We all aspire to achieving real happiness in life. Most of the time, however, we are our own worst enemies, taking steps backwards rather than forwards, whether intentionally or not. You can clear the path toward happiness for yourself by making things less complicated and simplifying a lot of life’s choices. Here are 20 things you should let go of in order to be a happier person.
1. The Approval of Others
Why give a $#it what other people think about you and your choices? If something makes you content, stand behind your decision. While you’re busy worrying what other people think about you, they’re probably too busy worrying about their own lives to spend much time on thoughts about you. So stop wasting the time and stress.
Anger has been believed to have actual negative health effects in the body. Practice actively forgiving and forgetting the people and things that made you mad – you’ll be doing yourself, and not necessarily them, a big favor.
3. Negative Body Image
If your body makes you happy, that’s all that matters. Ignore the commonly accepted images and ideas of beauty that advertising companies promulgate and make money from. There is no “correct” appearance, only a real one. Aside from health considerations, do what makes sense and looks right to you. The best way to be attractive is to believe that you’re attractive.
4. Myth of the Perfect Partner
News flash: the knight in shining armor you’ve been dreaming of since a childhood full of Disney movies isn’t coming. If we spend our lives eliminating potential partners because of some unrealistic checklist, you might spend that time all alone. Hey, high standards are fine. Just realize that happiness can come in all sorts of unexpected packages and might not look at all like what you expected.
5. Myth of the Perfect Life
Similarly, whatever perfect life you imagined for yourself might not crystallize. If you’re moving, growing, learning and doing your best to formulate and achieve your goals, that’s a great life already.
A lot of folks live their lives waiting for the day when they’ll be fabulously wealthy – owners of cars, yachts and expensive jewels – instead of appreciating whatever it is that they have now and finding ways to enjoy the present. Money and success might very well be in your future, but they will not guarantee happiness. Money shouldn’t be a goal in and of itself but rather the byproduct of an occupation which makes you fulfilled and satisfied.
7. Fortune Cookie Syndrome
Good luck will not just fall out of the sky onto your doorstep. An old adage goes something like, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Excuses benefit neither those who make them nor those who receive them. If you sincerely want to get to the gym, there’s nothing to stop you. Stop rationalizing your small failures and instead, figure out why you are holding yourself back and fix the problem.
9. Your Ex
Your relationship probably failed for a good reason. We have a tendency, after a breakup, to remember the good and forget the bad, thereby torturing ourselves with an unrealistic nostalgia. Don’t linger on the past. Instead, get out there, meet new people and start creating a better future for yourself.
Everyone is wrong sometimes. And, whether you were right or wrong in a particular conflict, being the bigger person and taking the first step towards reconciliation is usually a better tactic in the long run. Pick you battles in order to win the war.
What can be done today shouldn’t be put off until tomorrow. Period. Plan out and maximize your time in order to reap the benefits afterwards.
12. Your Own Baggage
We all have experiences in our past which have left us hurt in one way or another. Bringing these traumas with us into the future, however, will do no good. Don’t judge new situations based on the past or new acquaintances based on people who are long gone. Every day is a clean slate.
Many people believe that “you get what you give.” So, if you give off positive energy, you might just be more likely to get it back. Be an optimist and try to see the plusses in any given situation – the picture is usually brighter than it seems.
Finding faults in others is often an indication of an individual’s lack of confidence in themselves. One’s time would be better spent fine-tuning one’s self rather than trying to critique the world around us. Who are you to decide what’s good, bad, beautiful or ugly?!
Mick Jagger sang, “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” If you try to stop envying others you just might come to appreciate what you have. Everyone’s situation is unique; you have certain things to offer that others do not.
People have a sixth sense when it comes to others’ insecurity – so get rid of yours! If there are things which you would like to change about you or your life, go ahead and change them. The best version of YOU is the best that you can be.
17. Depending on Others for Happiness
We are the masters of our own destinies. Do not make the error of waiting for other people to fix your problems or deliver your happiness. A relationship, new city, baby or new dress will not fix your problems. Create your own happiness and success before you expect to share it with others. In the end, dependency will prevent you from becoming self-sufficient.
18. The Past
Ask any Buddhist or practitioner of meditation: the past is gone, tomorrow doesn’t yet exist and all we have is the present moment. Stop living in the past! Learn from your past and use it to prevent repeated mistakes and move towards a more educated and informed future.
It is a scary fact of our existence, and that of the whole universe, that we are all subject to outside influences, even when it comes to life and death. You will never be able to control every situation. Learn to roll with the punches and not obsess over changing what you cannot. Relax and embrace the unknown. Sometimes it can bring you happy surprises you never knew were on the way.
Expectations are not inherently bad – if you know how to discard or change them. As a rule: the less you have of a person or situation, the less you can be disappointed in the worst case scenario.