With only 33% of Americans reporting that they are especially happy overall in a recent survey, one has to wonder just what we are doing wrong. While it may be tempting to blame the negative news, the rise of social media or any other outside influence, the greatest risk to your happiness may be your own thinking!
The biggest mistake that many of us make is to subscribe to the idea that our happiness is dependant on our situation in life. By this theory, fame and fortune can bring true happiness in life, and happiness that is impossible for those that live in poverty. The truth, however, is that even those people who we believe are blessed with the most may be battling poor mental health or struggling to find their own happiness in this world. Look at some of the most recent notable suicides including Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain – There is no gender, race, age or economic class that is immune.
The key to happiness according to many psychologists and mental health experts lies not in an outside source, but in your own ability to take control of your happiness. Don’t hand over control of your happiness to someone else. Your happiness isn’t dependant on a specific income or job promotion, the size of your house or how new your car is? Instead, it’s all about how you choose to react to the situations that you face every day.
Take some time to step back and reassess your self-talk. Are you building yourself up, inviting positivity into your life and discovering the joy and happiness in every moment, or are you actively tearing yourself down?
Here are 14 ways that your thinking is poisoning your soul and destroying your happiness:
#1 – You constantly engage in negative and toxic self-talk.
Take a moment and think back to the last conversation that you had with yourself. What did you say? What messages were occupying your mind? If anyone else were to talk to you in that way, how would you react? If your answer to that question is anything less than feeling thankful and loved, then it’s time to change your inner dialogue. Don’t allow your self-talk to tear you down.
#2 – When you think of the future, you do so with dread.
The future can bring incredible hope and possibility, full of all the great things that are waiting for you, but you are choosing not to focus on this. Instead, you look at your future and all you choose to see is the way that things could go wrong, the possibility for negativity and the ways that you may fail. The result? You are setting yourself up for failure.
#3 – You avoid saying ‘no,’ instead, saying yes to everything even if you don’t want to.
One of the most difficult lessons that you need to learn is that there is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ to someone. Just because someone has asked you to do them a favor or take part in something, that does not mean that you are obliged to take part. If you say yes to everything, you’re going to find yourself completely overwhelmed with way too much on your plate. Instead, learn the power of the world ‘no.’
#4 – Highly dependant, you allow yourself to feel as though you need someone to support you rather than standing proudly alone.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling as though you need the validation of others in order to find happiness. This type of thinking will leave you constantly struggling to be ‘good enough’ for everyone else around you. Instead, learn how to stand tall and proud on your own. You don’t need someone else in your life, instead, you may choose to want to have someone specific in your life because they compliment your life.
#5 – You refuse to learn from your mistakes.
It has been said that the first time you make a mistake it is just that a mistake – but if you repeat that same mistake, each subsequent mistake is actually a choice. You don’t need to be inviting the same mistakes and failures back into your lifetime and time again. Instead, take a step back anytime that you find yourself facing failure, and identify the lesson that you need to learn to avoid it moving forward.
#6 – Resisting the urge to let things go, you hold onto things that no longer serve a purpose in your life.
When people or things come into your life, it is not always going to be for eternity. In fact, there are many things that will come for a short time, serving a specific purpose before it once again leaves your life and you move on. This can be hard to accept, causing us to hold onto things long after their value in our life is gone. It’s not going to be easy but learning to let things go will open the door for happiness.
#7 – Looking forward to your goals, you allow yourself to believe that you will be happy if you just reach that next accomplishment.
Goal setting is incredibly important, helping to set our sights high and motivate us to accomplish great things. However, if we aren’t careful then we can fall into the trap of thinking that these goals are the only way to find happiness in this world. Thinking this way will, ultimately, deny you happiness entirely as you are always focused on the next step. Happiness will appear as though it is always just outside of your reach.
#8 – You allow others to take you for granted.
You are an amazing, creating, talented individual, one worthy of love and kindness. However, while you may wish to bring these traits to the rest of the world, not everyone is going to share the same positive intentions. Instead, you are going to encounter people that seek just to take, take, take, never showing you love and respect in return. Don’t settle for this treatment. If you notice that a relationship you are currently experiencing isn’t a two-way street, then walk away.
#9 – Rather than taking responsibility for the things you have done, you are always making excuses.
Let’s be honest, while others may fall for your excuses, you always know need down what happened. This means that you are not only harboring the negativity from your initial mistake, but also the additional negativity associated with refusing to take responsibility. You can free yourself from this burden, you just need to start taking responsibility for your own thoughts, words, and actions.
#10 – You allow yourself to accept and entertain toxic people.
This one should be a given, and yet it needs to be listed here. If there are highly negative or toxic people in your life, then you are allowing their toxic influence to infect your world. You deserve better than this. If you notice that someone is treating your poorly or bringing a toxic energy into your life, then you need to cut them out. Instead, seek out people who share your joy and positivity.
#11 – Despite your strong morals and convictions, you allow yourself to engage in things that don’t line up with your purpose in this world.
Your life purpose is one of the strongest, most powerful things that you possess. It is your calling, your reason for being here and the driving force for your every action and reaction. If you are going to find true happiness, take the time to ensure that each choice you make in this life is in line with your purpose. If you are chasing your dreams and following your true calling in this life, then the journey will bring you as much happiness as any final destination.
#12 – You spend far too much of your time dwelling on your past.
Don’t allow yourself to put all of your time and energy into your past. Holding onto past negativity and bringing it into your present will only result in one thing – twice the negativity and toxic energy every day. Your past is behind you, and there’s nothing you can do to change it, so let it go. Leave the past in the past and focus instead on the here and now.
#13 – Seeking love in others, you fail to truly love yourself.
While there is no denying the fact that love can bring us happiness and joy in life, you deny yourself love from the one person that matters most in this life – yourself. Before you can truly open your heart to love from another, you must first practice true, unconditional self-love. This starts by acknowledging the things about yourself that you love most, recognizing your strengths and accomplishments. You are truly worthy of love.
#14 – You give in to peer pressure rather than staying true to yourself.
You will always experience pressure in this world – whether it’s from friends, family members, teachers, co-workers or simply society as a whole. While the easier route may be to give in, allowing others to make your decisions in life so as to avoid conflict, however, if you genuinely want to be happy then you need to take the road less traveled. Determine what truly makes you, you, and don’t let it go. Make it a priority to be true to yourself.
Image via The Power of Silence