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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hannah Braime

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

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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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