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7 Reasons Why You Won’t Be Happy No Matter How Hard You Try

7 Reasons Why You Won’t Be Happy No Matter How Hard You Try

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” –Audrey Hepburn

Ever had the experience of sinking so far into the “depths of despair” that you couldn’t seem to find a way out? Or the experience of trying everything, only to find the same bleakness surrounding you?

You are not alone.

We live in an increasingly negative world; a world in which those who want to be happy are often labeled as weird or selfish (or both!)

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If you’re feeling downtrodden, as if nothing you do makes a difference, consult these 7 common happiness pitfalls.

1. Your happiness is dependent upon external things.

True happiness comes from within. Happiness can never be constant if it always relies on something else.

If your happiness relies on the number of miles you run, the number of friends you have, or the amount of promotions you make, you will never be truly happy. Instead, work to find your inner joy by practicing mindfulness and self-love.

2. You fear being alone.

Solitude is a beautiful thing, but for some reason, many people fear it. But happiness can only be constant if it is found from within, whether you are in the presence of others or without them. You will never be truly happy if you fear being by yourself.

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If you find yourself feeling the need to be around people all the time, or find yourself feeling massive pangs of loneliness anytime you spend time by yourself, you may have some work to do. Try adding a solitary activity you enjoy into your weekly schedule or mindful activities such as yoga.

3. You allow your happiness to depend on others.

Happiness should only depend on one person and one person only: yourself.

If you find that you are relying on the approval of other people in order to feel happy about yourself, you have a problem. Try exercising positive affirmations such as “I am more than enough.”

4. You don’t know the difference between self-awareness and self-loathing.

Self-awareness is nonjudgmental acknowledgment of feelings and thoughts as they pass through you; self-loathing is self-judgment of actions, characteristics, thoughts, and feelings.

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If you find yourself getting confused between the two, you will find it difficult to be happy. The key is to silence the ego, and observe your feelings and thoughts as if you were a third party. This is self-awareness: non-judgmental observation. Try yoga, meditation, or other mindfulness activities to increase your self-awareness.

5. You compare your life with others.

One definitive downside to living in the age of technology is the increasing access we have to compare our lives with others. With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets, it is ever so easy to get snippets of other people’s lives, and compare our own lives with theirs.

If you find that you spend a large amount of time downsizing your own life in relation to others, try exercising power mantras daily that remind you of your uniqueness.

6. You hang around negative thinkers.

Our environment shape us into the person we are. Who you hang around makes a large difference: if you hang around people who support you, encourage you, and lift you up, your life will move in positive directions. If, however, you hang around a large number of negative thinkers who suck the life out of you, their negativity will begin rubbing off onto you and your life.

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If you find that the majority of your friends bring you down, consider exploring new social circles.

7. You’re in a career you hate.

We spend over 40 hours a week investing in our careers (and, more often than not, it’s closer to 50+ hours). That is a huge amount of our daily lives. If these hours are spent investing in careers that we despise, we will more than likely become unhappy.

If you find that you are in this situation – you spend your 40+ hours at the office despising every minute and counting down the seconds until you get to leave – it may be time to consider other options. Try researching new career options, building a project on the side, or getting career counseling.

More by this author

Alli Page

Allie is a pessimist-turned-optimist healthy food junkie who blogs about happiness, healthy living and travel.

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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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