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13 Thoughts That Are Butchering Your Happiness

13 Thoughts That Are Butchering Your Happiness

Sometimes you might feel like you’re the only one who gets down on themselves. We all have those intrusive thoughts that are so negative they paralyze us. You aren’t alone. These kind of thoughts can make us feel powerless because they are slowly butchering our right to happiness. The good news is we gave those thoughts power ourselves. That means we can take back control and begin clearing our minds of the negative thought wasteland.

Here are some ways to fight 13 very common negative thoughts that hold us back :

1. “I’m not good enough.”

This is our inner-critic talking smack and bullying us. He’s always on duty, patrolling our minds. Around every corner, he’s there to tell us that we’ll never be good enough at anything we try to do. We’ve all been guilty of believing that we fall short on some sort of prerequisite to life. Our mind was designed to make judgments for survival purposes. The trick is to acknowledge when a negative judgment is taking place and redirect our thoughts. Instead of focusing on our weakness and shortcomings, we need to shift our perspective to trying to do our best. All humans start somewhere. No one will ever be perfect. It’s important to concentrate more on our strengths and forgive ourselves for ever believing we weren’t good enough – because we are just fine.

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2. “I wasn’t born with the talent to do that.”

You’re right… you weren’t. No one was born knowing how to do handstands, or draw comics, or launch a rocket into space. For most of us, it takes knowledge and skill. There are a few people who have certain activities that just come more naturally to them. However, most of us will have to spend a great deal of time and effort on skill mastery. While this thought might be correct, it’s still a limiting belief. If there is something we really want to do, we must work at it longer. We weren’t born knowing how to do anything—it all takes practice and patience.

3. “It’s too difficult.”

This is a very common thought that creeps up to protect us from stepping outside of our comfort zones. Anything that we are not used to doing is going to make us feel uneasy and frustrated. If we aren’t being challenged by something in life, we don’t grow. We don’t reach our goals. We get bored with life. Sometimes, we need difficult moments in life to overcome, so that we can appreciate the journey and become the hero of our story. Bragging rights are cool too.

4. “Its just not the right time.”

There is never going to be a so-called “right time”. The conditions will never be perfect for what we desire to do. This thought only delays our dreams and goals from happening. The right time to start is exactly when we feel the hesitation. We can begin by taking slow and steady steps to whatever it is we are trying to achieve. No one achieved anything at just the right time. Delaying what needs to be done is a detrimental luxury we have today that our ancestors didn’t have once upon a time. Think about that!

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5. “I’m too old now.”

If you’re over the age of 25, you’ve probably thought this before. How sad is that? We constantly see people much older than us working towards their dreams, but when it comes to us… we’re just too old. That’s nonsense! If you’re working towards something that brings you happiness, you’re never too old! When you’re doing something you love to do, you can do it until the day that you die. End of story!

6. “People don’t like me.”

This thought shows its ugly face when we personalize other people’s actions. We aren’t mind readers—we can’t possibly know for sure that someone’s body language really means they dislike us. People’s behavior has so much more to do with their own issues—not us. We can reclaim our power over this negative thought pattern of assumptions by getting comfortable with who we are and being true to ourselves. When we genuinely like who we are, we stop caring if someone truly doesn’t like us.

7. “I’m not smart enough.”

This false idea goes back to the “I’m not good enough” thought pattern. This is just another one of those false  judgments we have about ourselves. We are what we believe we are. If we firmly believe we aren’t smart, then we will live our lives doing only simple things to get by. Sometimes, we need to test ourselves and our abilities. We are all capable of great things—we just have to start believing it. We don’t have to be “smart enough” to start working towards our goal. The big secret is: we learn along the way. No one goes into a task operating at a genius level immediately.

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8. “I’m too busy.”

We ought to really be asking ourselves if we are really “too busy”, or if we really just don’t have the energy. Everyone is busy. Saying that we are too busy to do something often turns into a big excuse that we just accept as truth. Chances are good that we aren’t too busy. The truth is– we either don’t want to do something or we are low on energy. A way to overcome this excuse is to schedule a task that we think we don’t have time for (like exercise) into our daily routine. If it’s scheduled, there is time for it. We must learn to differentiate between being “too busy” and avoiding something we don’t want to do. It’s more socially acceptable to say, “I’m too busy”; than to say, “I don’t really want to come to your birthday party”. It’s just difficult to know where do we draw the line sometimes.

9. “It’s just my luck.”

When something goes wrong, we can catch ourselves thinking that we must deserve this. There must be some sort of dark cloud looming over our heads, casting down trivial accidents like stubbed toes, coffee spills, and parking tickets. As the day goes on, we continue to hold on to any problems we’ve gathered during the day and then add them onto new problems that crop up. It becomes a snowball effect of “just my luck”. Our whole day is ruined. We could have easily combated this by shrugging off the situation and saying, “Oh well”. Bad stuff happens sometimes. If we find ourselves ruminating on all of the negative things that happened during our day, it certainly steals our happiness. Reflecting on positive experiences instead will help us notice the good things in our day more than all of the crumby things. “Just my luck” can then go from being a negative thought process to a positive one.

10. “They’re better than I am.”

Says who? We tend to think this idea about ourselves when we compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths. Our self-worth ought not to come from comparing ourselves to our neighbor. Remember that our neighbor has flaws in areas that we are great at. This type of negative thinking will always bring us crumbling to the ground and steal away our treasured happiness. Everyone has different skills, talents, achievements, personalities, etc. The beauty of life is that we work with others to learn from them. We can turn jealousy and envy into curiosity and inspiration with a simple shift of perceptive.

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11. “I can’t do anything right.”

Failure and all-or-nothing thinking can make us feel like total losers. So we messed up on something in our lives?Big deal. It doesn’t mean that everything is ruined and we’ll never have a second shot. Falling down is a huge part of living. Everyone is going to have it happen to them—a lot. It’s staying down in the failure zone that is very detrimental to our self-esteem and is a cowardly decision. Getting back up and practicing resiliency will help mend our self-worth, regaining power back into our lives.

12. “I should be…”

If you know a little bit about psychoanalysis, you know that the superego is the “should” society places upon us. These are the rules and regulations of how society believes we must behave, and how we ought to live our lives. These demands are often very oppressive and sometimes irrational. When we are told that we “should” be a certain way, but we don’t want to be, we may feel overwhelming guilt over the conflict. We all deal with this constant battle between what our culture believes we should do and what we often want to do instead. Rigid, unbending demands are not at all fun for most people. When we find ourselves getting caught up in these “shoulds”, we should take a moment and decide if this is something we really want to do, or is this something we feel obligated to do in order to be accepted as a worthy individual?

13. “I’m all alone.”

It’s safe to say that we’ve all felt alone before (both physically and emotionally). This tends to happen when we’re going through a trial in our lives, or when we isolate from others. We might feel like no one knows what we are going through—that our feelings and tribulations are completely unique. However, we’d be wrong. Everyone has been through their fair share of tribulations. We can get over this negative belief by confiding in a compassionate friend who will support us when we feel like we are suffering and don’t know what to do. Sharing problems with a trusted ally gets us back to our happy place quicker than trying to do it all alone.

Featured photo credit: Sad woman at the beach in sepia colors. via shutterstock.com

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Naomi Teeter

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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