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If Being Truly Happy is Your Goal, You Should Forgo These 12 Things in Life

If Being Truly Happy is Your Goal, You Should Forgo These 12 Things in Life

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.

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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.

4. Procrastination

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

12. Expectations

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.

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Kyle Hiller

Author, Writer

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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