Here it is, another day gone and another series of disappointments. How is it that life got so, well, disappointing?
It wasn’t like that before. When you were a kid you hated to go to bed at night. You didn’t want to miss anything. You couldn’t wait for summer vacation or a trip to Disneyland or having your best friend sleep over. When did your life go from happy anticipation to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning?
How can you change your life from disappointment to happiness?
The simple answer is viewpoint. How we view something, whether we dread it or look forward to it with bright anticipation determines the actual outcome. The life wrecking viewpoints have snuck in on us so quietly that we didn’t even see them come in and yet here they are, like unwelcome guests that never know when it is time to leave. And here we are, wondering how we got so negative.
There is a way out of it. There are ways to change your viewpoints and thus your actions which will allow you to experience happiness. Here are some simple steps to help you get started.
1. Go into life with less expectation and more exploration.
If you expect life and situations to be a certain, set way no matter what happens, you are doomed to disappointment.
A good example of this is a wedding. Many young girls have a certain view of “Their special day” This is the day where everything must be absolutely “perfect”. There must be no hiccups. The bride’s dress must be perfect, the bride herself will have to lose 20 pounds so she looks her best. The band must perform exactly the right songs at the right time, the caterers cannot step one foot out of line and then maybe, just maybe, everything will be “perfect”. These weddings are almost never “perfect” in every way. How can they possible be? And the bride feels that the day is completely ruined.
How many young ladies have been stressed out of their minds and had melt downs on their wedding day because everything wasn’t “perfect”?
What if a young bride went in with the idea “Whatever happens, it will be perfect!”
She could then plan her wedding without stress. If she were to have that idea, everything that happened that day would be a delightful surprise! Everything that occurred would be meant to be and everything will have been perfect.
Surprise is what makes life so much fun. If we try to avoid surprises, life becomes like reading the end of the murder mystery and finding out who dunnit before we start reading the beginning. Boring and disappointing!
The most fun I have ever had has been the result of happy accidents that I or someone else, somehow turned into amazing experiences. Life is full of curve balls. Catch them and learn how to turn them into something new and amazing.
2. Learn to trust yourself to handle any situation.
I know that if you feel your life is disappointing you have been through some pretty tough times so far. A lot of people who have been around for awhile have been through some really hard times, but guess what, we are still here! We are still breathing and carrying on. Somehow or other, we got out of it and got ourselves back on track.
It is unrealistic to think that we will never have tough times but it is empowering to know that whatever happens in life, we can and will figure out how to handle it. We all know people who have survived something we are sure that we, ourselves would never survive and yet here they are.
Think back to a really tough situation that you had some time in the past. Perhaps you can even think of many. Well, you got yourself out of all of those didn’t you? It is really amazing how many scrapes we have gotten ourselves out of. When things get tough, think back on the things that you handled and handled well. There are probably more times than you think.
Life has no guarantees and we will go through tough times that try our confidence in ourselves. Just know during those times, that you have found your way this far, you will find your way again.
3. Don’t relive moments in the past and kick yourself over how you handled them.
We live in the present and we all make mistakes. The bigger the spirit of the person and the more active he or she is, the more mistakes they will make. Mistakes are part of the learning curve of life.
It is ok to look back and say to yourself, “How could I have handled that differently and gotten a better result?” That is legitimate as long as you don’t kick yourself for your handling in the first place. If you knew how to handle it correctly, you would have done so.
Give yourself a break and move on. If there is someone in your life who constantly reminds you of your mistakes and criticizes you, get them to knock it off or get rid of them! They are no friend to you and can be quite harmful.
4. Treat yourself as though you were someone else.
When you love someone, you cut them slack, don’t you? You forgive them, don’t you? Yet, there is no one harder on us than we are on ourselves. There is also no one else’s criticisms that are as harmful as the criticisms that we level at ourselves.
We will eventually become what we think about ourselves Here is a good rule of thumb: Never say something to yourself or think something about yourself that you would not say to someone you love.
Have you ever said something unkind to someone you cared about and were filled with regret? It was painful to see that you had hurt that person. You probably had trouble getting over it. Why then is it ok to say unkind things to yourself? It is supremely destructive! Resist the impulse to think negative things about yourself.
5. Don’t let the external influences of others distract you from getting what you want.
Here is one thing to remember: whatever someone else thinks of us or says to us has no effect on us until such time as we start to believe it ourselves.
When you start out after a goal, chances are there is someone in your world that will disagree that this is what you should be doing especially if it goes against the ideas that our society has with regard to how everyone should live. It is amazing some of the things you will hear from people.
There are people who will tell you that they know you and you will fail. Others will tell you that you can’t make a living doing (blank). When someone comes to you with that nonsense (and it is nonsense) just know that you are dealing with jealousy or with the person’s own knowledge that they could never achieve the goal you are now going after. Either way, that is in their universe, don’t let it become a part of yours.
All through my life, I have had some pretty wild and different goals. At the same time I have had many people come out to tell me that I should not pursue them. There were many reasons but they were not my reasons. As long as I refused their reasons, I was ok. I got what I wanted. No one, including you, knows what you are capable of until you do something spectacular.
6. Seek out the unknown and embrace it
The world is a great and wonderful place. There are so many people and cultures out there creating beauty, traditions, art and magic. When you go out and open yourself up to experiencing these things, nothing is ever the same. The more you interact with people, the more you find out that we have so much in common. People create these beautiful things and experiences for the enjoyment of others.
Chefs create amazing meals, artists create beautiful things to look at and experience, families and cultures create amazing traditions, all so that others can enjoy them. Let them give you that gift. Let them show you their worlds.
There is nothing that fills you with childlike wonder like seeing new and amazing things. Go out and find them. They could be in your neighborhood. There are unusual restaurants, there are museums and natural wonders. Go experience them!
7) Turn off bad news
Bad news has a very negative affect on us when we hear it and, if we hear it day in and day out, it creates an idea in our minds that the world is a dangerous and hostile place. I used to have this idea until I started travelling. I have ended up in some crazy situations in different parts of the world and have been awestruck at the kindness and generosity of people whose only desire was to assist me. I have friends all over the world and they are all good, honest and kind people.
Here is a news flash: People are good! Sure there are a few bad apples but the good and great apples outweigh them greatly! If you listen to the news, you get the idea that there are people everywhere out to harm you. This is just not true. Turn off the bad news an listen to music instead.
Tune into shows that focus on the good in people and not the bad. Try it for a week and see how you feel.
8) Focus on what you have accomplished and not what you haven’t
Sit down with a piece of paper and write all of the things you have done that turned out ok or good. Keep writing. You will be surprised at how well you are doing in life.
Another question you might want to ask yourself is “Is there someone in the past or present who would be disappointed in me?” Association with people who are critical can be very harmful to the way we view ourselves. Is it possible that your disappointment with yourself is not your disappointment at all but someone else’s?
If you find this to be true, understand that their disappointment is not yours. They created it, let them own it. It has nothing at all to do with you. Shrug it off and start seeing how well you are really handling your life.
9) Stop focusing on what Is wrong with others and start looking for the good.
Not only is focusing on the negative extremely damaging to yourself and destroys your happiness, but it is very damaging to the people you do it to.
When your son cleans his room, bite your tongue instead of pointing out that he failed to clean the window sills. Praise him for what he did do. Chances are he will do better next time. Be an example for those around you but don’t focus on the ways you feel that they don’t measure up. You will all be happier.
For a long time I was this way with my kids. I tried so hard to get them to be good and responsible adults. the more I focused on the negative, the more they resisted and the more upsets we had. When I completely stopped looking at the negative and started looking at and pointing out what was right with them, our relationship magically mended and they stepped up. In short, I didn’t make them do the right thing or be the right way, I allowed them to figure out what was right and how they wanted to be. They are now happy and productive and, best yet, I don’t have to worry about them in life. I know they will be fine.
10) Plan a vacation, go to Disneyland or have a sleepover!
Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying life. If you are enjoying life, it doesn’t mean that you are not doing it right. Being serious sounds virtuous but it is NOT! You are actually more productive when you are having fun!
Sit down right now and figure out what special treat would make you happy. No matter what it is, plan it out step by step and start putting it into action. Then plan several more.
When you have a lot of cool things on your calendar, instead of looking at life as a series of burdensome chores, you start thinking of it as a series of cool vacations or fun things that happen to have some work and some chores mixed in. Nothing gets you through a tough week at work like knowing you are taking off on a ski vacation or even a camping trip. Plan them and go!
I know I promised you ten things but I can’t resist giving you this FREE BONUS THING!
As you do these steps, you will see patterns emerge in life. You will see other ways you can be happier just by changing the way you look at things.
The best way to change your life and your viewpoints is to look at your own ideas toward the various aspects of life. A good start is to decide what the absolute best and ideal you is.
Several years ago I wrote a short story entitled “The Holy Man”. In the story, the Holy Man is strong, courageous, honest, compassionate, loving and persistent. In fact, he is the embodiment of all of the best qualities that I most admire in a person. He accomplishes great things.
I had a lot of soul searching to do when I created that character and I wondered long and hard where he had come from. How could little old me come up with someone so perfect?
After much reflection, I realized that this Holy Man was me. No, not the me who lives on this earth and makes mistakes and has done all of the above things that have made me unhappy, but me at my most perfect. It is who I am when I embody all of these admirable characteristics. I must have them in me because I created this character.
And If I have them in me then I know you have them in you.
The question you should ask yourself is “Who is my Holy Man?” Everybody has one.
What would your Holy Man do? What would he or she think? How would they react? This Holy Man would be the ideal you, the you at your most beautiful, your most powerful, your most intelligent, your most fearless and your most compassionate. That is the real you. Get to know your Holy Man. Ask yourself what viewpoint would that person have? Adopt that viewpoint and do what he or she would do. You will know it is correct.
You may be interested in this: 11 Ways to Be Productive and Happy at the Same TimeFeatured photo credit: Young woman in despair sitting against a brick wall via Shutterstock