8 signs you’re truly happy with the person you’ve become, according to psychology

In an ideal world, self-love would come naturally. But it doesn’t always work that way.

In fact, we can be our own worst critic at times. But being happy with who you are is so important to your overall well-being.

Growing up I really didn’t like myself. I was so hard on myself that it made life unbearable at times.

That’s why I knew something had to change.

But on my self-love journey, I soon realized it wasn’t me or even my life that needed to become different. It was my mindset that I had to shift.

I needed to learn to look at myself in a whole new way.

This is what facilitated not only greater self-love but also growth and personal development.

Maybe you’ve been working hard to cultivate a more positive self-image. Perhaps it’s felt like an uphill struggle at times, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been making progress.

Here are some strong signs that you are truly happy with the person you’ve become…

1) You know you aren’t perfect but you can accept yourself, including your flaws

Happiness does not rest on perfection. Quite the contrary. Demanding perfection only stands in the way.

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that to fully love ourselves we need to improve first.

We think that we have to get rid of those bad habits or weak links in our character before we are truly worthy.

Sure, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of the parts of ourselves we want to work on. But what is most important is self-acceptance.

That means you can embrace everything that makes you who you are, including your flaws and imperfections. It means understanding that nobody is perfect.

Only this way can you be totally comfortable in your own skin and find peace with who you are.

When we try to push away and deny parts of what makes us unique, we are rejecting ourselves on a subconscious level.

2) Vulnerability is scary but you show people the real you

Whenever someone feels the need to fake it, this is usually a sign of insecurity.

They’re so wrapped up in people pleasing that they’re afraid to let others see the real them.

The vulnerability it demands to be our genuine selves should never be underestimated. It takes plenty of inner confidence.  

As psychotherapist Mel Schwartz points out, that’s why so many of us go around hiding.

“Authenticity requires a genuine sharing of our inner self, irrespective of the consequences. Very often, our actions in a given moment are intended to avoid certain consequences. And so we alter or mitigate our communications or behavior to assure that those consequences won’t be negative or problematic. These tendencies diminish our authenticity and they constrain our growth and self-esteem.”

Living authentically is a huge sign that you are truly happy with the person you’ve become.

You choose to live in alignment with your values and beliefs. You strive to be true to yourself rather than pretending to be someone you’re not.

As a consequence, you feel genuine and sincere in your interactions with others.

3) Even if there is room for improvement you still feel thankful for the life you have

The more gratitude I feel, the more I end up liking myself.

We’re talking about

  • Feeling thankful for the good things in your life
  • Focusing on what you have rather than what you lack
  • Expressing thanks to others for their support
  • Recognizing the positive impact of others on your well-being

Appreciation is almost like a magic tonic, and there’s plenty of research to back up its power.

Studies have shown that people who are more grateful also tend to have higher self-esteem.

It’s thought this might be because the more you recognize how people are good to you, the stronger your own sense of value becomes.

Gratitude can also help to squash that pesky inner critic and make you less judgemental towards yourself.

This was shown in a study that noted grateful people were also less likely to compare themselves to others.

4) When bad things happen you are able to bounce back

youre more resilient 8 signs you’re truly happy with the person you’ve become, according to psychology

Here’s the thing about resilience that many people don’t realize:

Cultivating mental toughness is not about being stern or rigid with yourself. It’s not about hardening to life or blocking out emotions.

Quite the opposite. It is born out of greater flexibility and a sensitive approach.

As highlighted by Very Well Mind:

“Resilient people are also compassionate toward themselves. They tend to notice when they need to take a break and can accept their emotions, which is important for resilience. Self-compassion can help boost overall health and resilience and ensure you’re ready to face life’s challenges.”

Rather than blame yourself when things go wrong, you can view failures as opportunities for growth.

Rather than dwell on it, you learn from past experiences and move forward. This helps you to bounce back from setbacks and challenges.

You trust yourself and know that you will be okay, so you are able to show strength in the face of adversity.

5) Most of the time you feel contented

Looking back now on my troubled teenage self I see that a lot of the problem came down to false expectations around happiness.

It was a game-changer when my psychologist finally said to me:

“Happiness is an extreme emotion. It’s not a state we live in constantly. Instead, we should aim for contentment.”

This lightbulb moment made me realize I had been setting the bar way too high. I didn’t need to feel joyous all the time.

It was okay to allow perfectly natural human emotions like sadness, shame, fear, anger, disappointment, etc, to move through me. I didn’t need to prevent them.

What really mattered was whether I could feel satisfied with myself and my life.

And being able to finally do so came from looking for fulfillment within the every day:

  • Finding satisfaction in your accomplishments (no matter how small)
  • Pursuing activities that bring you happiness
  • Looking for a sense of purpose and meaning within the things you do daily

6) You prefer to live in the present and not the past or the future

Why is this a sign of happiness?

Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves and our lives we seek somewhere to hide.

That may be in the warm glow of old memories. Of times when we felt life was better or easier.

Or it could be in the hopeful promise of a better tomorrow. An undefined day when all our dreams will come true and we will finally have what we need to feel happy.

It’s really tempting to spend most of our time thinking about either the past or the future. But this takes away from our presence in the now.

Psychologists have noted how mindfulness helps us to be happier as it focuses our attention on what’s in front of us.

Research has shown that living in the moment really does make people happier, and that being distracted is the cause of unhappiness. It concluded that:

“A human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”

7) You are your own best friend

Are you on your own side in life? Or is there an enemy lurking within?

A lot of whether we can be truly happy with who we are rests on our capacity for self-appreciation.

But as we mentioned in the intro, it’s very easy to unwittingly be far harder on yourself than you are on everyone else.

When we consciously treat ourselves like an old friend, it can create profound shifts, as therapist Shana B. Diskant explains:

“The most important step is distinguishing if what you are currently telling yourself is what a friend would say. Is my self-talk nice or nasty? Now, there are friends that might tell us, “That dress is not that cute on you,” but we often don’t have pals that say, “Why are you even bothering to get dressed up? No one is going to talk to you at this party.” Negative thoughts have an obstructive slant, leading to poor self-worth and restrictive behaviors. A true friend tells it like it is with the hopes of helping you, not bringing you down.”

8) You feel at peace when you are spending time alone

I know that during my darker times in life when I’ve been struggling with my mental health, I’ve withdrawn.

It can feel easier to shut yourself away. But that certainly wasn’t an indication of being happy.

The key to whether embracing solitude is a positive sign or not comes down to how you feel when you’re alone, and your reasons for it.

A lot of that rests on if you like yourself, and you enjoy your own company.

Flying solo has many benefits, and can boost your self-esteem and improve mental health.

If you genuinely savor time and space to be with your own thoughts, it suggests a certain amount of internal peace and acceptance.

It shows that you can meet your own needs and hang out alone without feeling lonely.

You can strive for improvement and still be happy with who you are

True self-love doesn’t mean there’s nothing you want to work on or improve.

Personal growth doesn’t have a finish line.

That’s why we can still change, adapt, and develop as people, but continue to love and accept ourselves along the way.

Picture of Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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