Happiness is perhaps the most important thing to most people.
Unfortunately, finding it is an endless pursuit that many struggle to achieve.
Almost every common avenue to happiness, including wealth, power, and fame, inevitably leads to frustration, disappointment and sorrow. No matter how successful you are, there are things to give up to be happy.
These things act like shackles, and are usually ingrained into your psyche from childhood. Overcoming these self-imposed limitations can be very difficult for many. Understanding what they are is the first step to achieving real and lasting happiness. Here is a list of the 15 things to give up to be happy:
Letting others dictate how you live your life
Letting people dictate how you live your life is a major cause of unhappiness. This is because the needs and desires of others do not necessarily match your own. Building your life around the expectations of others stops you from following your own dreams. It also robs you of the freedom to enjoy things in life that matter the most to you. You are the boss of your life, and being happy means you decide what, when, and how to live it.
Selling yourself too short
Lack of self-belief is a hindrance to achieving happiness. It causes you to constantly criticize yourself, encouraging you to accept failure as a part of your life. It makes you believe success is meant only for the lucky ones, and not you. Overcoming this habit allows you to demand more from life, and to ask for better treatment and respect from those around you. This helps you avoid situations where you get used or trampled upon.
Happy people derive fulfillment from new things, experiences, relationships or events. These things can only be enjoyed through changes in life. Resistance to change is a habit of unhappy people. It is a false defense mechanism, aimed at clinging to what is familiar no matter how much unhappiness it brings. Some changes might not appear advantageous at first, but with time they usher in new opportunities. Embracing change is accepting fresh ideas and possibilities, which lead to greater success and happiness.
Clinging to the past
An unfortunate past has a way of sneaking in and ruining even the best moments. The past does not define you. What you do and achieve from the present onwards dictates who you are. A bad past is nothing but an inconvenient memory, best relegated to the dustbins of history. The future beckons with delightful new possibilities full of avenues to happiness This means overcoming failed relationships, business ventures, or traumatic experiences. They are nothing but mental roadblocks on your path to future happiness.
Taking life too seriously
If life feels like a constant struggle or like floating on the surface of a vast mess; remember, chasing your dreams is a great thing, but it should not take control over your life. People who are obsessed with everything they do never learn to enjoy the simple things in life. When accepting failure becomes almost impossible, it makes you beat yourself up for every tiny thing you do not do well. Taking life too seriously stops you from ignoring slights and mistakes in yourself and others. It leads to grudges and eventually, unhappiness.
Procrastination is a folly of those who do not value the opportunities that life bestows upon them. Unfortunately, postponing things regularly leads to anxiety and stress. Deadlines become fearful events, and nothing is ever accomplished in time. This can hinder your success and cause unhappiness, especially when rare opportunities pass you by.
We all have an excuse for every wrongdoing, fear, bad habit, or failure. Excuses help you feel better about yourself after a bad deed, but they do not help you achieve happiness. Excuses stop you from confronting change, or overcoming bad habits. They encourage failure and prevent you from trying new ways of doing things. Regularly excusing bad behavior also ruins relationships. This is a recipe for unhappiness.
Burying your head in the sand
The realities of the present can evoke feelings of despair, fear, or frustration. Challenges in life need to be confronted head on, and not ignored. In fact, many problems become compounded when not attended to. Furthermore, learning to face reality and accept your present circumstances makes you bolder and courageous. No problem will ever disappear no matter how long you ignore it.
Unhappy people have a holier-than-thou attitude. They do not see good things in anything or anyone except themselves. They therefore trust only themselves, and constantly point fingers when things go wrong. This damages their relationships, and makes them expect too much from everyone. They are invariably disappointed every time, leading to unhappiness. Accepting others as they are is the only way to avoid constant disappointments.
Comparing yourself to everyone else
We are all unique in our own way. There is no standard that fits all. Trying to keep up with the neighbors only leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. When you compare yourself with others, it makes your shortcomings appear more pronounced. You lower your self-esteem when you think someone else is better than you. It puts you in a constant race to be better than everyone, and prevents you from enjoying your life.
Happy people shrug off disappointments and search for new paths to success. Disappointment can lead to deep frustration. However, complaining endlessly about the bad things in your life only guarantees unhappiness. It heightens your despair and frustration. It can also make you lash out at innocent people. By not complaining, you accept reality, and find other ways of overcoming your problems.
Refusing to accept differing opinions
Trying to be right at all times can create conflict and dissatisfaction with life. It can be tough accepting that not everyone sees things the way you do. This is especially painful when divergent opinions come from those you hold dear to you. To be happy, you must accept that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, choices, or tastes. This creates harmony, and helps you make friends from all walks of life.
Trying to control everything
Human beings naturally feel more comfortable when in control. This reduces feelings of anxiety and helplessness when in difficult situations. Trying to control what others think, feel, or do is futile. Circumstances and events are also impossible to control at all times. Letting go allows you to relax and enjoy yourself, without needlessly worrying about things that can go wrong.
Clinging to attachments
There are those who cannot let go of attachments. This stems from dependency and fear of being alone. Attachments can therefore become prisons, and prevent you from moving on with your life. Whether it is a relationship, family ties, or long friendship, moving on can open your life to better possibilities. Attachments create a false sense of security, and discourage independence.
Fear of the unknown
Finally, to truly enjoy life and be happy, you must overcome fear of the unknown. Highly enjoyable things or experiences can be unknown or untested. This could be a new relationship, or novel business idea. Confronting your fears and jumping off the cliff is the perfect way to start a new beginning. Fears prevent you from taking that necessary leap forward. This stops you from trying new things, or overcoming challenges. You then live your life in a box, too scared to move out and live life to the fullest.
These are the 15 things to give up to be happy. They make your life difficult and less enjoyable. They also rob you of any chance to experience new adventures.