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How to Change Your Life From Disappointment to Happiness With 10 Simple Steps

How to Change Your Life From Disappointment to Happiness With 10 Simple Steps

Here it is, another day gone and another series of disappointments. How is it that life got so, well, disappointing?

It wasn’t like that before.  When you were a kid you hated to go to bed at night. You didn’t want to miss anything. You couldn’t wait for summer vacation or a trip to Disneyland or having your best friend sleep over. When did your life go from happy anticipation to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning?

How can you change your life from disappointment to happiness?

The simple answer is viewpoint. How we view something, whether we dread it or look forward to it with bright anticipation determines the actual outcome. The life wrecking viewpoints have snuck in on us so quietly that we didn’t even see them come in and yet here they are, like unwelcome guests that never know when it is time to leave. And here we are, wondering how we got so negative.

There is a way out of it. There are ways to change your viewpoints and thus your actions which will allow you to experience happiness. Here are some simple steps to help you get started.

1. Go into life with less expectation and more exploration.

If you expect life and situations to be a certain, set way no matter what happens, you are doomed to disappointment.

A good example of this is a wedding. Many young girls have a certain view of “Their special day” This is the day where everything must be absolutely “perfect”. There must be no hiccups. The bride’s dress must be perfect, the bride herself will have to lose 20 pounds so she looks her best. The band must perform exactly the right songs at the right time, the caterers cannot step one foot out of line and then maybe, just maybe, everything will be “perfect”. These weddings are almost never “perfect” in every way. How can they possible be? And the bride feels that the day is completely ruined.

How many young ladies have been stressed out of their minds and had melt downs on their wedding day because everything wasn’t “perfect”?

What if a young bride went in with the idea “Whatever happens, it will be perfect!”

She could then plan her wedding without stress. If she were to have that idea, everything that happened that day would be a delightful surprise! Everything that occurred would be meant to be and everything will have been perfect.

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Surprise is what makes life so much fun. If we try to avoid surprises, life becomes like reading the end of the murder mystery and finding out who dunnit before we start reading the beginning. Boring and disappointing!

The most fun I have ever had has been the result of happy accidents that I or someone else, somehow turned into amazing experiences. Life is full of curve balls. Catch them and learn how to turn them into something new and amazing.

2. Learn to trust yourself to handle any situation.

I know that if you feel your life is disappointing you have been through some pretty tough times so far. A lot of people who have been around for awhile have been through some really hard times, but guess what, we are still here! We are still breathing and carrying on. Somehow or other, we got out of it and got ourselves back on track.

It is unrealistic to think that we will never have tough times but it is empowering to know that whatever happens in life, we can and will figure out how to handle it. We all know people who have survived something we are sure that we, ourselves would never survive and yet here they are.

Think back to a really tough situation that you had some time in the past. Perhaps you can even think of many. Well, you got yourself out of all of those didn’t you? It is really amazing how many scrapes we have gotten ourselves out of. When things get tough, think back on the things that you handled and handled well. There are probably more times than you think.

Life has no guarantees and we will go through tough times that try our confidence in ourselves. Just know during those times, that you have found your way this far, you will find your way again.

3. Don’t relive moments in the past and kick yourself over how you handled them.

We live in the present and we all make mistakes. The bigger the spirit of the person and the more active he or she is, the more mistakes they will make. Mistakes are part of the learning curve of life.

It is ok to look back and say to yourself, “How could I have handled that differently and gotten a better result?” That is legitimate as long as you don’t kick yourself for your handling in the first place. If you knew how to handle it correctly, you would have done so.

Give yourself a break and move on. If there is someone in your life who constantly reminds you of your mistakes and criticizes you, get them to knock it off or get rid of them! They are no friend to you and can be quite harmful.

4. Treat yourself as though you were someone else.

When you love someone, you cut them slack, don’t you? You forgive them, don’t you? Yet, there is no one harder on us than we are on ourselves. There is also no one else’s criticisms that are as harmful as the criticisms that we level at ourselves.

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We will eventually become what we think about ourselves  Here is a good rule of thumb: Never say something to yourself or think something about yourself that you would not say to someone you love.

Have you ever said something unkind to someone you cared about and were filled with regret? It was painful to see that you had hurt that person. You probably had trouble getting over it. Why then is it ok to say unkind things to yourself? It is supremely destructive! Resist the impulse to think negative things about yourself.

5. Don’t let the external influences of others distract you from getting what you want.

Here is one thing to remember: whatever someone else thinks of us or says to us has no effect on us until such time as we start to believe it ourselves.

When you start out after a goal, chances are there is someone in your world that will disagree that this is what you should be doing especially if it goes against the ideas that our society has with regard to how everyone should live. It is amazing some of the things you will hear from people.

There are people who will tell you that they know you and you will fail. Others will tell you that you can’t make a living doing (blank). When someone comes to you with that nonsense (and it is nonsense) just know that you are dealing with jealousy or with the person’s own knowledge that they could never achieve the goal you are now going after. Either way, that is in their universe, don’t let it become a part of yours.

All through my life, I have had some pretty wild and different goals. At the same time I have had many people come out to tell me that I should not pursue them. There were many reasons but they were not my reasons. As long as I refused their reasons, I was ok. I got what I wanted. No one, including you, knows what you are capable of until you do something spectacular.

6. Seek out the unknown and embrace it

The world is a great and wonderful place. There are so many people and cultures out there creating beauty, traditions, art and magic. When you go out and open yourself up to experiencing these things, nothing is ever the same. The more you interact with people, the more you find out that we have so much in common. People create these beautiful things and experiences for the enjoyment of others.

Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's

    Chefs create amazing meals, artists create beautiful things to look at and experience, families and cultures create amazing traditions, all so that others can enjoy them. Let them give you that gift. Let them show you their worlds.

    There is nothing that fills you with childlike wonder like seeing new and amazing things. Go out and find them. They could be in your neighborhood. There are unusual restaurants, there are museums and natural wonders. Go experience them!

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    7) Turn off bad news

    Bad news has a very negative affect on us when we hear it and, if we hear it day in and day out, it creates an idea in our minds that the world is a dangerous and hostile place. I used to have this idea until I started travelling. I have ended up in some crazy situations in different parts of the world and have been awestruck at the kindness and generosity of people whose only desire was to assist me. I have friends all over the world and they are all good, honest and kind people.

    Here is a news flash: People are good! Sure there are a few bad apples but the good and great apples outweigh them greatly! If you listen to the news, you get the idea that there are people everywhere out to harm you. This is just not true. Turn off the bad news an listen to music instead.

    Tune into shows that focus on the good in people and not the bad. Try it for a week and see how you feel.

    8) Focus on what you have accomplished and not what you haven’t

    Sit down with a piece of paper and write all of the things you have done that turned out ok or good. Keep writing. You will be surprised at how well you are doing in life.

    Another question you might want to ask yourself is “Is there someone in the past or present who would be disappointed in me?” Association with people who are critical can be very harmful to the way we view ourselves. Is  it possible that your disappointment with yourself is not your disappointment at all but someone else’s?

    If you find this to be true, understand that their disappointment is not yours. They created it, let them own it. It has nothing at all to do with you. Shrug it off and start seeing how well you are really handling your life.

    9) Stop focusing on what Is wrong with others and start looking for the good.

    Not only is focusing on the negative extremely damaging to yourself and destroys your happiness, but it is very damaging to the people you do it to.

    When your son cleans his room, bite your tongue instead of pointing out that he failed to clean the window sills. Praise him for what he did do. Chances are he will do better next time. Be an example for those around you but don’t focus on the ways you feel that they don’t measure up. You will all be happier.

    For a long time I was this way with my kids. I tried so hard to get them to be good and responsible adults. the more I focused on the negative, the more they resisted and the more upsets we had. When I completely stopped looking at the negative and started looking at and pointing out what was right with them, our relationship magically mended and they stepped up. In short, I didn’t make them do the right thing or be the right way, I allowed them to figure out what was right and how they wanted to be. They are now happy and productive and, best yet, I don’t have to worry about them in life. I know they will be fine.

    10) Plan a vacation, go to Disneyland or have a sleepover!

    Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying life. If you are enjoying life, it doesn’t mean that you are not doing it right. Being serious sounds virtuous but it is NOT! You are actually more productive when you are having fun!

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    Sit down right now and figure out what special treat would make you happy. No matter what it is, plan it out step by step and start putting it into action. Then plan several more.

    When you have a lot of cool things on your calendar, instead of looking at life as a series of burdensome chores, you start thinking of it as a series of cool vacations or fun things that happen to have some work and some chores mixed in. Nothing gets you through a tough week at work like knowing you are taking off on a ski vacation or even a camping trip. Plan them and go!

    I know I promised you ten things but I can’t resist giving you this FREE BONUS THING!

    As you do these steps, you will see patterns emerge in life. You will see other ways you can be happier just by changing the way you look at things.

    The best way to change your life and your viewpoints is to look at your own ideas toward the various aspects of life. A good start is to decide what the absolute best and ideal you is.

    Several years ago I wrote a short story entitled “The Holy Man”. In the story, the Holy Man is strong, courageous, honest, compassionate, loving and persistent. In fact, he is the embodiment of all of the best qualities that I most admire in a person. He accomplishes great things.

    I had a lot of soul searching to do when I created that character and I wondered long and hard where he had come from. How could little old me come up with someone so perfect?

    After much reflection, I realized that this Holy Man was me. No, not the me who lives on this earth and makes mistakes and has done all of the above things that have made me unhappy, but me at my most perfect. It is who I am when I embody all of these admirable characteristics. I must have them in me because I created this character.

    And If I have them in me then I know you have them in you.

    The question you should ask yourself is “Who is my Holy Man?” Everybody has one.

    What would your Holy Man do? What would he or she think? How would they react? This Holy Man would be the ideal you, the you at your most beautiful, your most powerful, your most intelligent, your most fearless and your most compassionate. That is the real you. Get to know your Holy Man. Ask yourself what viewpoint would that person have? Adopt that viewpoint and do what he or she would do. You will know it is correct.

    Good luck!

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    Chris Ellis

    Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

    You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

    This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

    Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

    There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

    How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

    When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

    Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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    1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

    One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

    The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

    Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

    2. Be Honest

    A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

    If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

    On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

    Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

    3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

    Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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    If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

    4. Succeed at Something

    When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

    Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

    5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

    Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

    Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

    If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

    If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

    Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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    6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

    Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

    You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

    On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

    You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

    7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

    Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

    Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

    Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

    When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

    Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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    In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

    Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

    It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

    Final Thoughts

    When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

    The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

    Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

    Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

    Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

    More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
    [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
    [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
    [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
    [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
    [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
    [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
    [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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