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If You Want To Be Genuinely Happy, Try Losing Things

If You Want To Be Genuinely Happy, Try Losing Things

The idea that possessions make us happy is an illusion. Putting all our happiness into things and even people or past experiences is ultimately allowing us to cultivate a notion that happiness doesn’t come from within — that it’s reliant on outside circumstances and objects.

We put so much emphasis on what our possessions mean to us that we conclude, that having these things in our life must be what’s bringing us happiness. However, what if we just let things go? Whether it’s a person or a possession, letting go can feel painful and we often wonder how can pain possibly bring happiness? Our mind tends to focus on the illogical aspect of this but in essence, letting go of things will lead us to live much more happy and fulfilling lives.

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Let Go of the Idea That Happiness Is Contained In Your Current Possessions

This is a huge misconception. Whether it’s that pair of shoes, the car, the latest smartphone, or the person we’ve been longing after — our mind believes that our lives will get better and we’ll be happier only when these things enter into our lives. And yes, they might make us feel excitement and joy for a short while but our ability to adapt to our environments and what’s in it causes us to get bored easily and move on to the next thing that’ll bring us happiness again.

Even in relationships, we believe a certain person will make us happy but sometimes you find out they just don’t. So it’s important to let go of the idea that happiness can be found by external means. If you let go of this idea you will come to realize that nothing around you contributes to your happiness other than inside yourself.

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Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Trying to control situations around us to make us happy will only end in unhappiness. Sometimes it’s better to just let go of what you can’t control and let it play out the way that it is meant to. Fighting too hard and obsessing over things will only bring frustration — trying to change something that’s fixed will take away your happiness in the long run so it’s important to let it go. Ultimately, you need to go with the flow to reap the benefits of feeling happy.

Happiness can be found in getting what you were resisting. Our mind has a habit of fixating on a particular way we can achieve our happiness and ignores or makes assumptions about other paths and avenues. But it’s these paths that could lead you to where you want to be. By releasing control on things and letting go you can learn how to be happy in a whole different way than you were expecting.

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Let Go of Your Past Possessions

You feel you’re due a sort out but you can’t quite let go of that dress that reminds you of a great holiday you had – despite not having worn it since 2007? Or an old picture that’s collecting dust in the attic because it reminds you of your last house? By holding on to our possessions, we are holding on to the past. While it’s nice to have keepsakes, holding on to too much stuff can stop us from moving forward more than we think. Literally making room in our closets and cupboards, frees up space in our minds too and this can do wonders for our happiness. Yes, it’s hard to throw that item in the bin or hand it over to the charity shop but it’s never as painful as we imagine afterwards.

Let Go of The People Who Don’t Serve Your Present

Sometimes we have people in our lives that dampen our happiness. While it can be difficult to let go of friends and past loves, it is paramount to our own happiness to step aside and let these people go. Holding on to painful memories or constantly exposing our thoughts and minds to potentially toxic people will only hinder our happiness.

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It’s also important to let go of the idea of a person. Past loves and relationships can have a habit of lingering in our minds where we start to forget the reasons why they didn’t work out. Equally, we build up the idea of people we lust after and place them up on that pedestal so we need to let go of this because it’s not really reality. Letting go relieves the pressure we put on ourselves and others that could be getting in the way of us achieving the happiness we deserve.

Pain, More Often Than Not, Leads To Happiness

The whole concept of letting go is painful to us. It must be, otherwise why would it be so hard to do? We are certain that the things and people around us contribute immensely to our happiness when, in fact in a lot of cases, this isn’t true.

Sometimes we need to go through painful processes to reach our happiness — it’s how we evaluate and appreciate what we need to make us happy and frees up necessary space for new and exciting experiences, thoughts, and beliefs to enter and help us understand how to be happy — truly and genuinely happy.

Featured photo credit: OD Pictures via odpictures.hu

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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