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20 Things You Need To Give Up If You Want To Be Truly Happy

20 Things You Need To Give Up If You Want To Be Truly Happy

The only thing standing in your way towards happiness is you; no one else is allowed to set up limits for you but you, nor there should be. No matter what kind of problems you’re dealing with, how old you are or where you live, you deserve to be happy – it’s as simple as that. It’s time to face the fact that you’re in control of your future, and finally do something about it!

1. Give up excuses

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    The easiest way to avoid something is to make up an excuse for it, and we all do it occasionally, like there’s not enough time during our busy day to join the gym, or it’s too late now to start learning a new language because we’re too old. I know there’s that silent voice in your head that says these things aren’t true, but you always find a way to ignore it somehow, don’t you? However, if you decide to work on your happiness, it’s time to stop being lazy! It’s never too late and you’re never too old to start something new and exciting.

    2. Give up unresolved relationships

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      Every person in the world has their past, and that’s something you can’t change. But, it’s not like you can’t deal with it and move on, right? A huge part of the past that’s dragging us down is usually related to romantic relationships. It’s hard on all of us to accept a certain fact, and stop wondering how all that effort has gone to waste. In order to make room for happiness in your life, you need to give up dwelling on the past, and start thinking about the bright future that’s in front of you.

      3. Give up stress

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        Stressing out is good for nothing; it doesn’t help in solving that certain problem bothering you, it decreases your productivity and it violates your health. The first step towards getting rid of stress once and for all is admitting you’re under it. It’s not that difficult after you confront this problem – you just need to find the perfect way to channel your thoughts, like meditation for example. The process of meditation will allow you to clear your head and cleanse your thoughts, and it’s good for your body as well, so why not give it a shot?

        4. Give up bad habits

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          You can’t really enjoy life if you have troubles with any kind of addiction, and it really doesn’t matter what kind of addiction it is – cigarettes or drugs – because both of them have a negative effect on your success. Like with the previous one, bad habits too require from you to admit them first. Also, you shouldn’t hesitate from asking for help, because there are people who are trained to show you how to stop consuming nasty substances and explain the process thoroughly.

          5. Give up hastily-made choices

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            You’re in no hurry. There’s enough time for everything, and nothing will pass you by if you stop and think for a second. Sure, it’s important to allow yourself to be spontaneous and crazy every now and then, but most of your decisions should have a clear process of thinking standing behind them, so you always know why you decided to do something and which consequences you may expect. Every time you’re faced with a choice, remember to breathe in and take some time to find out what option will be good for you.

            6. Give up regrets

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              The older we are, the smarter we get, right? Experience that we gather in time often has a way of showing us how bad some decisions in our past were. That’s obviously the price we pay for knowledge, and it’s not really pleasant, but it’s worth it. You need to face the fact that no one on this planet is perfect, and that we all make mistakes. The most important part about dealing with regrets is to find a way to forgive yourself first, and then ask for forgiveness from others. Don’t torture yourself any longer with things that simply can’t be fixed – well, not until they invent a time travel machine.

              7. Give up resentments

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                This is really a two-way street, you know – if you want from others to forgive you for your lousy choices in the past, you need to do the same. Nothing good can come out of blaming people and judging them for something that happened years ago. If you let go of your resentments, you’ll make room in your life for good things which don’t eat you up from the inside. Besides, those thoughts just burden your mind additionally, and giving them up will enable you to feel free and be open-minded once again.

                8. Give up trying to control the future

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                  Making smart decisions and reasonable plans is one thing, but trying to control how everything will turn out in the end is something else. Unfortunately, we can’t predict the future, no matter how hard we try, and there are good reasons why that’s a fact. Something unexpected is bound to happen and you can’t do a thing to prevent it. Facing this undeniable fact will make your life so much easier. Having high expectations has a nasty habit of ruining even the good things for us, so give it up, sit back and enjoy the ride.

                  9. Give up being irresponsible

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                    On the other hand, things may not be working out for you because you don’t take them seriously. Whether we’re talking about work, family or love, the formula for success is pretty much the same for every aspect of your life – if you want things done in your life, it’s important to invest some hard work and devotion into them. You may not be aware that you’re feeling unfulfilled right now, but that tiny void can grow really fast, and develop quite quickly. So, get up and make things happen for you!

                    10. Give up chasing wrong people

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                      It doesn’t really matter if you’re chasing someone because you want to be their friend, or you want to get romantically involved with them, but you need to stop that right now. If a certain person doesn’t appreciate you and your efforts enough to give you a chance, things should be quite self-explicatory – they don’t deserve you! Sure, the situation is difficult to comprehend and it’s completely normal to feel disappointed, but you have done your best, and if that’s not enough, it’s simply not meant to be and you need to learn how to deal with it.

                      11. Give up trying to please everybody

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                        Was there a court that assigned a number of people you need to try and please all your life, before you were born, of course? I don’t think so. Making other people happy is a really great gesture, and there’s not a feeling like that sensation you get when you know you’re responsible for someone’s smile. However, if this at some point becomes unilaterally, and if the only effort invested into a certain relationship is yours, the smart thing to do is click the pause button and see what happens. Good relationships survive because both sides are ready to nurture that bond between you, so you can’t and shouldn’t even try to do the amount of work that’s intended for two persons.

                        12. Give up limitations you set by yourself

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                          Convincing yourself that there’s something you can’t or don’t know how to do will only create an illusion that the walls are coming closer around you, which definitely isn’t true. You never know what you’re capable of doing until you try. I’m sure there are at least of a couple things that you wanted to do your whole life but you were afraid to do them, so now is the perfect time to break those wrongfully made limits you set by yourself and finally do something exciting that makes you feel alive!

                          13. Give up disappointments

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                            Happy, determined people don’t really have enough time to feel down. Getting disappointed all the time is pointless and it won’t do you much good, you know. It’ll only make you feel bad about yourself and waste your time, the time you’d rather be spending on doing something that fulfills you. Therefore, the next time something disappointing happens, take some time to see what went wrong, and analyze the situation so you know better in the future and stop there. Even this kind of unfortunate turn of events can result in something good – constructive thinking can lead you to success, because having the ability to evaluate circumstances better will directly cause the number of situations that make you feel disappointed to decrease, right?

                            14. Give up feeling misunderstood

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                              A lot of people have troubles when it comes to finding their spot in the world. Not all of us are lucky to be born with amazing people skills, so we don’t have any trouble finding a group of people that will accept us immediately. You need to know that this isn’t a bad thing. The fact that finding your place in society takes more time only means that you’re not like most people around you – you are unique. Besides, things that need time and effort to find somehow make us appreciate them more, and not take them for granted. Once you find that comfortable little spot meant only for you, and you will, I’m sure you’ll consider it to be worth all the troubles you’ve been through while you felt like an outsider.

                              15. Give up trying to be someone you’re not

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                                On the other hand, you might be feeling miserable because you’re surrounded by people who think you’re someone you’re not. This may be the problem because you decided, sometime in the past, that it’s easier to act socially acceptable than to go through all the trouble and show people who you really are. Well, you can’t really expect for these things to stay inside your closet forever, can you? It’s hard and you’ll feel vulnerable, but if you want people to love the real you, you need to allow them to get to know you. Take baby steps, don’t give up and you’ll be just fine!

                                16. Give up trying to find the easy way out

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                                  You know that amazing feeling of satisfaction that comes after long hours and hard work which paid off in the end? You don’t? Well, if you don’t truly devote yourself and invest real effort into something, you never will. Chances are you won’t inherit a fortune from a cousin you didn’t know existed, and that you won’t win the lottery that will turn your life around, so it is time to face the fact that you need to roll up your sleeves and deserve good things. Finding the easy way out for everything won’t make you appreciate yourself and your skills, but hard work will.

                                  17. Give up old clothes

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                                    Our emotions have a way of attaching to random objects, clothes mostly – like an old t-shirt that reminds us of a former lover who you parted with in a not-so-pleasant way, a worn-out sweater that reminds you of a Christmas long ago when your parents went through a divorce or perhaps an old-fashioned bag which was a gift from your friend with whom you’re no longer in contact with. All memories worth remembering will stay in your mind, and if you keep on collecting garments and accessories this way, your closet will soon become a museum of your past, which is way worse than having actual skeletons. It’s not necessary to spend a fortune on branded items, you know. For example, instead of going for an overpriced clutch purse that can’t fit more than a smartphone, you should perhaps look for a quality messenger bag that you’ll actually find useful. The clothes you wear should be all about quality not quantity – that’s the only way you’ll feel good in them.

                                    18. Give up junk food

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                                      That’s not real food and you know it. Your outer appearance will start to reflect the foods you intake the moment your organism slows down, which will surely happen, it’s just a matter of time. Enjoying delicious meals that actually have energetic value and which won’t make you gain weight is a privilege, and the only way to get it is to learn how to cook! Give some to get some, right? The truth is that absolutely anyone can do it, and all that is preventing you from preparing amazingly healthy meals is some practice. The obvious solution is to sign up for a class, but there are bunch of quite helpful tutorials and recipes written in detail online, so you don’t even need to leave your home. Watching someone who’s pretty great at what they do like Jamie Oliver can be really inspiring, which is a great place to start, as well.

                                      19. Give up feeling unsatisfied with your body

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                                        How dull our world would be if all people would look like if they were made according to some kind of pattern? The way you look is absolutely unique which makes it beautiful in its own way, and you shouldn’t spend one second being concerned about what the rest of the world thinks. It’s important to take good care of your body, exercise and nurture it – the rest is up to nature. A huge part of happiness is based on accepting yourself exactly the way you are. If you don’t, why should anyone else?

                                        20. Give up worrying about money

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                                          Money is probably your main source of stress. People are too worried about having enough money so that they can have pretty things, but while you’re doing that, your life is passing you buy. Starting now, you should look at money like if it were a task you need to complete in your office – do what needs to be done and leave it behind you. Managing money is something you learn, it’s practically a skill you develop, so if you have no previous experience except the one you were imposed to, you should read up more on the subject. Your life will be significantly easier and much happier when you learn to handle money. I truly hope you’ll find my article inspiring! Giving up all these things will surely make your life filled with happiness, so you should definitely consider giving them a shot. Let me know how it goes!

                                          Featured photo credit: Hipster by camper van at festival on a summers day via shutterstock.com

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                                          Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                                          8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                                          8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                                          How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                                          Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                                          When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                                          Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                                          What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                                          Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                                          1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                                          Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                                          Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                                          It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                                          2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                                          This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                                          Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                                          3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                                          It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                                          I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                                          If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                                          4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                                          While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                                          To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                                          My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                                          Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                                          Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                                          How To Be a Better Listener

                                          For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                                          1. Pay Attention

                                          A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                                          According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                                          As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                                          I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                                          2. Use Positive Body Language

                                          You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                                          A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                                          People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                                          But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                                          According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                                          “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                                          Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                                          3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                                          I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                                          Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                                          Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                                          Be polite and wait your turn!

                                          4. Ask Questions

                                          Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                                          5. Just Listen

                                          This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                                          I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                                          I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                                          6. Remember and Follow Up

                                          Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                                          For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                                          According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                                          It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                                          7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                                          If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                                          Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                                          Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                                          Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                                          NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                                          1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                                          2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                                          8. Maintain Eye Contact

                                          When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                                          Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                                          By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                                          You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                                          And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                                          More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                                          Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                                          [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                                          [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                                          [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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