Advertising
Advertising

9 Beliefs That Make Unhappy People Stay Unhappy

9 Beliefs That Make Unhappy People Stay Unhappy

How we think has a huge effect on how we feel. When we’re feeling down, it can be hard to imagine that we’re capable of pulling ourselves out of the slump. We can do it, however, and this post highlights nine beliefs that make unhappy people stay unhappy, plus how you can change them.

1. It needs to be perfect.

Perfection is rarely an obtainable standard, yet it’s the standard that so many of us strive to meet (and feel miserable when we don’t).

Rather than striving for perfection, we can make life a lot easier for ourselves by deciding in advance what “good enough” looks like for any given task and give ourselves permission to be satisfied with that.

2. I shouldn’t be feeling [X].

Nothing will bring us unhappiness faster than trying to convince ourselves that we shouldn’t feel a certain way. Whenever we say something that is shouldn’t be the way it is, we’re denying reality.

Advertising

Every feeling we experience occurs for a reason, even if that reason isn’t rooted in the present moment. While we might not enjoy the full spectrum of our emotional experience, we’ll be a lot happier if we stop trying to change things we can’t change.

Next time you feel an emotion and hear an internal voice saying you shouldn’t feel that way, tell yourself that you’re feeling exactly the way you’re supposed to feel and see how that alters your experience.

3. I don’t deserve [X].

While it’s true there might be times when we don’t deserve this or that, the moment this phrase stops being situational and becomes a belief, it’s going to affect our happiness.

The belief that we don’t deserve something doesn’t usually exist on its own. If we unpack this belief, we’ll usually find that several beliefs around our sense of worthiness feed it, for example, “I’m only worthy if I’m always busy,” or, “I’m only worthy if I make a lot of money.”

Advertising

4. If someone doesn’t like me, there must be something wrong with me.

When we try to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one, especially ourselves. Yet many of us still feel unhappy when someone indicates that they feel neutral or negatively towards us. We’re evolutionarily driven to seek out community and group acceptance, but it’s in the interests of our long-term happiness to recognize that we’re not necessarily going to find these things in every place we look.

Rather than focusing on whether other people like you, shift your focus to thinking about whether you like them.

5. I’ll be happy when…

The grass might always be greener on the other side, but if we wait for certain conditions to arise before we allow ourselves to feel happy, we’re missing the point of happiness altogether.

Whether you believe it or not, you can be happy now. Instead of focusing on the future, shift your focus to what you can feel gratitude for and enjoy in the present.

Advertising

6. Other people are just lucky.

Believing that other people are lucky when we’re not leaves us feeling more helpless than happy. Although other people might seem to have better circumstances than us, or to have effortlessly achieved things we’re struggling with, in reality they’ve usually worked very hard for those things.

The sooner we recognize that good fortune is rarely due to chance, the sooner we can start taking small steps towards our own good fortune.

7. Other people should see the world in the same way that I do.

Like point number two, if you believe that everyone should see the world in the same way you do, you’re going to be very unhappy whenever you come into contact with other people. We’re all individuals with our own experiences, our own histories, and our own ways of looking at the world.

Instead of believing that other people are somehow wrong if they don’t have the same world view as you, try appreciating the value that their different perspectives can offer you.

Advertising

8. I’m never going to be happy.

This belief is an example of a wider mindset that will lead to unhappiness: black and white thinking. While some things in the world are black and white, many more are varying shades of grey.

Happiness in particular is a skill, rather than a state of being we either experience or don’t. We can overcome this belief by practicing gratitude for what we have right here, right now, and accepting that our happiness might wax and wane over our lifetimes.

9. No one understands me/I’m the only one who feels [X].

When we’re feeling down, it’s tempting to look at everyone around us and imagine that we’re the only ones who feel this way or who are having this experience right now. While this can exacerbate the feeling, in reality, feeling sad, angry, hurt, or other typically ‘negative’ emotions is part of the normal human experience.

Remember, however you’re feeling, that you’re human and that the feeling will pass.

What are your tips for overcoming beliefs that keep people unhappy? Leave a comment and let us know.

More by this author

Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

The 5-Step Guide to Self Care for Busy People How to Enjoy Life In a Way Most People Don’t The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun 7 Practical Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Trending in Communication

1 40 Acts of Kindness to Make the World a Better Place 2 6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak 3 How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic 4 How to Stop Living on Autopilot with Antonio Neves 5 The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

Advertising

Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

Advertising

How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

Advertising

Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

Read Next