We all seek happiness. It can be tricky to find. Did you know, however, that the critical elements to finding happiness don’t always involve what you do but rather what you don’t do? There are a handful of things that can deplete your happiness and keep it out of reach.
Here are 12 things you need to give up if you want to be happy.
1. Trying to be all things to all people.
This is also known as people pleasing. While it is important to care about the needs of others, if you’re living to please other people, this is a surefire way to defeat your own happiness. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to disagree. You are allowed to be your own person. The good news is that when you stop people-pleasing, you find that you’re happier.
2. Comparing yourself to others.
The thief of happiness is comparison. Have you ever been having a day where things feel pretty good… Then, you come into contact with someone and they have something you don’t or they exude some trait you wish you had? In that moment, the happiness that you had just a few seconds before disappears. Never compare. Be grateful for and satisfied with what you have and what you do. If you want to be happy, you must give up comparing yourself to others.
3. Your everyday addictions.
See Breaking Everyday Addictions by Dr. David Hawkins. Addictions come in many shapes and sizes and don’t just include drugs or alcohol. This one can be the hardest of all, but addictions will sabotage your happiness. Are you addicted to your work? Your smart phone? Television? A person? You may think these things make you happy, but if you’re reliant on them or using them to avoid life, then it is time to evaluate if these things are a problem for you.
4. Staying in toxic relationships.
Relationships with toxic people will completely drain you of your energy and your happiness. Time-consuming and frustrating, toxic relationships are completely detrimental to your wellbeing. Take the stance that toxic people are not right for you. Pay attention to how you feel around certain people and evaluate whether the relationship is healthy or not. Toxic relationships can cause anxiety and fatigue. If these feelings arise because of your relationship with someone, you need to re-evaluate it.
5. Creating excuses and pointing blame.
Excuses are a waste of time and demonstrate a lack of taking responsibility. Same with pointing blame. Likewise, these things both lead less happiness. Studies show that people who are accountable are happier.
Procrastinating takes the joy out of life because it leaves you feeling like you are in a rush. Further, when you do get to whatever it is you have been putting off, you can’t do as good a job. It also starts a nasty cycle of guilt and can impact your self-esteem. Instead of avoiding things, try to face them head on from the start. If you really struggle with this, break the task down into smaller pieces and find the discipline to follow through.
7. Living a life of chronic stress.
Stress is a normal part of life, however, if you have chronic stress in your life, you will not be able to find happiness. Take time to evaluate how you are living. Figure out what you can eliminate and what you can simplify. Chronic stress is one of the biggest thieves of happiness and contributes to health problems as well. This one is very important.
8. Trying to be someone you’re not.
You were made uniquely you. Celebrate yourself and be who you are. If you can eliminate societal pressures, you can find happiness you never knew was possible. Take time to figure out your own individual likes, interests and preferences. Go with those versus what the media tells you to do.
9. Holding grudges against people.
Forgiveness can be very difficult but it is also extremely rewarding. Forgiveness is not done for the benefit of the other person, rather it is done so that you can be more free. It doesn’t mean that you are saying you’re okay with another person doing you wrong, rather you are saying to yourself that you will not be controlled by it. Embrace what happened and move on to the next moments in life. Understand the painful situation and use it as a lesson on how to avoid it in the future.
10. Your need to be in control.
Many people try to plan and control what happens in life. This is a futile act, however because life is largely not controllable. The result of truly to control is worry, disappointment and unhappiness. This is particularly true if you’re trying to control other people.
11. Ruminating over regrets.
No one is perfect. You will make mistakes. Everyone does. Bad decisions are a part of the trials and errors of life. Learn from the mistake and use that as a lesson to make a better decision next time. Then, let it go.
12. Being your own worst critic.
Not everyone excels at everything. Likewise, no one gets through their life without making mistakes – lots of them. It’s okay to mess up. All you ever need to do is your best. You have been created exceptional in your own unique way. If you want to feel happy, stop being so hard on yourself.