Who we are will make a big difference. The way in which we treat other people matters. The indecency or decency which fills our minds and hearts matters. The values as expressions of how we live our lives and what we believe actually does make a difference in our happiness. Personality traits we've developed with time will be of little consequence to how we're feeling about who we are. As we peer in the mirror, it often is our character (or lack of character) which speaks the loudest.

However, not all personality traits are created equally, at least not as far as happiness goes. Following, then, include those traits I am convinced are going to have the most impact on your own happiness.

Courage

Fear includes the biggest thief of happiness. It sneaks in doors and steals our resolve and the ability and commitment to endure to the end.

On the other hand, courage is fear's biggest nemesis. It'll challenge fear, push it back, and keep it under control by taking measures toward its objection. Thereby, courage shatters fear's shackles, sending it to the margins of obscurity.

It permits us to approach situations and people, challenge our comfort zones, embrace life, as well as accept the pain which is inevitable in all life's challenges and changes. Without this trait, happiness is merely an illusion, temporary mirage, or a puff of smoke dissipating into thin air at its initial challenge.

Patience

How happy are people who are impatient? Of course, it's a rhetorical question. The simple answer is 'not very.' Impatience is an additional big bully to happiness. It'll push happiness out of the way right as it rears its ugly face.

However, learning to allow and accept, to move with the flow and somewhat relax is crucial to living a life of happiness. Oftentimes, impatience is the annoyance felt at the loss of control. However, life gurgles and bubbles in ever-changing flows and streams of unpredictable activity. It just isn't 100 percent controllable. The more we attempt to manipulate and control the outcome of life and events which boil around us with any type of precision, the more frustrated we will become at the effort.

Gratitude

Striving to become grateful will require the need to see what sometimes is difficult to find for the ones who aren't used to seeing it. It'll require retraining the mind to consider the silver linings in life. However, for gratitude to have an effect on happiness, it will need to permeate the soul, encompass thought and attitude, and become the general way life is perceived.

When we are grateful, our problems do not disappear, they just occupy less space in our lives, minds, and hearts. The reason being is that grateful individuals concentrate on those things for which they're grateful. By definition, it means the painful, disappointing, and difficult will command less of our time.

In fact, I do not think there's a single more vital personality trait to happiness than creating a persistent, automatic grateful life response.

Love

The more love which beats in your heart, the more buoyant and happier the heart is going to be. The more you enjoy life, the more life is going to love you back. This trait overlooks weaknesses and shuts its eyes to idiosyncrasies. It'll accept, serve, bless, and seek what is best in other people. It's simply a better path to happiness than the alternative.

Forgiveness

Individuals holding on to pain, who call out the troops in order to get revenge for the wrongdoings done to them, who nurse their wounds, might occasionally win battles. However, the battle against unhappiness is going to be mostly lost before it is even begun.

Have you forgiven your mom and/or dad for their weaknesses as parents? Did you ever forgive that playground bully, or insensitive church leader, or inconsiderate neighbor?

If the answer is no, you are picking at open wounds which may only infect, irritate, and fester. These types of open wounds oftentimes turn cancerous, and metastasize, enter the blood stream of future relationships, and infect them with its fatal disease as well.

Choose to instead open your heart up to forgiveness. Your heart then will at last, be open to catch its piece of happiness.

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Published on: Jan 8, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.