You may have already come across Eleanor Roosevelt's quote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I think the idea behind it is true, in all of our interactions with the people around us. No one can make us feel angry or hurt, delighted or happy, unless we let ourselves be affected by their words and actions.
However most of the time, I think we tend to focus on the words said and the actions done to us, rather than internalise if we will let ourselves be affected by the other person. For example, last month someone was rude to me at the cinema. Instead of thinking that I should not let him affect my mood, my immediate reaction was to fixate on what he said and how he said it. Needless to say, I didn't enjoy the movie because I was stewing in resentment throughout the film.
Yes, I had the power to stop myself from feeling that way by letting it go. But the point I'm trying to make is that, our words and actions can leave such a strong impact on others. Even when they have the ability to decide not to let your words and deeds affect them, some people have the tendency to unconsciously let you get under their skin.
So I guess that's one reason why we should try a little harder to make others, even complete strangers, happy. A smile could be just exactly what a lonely person needed to feel better. Or you may have unwittingly helped lessen a man's stress levels by letting him take that free parking spot.
To be honest, I can't think of many fool-proof ways to make others happy. It's a slightly foreign concept for me, as I tend to be quite selfish. But I guess realising that what I say and do could make a difference is a good start.
I'd love to hear your ideas on how to make others happy. Have a great weekend guys!