything in life is subjective. Even if someone thinks that being the richest and best-looking person on the planet is being “perfect,” a lot of people would disagree.

#7 Stop caring about what other people think. We all want people to like us and love us. We all want to be included and/or admired. But guess what? You can’t please everyone. You just can’t. I know you want to, but you can’t.

So, it’s important to be true to yourself instead. Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. As long as you have a high opinion of yourself, that’s all that matters. [Read: The art of not giving a shit – How to not care in 15 steps]

#8 Don’t have expectations of other people. Oooohhhhh… this is a really, really difficult one. I’m still trying to get this one down. When I say don’t have expectations, I don’t mean that you should tolerate bad behavior aimed your way. But guess what? You can’t change people. We all want to, but we can’t.

So, when you have expectations of other people’s behavior, then you will most surely be disappointed and frustrated. Instead, try to have NO expectations, and then you will never be let down.

#9 It’s all about your viewpoint. I know you have heard of the “half glass empty or half full” debate, right? But think about it. How you view something really does become your reality. If you lost your job, you can complain about it. Or you can see it as an opportunity to go find a better one that you will like even more. So, always look at the positives in any situation.

#10 Always take personal responsibility. For the life of me, I can’t understand why most people have such a hard time doing this. I think it’s because they see it as defeat. They think that if they take responsibility, then they somehow lose the game. But guess what? Life is not a competition.

People really, really appreciate when you are emotionally mature enough to own up to your words and actions. So, give it a try. Every day. It’s definitely one of the rules of life that everyone should live up to. [Read: Emotional maturity – 13 clues to know if someone has it]

#11 Don’t try to change other people. I know. We all want other people to behave the way we want them to. But guess what? They don’t. And any effort we make in trying to change them – no matter how subtle – just won’t work. It’s exhausting and frustrating, too.

Trust me, I know. I was guilty of it until I realized I was wasting my time. So, choose to be around people you’re already compatible with, and accept the people for who they are – for better or for worse.

#12 Forgive and let go of resentment. There is a common misconception in the world that if you forgive someone for their wrongdoings, then you are condoning their actions. That could not be farther from the truth!

Forgiving is something you do for yourself, so you don’t have to carry around the negative energy anymore. Free yourself from the burden of the heaviness of it all and forgive and move on. [Read: How to forgive someone – 15 positive ways to unburden your mind]

#13 Don’t paddle upstream. Imagine that you are in a canoe on a river. Which way does it make more sense to go? Paddling upstream against the current? Or to float your boat downstream with the current? Yeah, you know. Floating downstream where the energy is flowing.

That’s a great metaphor for life. If you feel like you are banging your head against a wall trying to make something – anything – work out, then just stop. Really, just stop. Stop and change directions. Try to find out where the flow of energy is going in your life. Because trust me, that’s a much better direction to go, and much more rewarding. [Read: Positive vibes –  17 ways to welcome positive energy into your life]

#14 Monitor your self-talk. Much of what we think is bad about our life begins and ends inside our own head. Have you ever really listened to your thoughts and the words you speak? You’d be surprised how much of it is negative. And that’s why you need to monitor your self-talk and change your thoughts that are holding you back.

You really don’t have any power over much in life except your own thoughts, actions, and attitudes. So, make your self-talk as positive as you can. It’s one of those rules of life that we’re never taught to do, but it can change your life. [Read: 25 memorable life lessons to perfect your life]

#15 Perception is reality. This is another one of the rules of life that most people just don’t get. What this means that is even if two people are looking at or experiencing the same thing, they will view it differently. But who is right? They can’t both be right, can they? Yes, they can!

In fact, their perception of any situation is THEIR reality. So, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s perspective, agree to disagree. Allow them the right to see it from their own viewpoint, and they should allow you to do the same.

#16 Stop thinking like a victim. Yes, there are many things we can’t control in life. It rains, tornadoes happen, people get fired, partners cheat, and the list goes on. But, if you think you’re always a victim of your life circumstances, then you are taking away your own power.

There is always something you can do – some action to take, or some change in your thinking. Don’t give the outside world too much power over your life. The power lies within you.

#17 Relationships are like plants. Everyone knows that if you don’t water a plant, it will die. I should know, I do it all the time *accidentally, of course*. But your relationships are no different than plants.

If you don’t put effort into your relationships *like watering a plant* then they will die. Do not ever take people for granted. And don’t ever get lazy in your relationships. That is, unless you don’t want any more relationships. One of the great rules to live by. [Read: 16 secrets to a perfectly happy relationship]

#18 Always be appreciative. I know so many people who have wonderful lives. They make a lot of money, they have family who loves them, and they want for nothing. Yet they still manage to find ways to bitch, moan, and complain about their life. And I just want to smack them upside the head and tell them to open their eyes!

There’s always something to be grateful for. The air you breathe, the food on your table, clean water, a bed, people who love you, and your health are all “little things” that people forget to appreciate. So, don’t be that person. Appreciation is one of the greatest rules of life.

#19 Think before you speak. I’m sure you’ve heard this from you mother before. But hey, it’s so true. That saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is just crap. It’s not true. It’s a total lie.

Words have so much power. They have the power for good or for evil. So be mindful of the words you speak to other people – and to yourself. You only want to touch the world for good, and it starts with your words. [Read: The power of your words can make or break all your relationships]

#20 Have empathy for others. The world needs more kindness. Don’t you agree? Our world seems to have gone mad, and so it’s up to us as individuals to have compassion for other people. Try to see life from others’ point of view. Try to feel their pain and feel their joy.

If we were all capable of empathy, I think we might just have world peace. But unfortunately, we’re a long way off from that. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t practice empathy in your own life.

#21 Know that anything is possible. Really, it is. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at me and disagreeing. But think about all the people who have defied the odds. So many rich people grew up in the slums and made it out. So many people have healed themselves from diseases the doctors said were terminal.

Miracles really do happen, but you have to be open to them. You have to work toward your goals. And you have to have an open mind and open heart and believe that anything is possible.  [Read: How to smile more often – 6 baby steps to change your life forever]

#22 Love yourself. I saved this one for last, because everything really begins and ends with you. It really does. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others. If you can’t forgive yourself, then you can’t forgive others.

You can only give to others and put energy out into the world that you are capable of yourself. So, if you got overwhelmed by this long list of the rules of life, then start here. This is where all the magic begins.

[Read: The meaning of Yolo – 15 ways to live life to the fullest]

While these are the rules of life that I live by, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Read these rules to live by and see what resonates with you. Feel which ones speak to you, and then take action.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...