To be truly happy is what most of us are trying to achieve, but along the way, things get in the way. What we need to do and where we need to go often get compromised by restrictive ideas that consume our way of thinking. Comparing ourselves too much to what everyone else has done clouds our personal standards and expectations. At some point, everyone needs to consider what it is that makes them happy, completely independent of what has already been dictated to them. Here are seven things you should forgo to reinvigorate your perception of happiness.
1. Jealousy and Envy
It’s easy to watch your friends, colleagues, and even your siblings achieve success and wonder why you haven’t achieved any success on your own. When others do reach new achievements, a pitfall that is often stumbled into is envy. You want the glory that they have. You want the jobs or the fiscal freedom that comes with whatever they’ve got. This consuming emotion doesn’t lead to success. If anything, it will bring regression. You’ll start to reconsider if what you’re doing is enough: Why them and not me?
There is an answer to that question: It’s just not your time yet. But it will come. And it is important to remain focused on your own goals as opposed to the goals of others. Live your life, not the life of your peers.
2. Working Too Hard
A common phrase that gets swung around is that “you have to work hard to get the things you want”. While hard work is a definite must, there still needs to be a balance in how much hard work you’re putting in. Your mind and body can only put out so much energy in a day. Over-exhaustion can lead to stress-induced injuries and malnourishment. Make an effort to work efficiently. For instance, single-tasking can help you stay keen on your goals. Mitigating your work hours with frequent breaks allows the brain to breathe.
3. Fear of Setting Goals
Are you good enough? Well, that depends. Are you willing to take the steps needed to be good enough? If so, then yes, you are good enough, even if you aren’t there yet. Sitting around wondering if you can do what you want to do has never brought success to anyone. Committing to a list of goals―often illustrated in realistic baby steps―and crossing off each step as you go along will set your barometer.
Getting started is arguably the hardest part. We’re often constricted by our fear of not being ready. The reality is that no one is ever entirely ready for their endeavors. But starting along the path allows an opportunity to learn what your strengths and flaws are. Sitting in the chair staring idly at your goal list isn’t going to get you anywhere.
5. Thinking of Yesterday
We often revise our history in our minds and pretend that we didn’t make the mistakes in the past. In our imaginations, today would be perfect and all of our goals would be achieved and there would be nothing to worry. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are chances to discover something new about ourselves. Overcoming adversity begins with tackling the present day, not dwelling on woulda, coulda, shoulda.
6. Thinking of Tomorrow
The idea of tomorrow can be frightening. Will I be able to finance my goals? My life? Will I have the support system behind me in case I fail at this? All of these concerns are legitimate and should be considered, but not so intensely. Not knowing what’s up ahead can be unnerving, and while it shouldn’t be taken too lightly, there isn’t much you can do. If you commit to your goals, pivot and make compromises as you go along, and remind yourself of why you’re doing what you do in the first place, then everything will be just fine.
Today is the most important day, every day.
7. Expecting Perfection
Being happy is not synonymous with perfection. Perfection indicates the end of growth. Nothing else can be done, and nothing else can be achieved. Yes, you achieved your goals. Great job! But now what? You’ve done so much to become a goal-oriented person in your pursuit of happiness, you hit those marks, and now that there’s perfection, there’s nothing left to do. A goal-oriented person with nothing to do is not a happy person.
8. Expecting A Perfect Relationship
Love isn’t perfect, either. Relationships―even friendships―require maintenance, work, and balance. There is no such thing as the perfect partner, even though it often seems that way in the “honeymoon phase”. Accept the love that you have, try not to occupy on a person’s flaws, and see them for who they are, what they stand for, and how they are trying to grow. A good partner or friend will do the same for you, too.
9. Expecting A Perfect Body
How often are we forced to buy into ideas of how we’re supposed to look? Where we’re supposed to buy our clothes? What size we should be? These high standards are dangerous sources for stress. It’s hard to ignore them, but it isn’t impossible. Determine your own opinion of yourself, and continue to work towards whatever goals and standards you’ve set for you. Everyone is different.
10. Not Accepting The Word “No”
One word that has two letters can carry such power. It can defeat you, over and over again. But guess what? You’re going to hear no more often than yes in your pursuit for happiness. And that’s okay. Each no is a forward step towards the yes you’ve been looking for. Don’t take all the no’s personally.
11. Making Excuses
Coming up with lies, blame, and other stories to take the weight off your shoulders isn’t healthy. It leads to delusion. Soon, you’ll start to believe all the excuses you make. Ultimately, you’ll fail to see your own flaws clearly, which stunts your personal growth.
What are your expectations? Who set them for you? Did you or were these standards set by someone else, like your parents or a series of articles you read in a publication? If they aren’t your own expectations, get rid of them. You won’t be happy if you’re trying to live someone else’s life. Let their expectations be theirs and choose your own.
Being truly happy can happen for you if you learn how to listen to yourself. Distractions, expectations, and double standards are often oversaturating the human mind. These things prevent us from finding peace within ourselves. Our own voices become smaller and more distant. Find your voice, forgo these things, and you’ll be taking huge leaps towards being happy.