10 Biggest Mistakes that prevent you from finding Happiness
The term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, eudaimonia, flourishing and well-being.
That being said, we all have a definition of what it FEELS like to be happy.
You might find your moment of bliss in the sunset or in those few seconds before the sun rises. My youngest daughter once tried explaining to me what motivates her to go onto stage and perform time after time. “Those few minutes on stage, when time stands still and everything is in harmony!”
1. Believing that "I'll be happy when...."
In our day and age, we have been coached to project our happiness into the future.
Even my granddaughter saying that she cannot wait to be al grown-up, is missing the present uncomplicated life of being 11 and enjoying everything that comes with it.
We postpone our happiness until a time in the future when everything might be perfect, thinking that we have to struggle now in order to enjoy happiness later.
Constantly finding a state that will please us..... later on! Going on that vacation, maybe only when retiring, winning the lotto, marrying our soulmate or waiting until we have reached the pinnacle in our careers.
Postponing happiness until we have reached idyllic conditions. frequently chasing our picture-perfect soap bubbles and experiencing disappointment when they do not realize, or when it doesn't work out the way that we pictured it would.
You could end up wishing the week away and living for weekends, ignoring the current friendships, in search of the perfect match and conversations, detesting your current job, while missing out on the interconnectedness, the synergy and opportunities that it grants you.
Constantly waiting for summer and holding out for the ideal life to happen
Circumstances will seldom be perfect, as life is fluid and constantly changing. Along the way, we learn, we expand, we grow, we love, we appreciate, and that makes life perfect. The smidgeon of trials and tribulations give us skillsets to manage things as they come, and as they occur.
Let every day teach us new things and build our memory banks into mighty life libraries. No obstacle is too difficult to overcome.
2. Stuck in Fear
Fear has become such a part of our lives, that we cannot even distinguish when we are fearful or not.
The signs that our body sends us becomes our default state, and we learn to operate within this "normal" state. The headaches, the backpains, the heart cramps become comfortable excuses.
We tackle our jobs with nervous energy, our home lives with frantic vigor, our friendships with FOMO, even our wellness and exercise we attack with gusto as if our lives depended on it. In this state, our bodies perceive that we are under constant threat and a wheelbarrow of stress hormones are pumped into our bodies.
We can have underlying factors such as fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of what others might think, fear of trying something new, fear of risking security, fear of.....
Fear is necessary to warn us of imminent danger. To live our lives as if life itself is dangerous, is to shackle us to one situation where we will not be stretched or given the opportunity to expand. The body will be in a constant state of fight and flight!
It takes courage to take life by the horns and to shake until it succumbs to your new mental state of mind and to do things differently. You currently have this one life, you can either cram as many life experiences into it as you can, or, you can stay in that one comfortable spot for the rest of your life. You are capable of much more than you think!
3. Comparing yourself to others
How often do you catch yourself, paging through a magazine, listening to a podcast, watching a video clip and comparing yourself to whomever you are watching?
Those on camera always look as if they have life all figured out. The media portrays certain ideals, goals and conditions as "normal", setting the barre so absurdly high, that none of us mere mortals can achieve this perceived standard.
We learn to never being content with the authentic values and always pushing for more, striving higher and continually feeling like we are not enough. Thinking that we will feel better about ourselves when we do what "others" do.
The moment that you grasp the fact that we are all on this planet to experience our own lives and each person makes choices to attain what they have set out for themselves.
Dream big and create your life, not comparing it to other's standards and viewpoints.
You are not a copy; you are the original YOU!
4. Believing that happiness is an external commodity
More often than not, we fall into the trap of outsourcing our happiness. In our consumer-driven world, we have been seduced into thinking that it is someone else's responsibility to make us happy.
Happiness, my friend, is an inside job. If you got married with the idea that your spouse was going to make you happy, you have surprise waiting for you!
Your "job" is going to edify you only in as much as you are willing to learn to relish in the process of the growth that your job provides you.
Material things like your car, your house, your job, bring momentary joy.
Happiness cannot be bought and often our pursuit actually takes us further away from the goal The best things in life, are not things at all.
By outsourcing your happiness to your kids, your partner, your social group, you are not taking responsibility for your own emotional wellness and happiness.
This might be a rocky road for you as your emotional state and happiness then depends on someone else and their performance. If they perform to your liking, you are happy. If your kids do something that you do not approve of, you are not happy.
It is unrealistic to expect someone else to entertain you and your unhappiness the whole time.
We need to be accountable for our own happiness and learn to stay happy when tough times arise and when external circumstances challenge us.
It is said that we cannot control what happens to us, but we can definitely control our reaction towards it.
5. Unrealistic Expectations.
Many times I think that we ourselves are our own worst enemies. We talk to ourselves in such demeaning ways, we berate ourselves when something goes wrong, we deny ourselves pleasure in order to fix something that we perceive as "wrong".
It is sometimes so much easier to be sympathetic towards someone else who is going a difficult stint in life, and forget that we too are constantly trying to do our best, with the tools that we have been given. We are all battling with something, and we are trying to do it with as much grace as possible.
We expect ourselves to be perfect, get things done correctly immediately and we have no patience with our bodies if they are not able to cope with the stresses of life.
For years I berated myself for not having it all together and knowing exactly what I wanted out of life. I was supposed to be steadfast and knowledgeable, doing the right things and being an example for others. I expected myself to be perfect in all situations and to have all the answers to everything. And then, when I “failed” myself, I rejected my human condition and alienated from myself further.
These unrealistic expectations that we ourselves, and others, put on us, is a far cry from "loving ourselves as we love our neighbors".
Have grace, compassion and love for the road that you have travelled on, and that you are currently sprinting on, and see how you are expanding with each new day.
This is life, and however you choose to travel, brings forth new situations, relationships, challenges and opportunities.
Don't expect perfection; from yourself or from life, and know that, even if you want to, you do not always have to have it all figured out!
6 Negative thoughts
Our minds are our greatest gifts. It is within the mind that greatness or demise is attained. You have total control on what goes on within your thoughts. What you think affects how you feel and that then determines how you act.
Like momentum, you have 17 seconds to decide if you want to think a thought or not. If you choose to think on a negative thought, it will gather momentum and similar thoughts will manifest. So, within a few minutes you can go from one state of positivity to utter negativity, if you allow it.
The quality of your thoughts will determine how happiness plays out in your life .... or not.
7. Not living in the present
We were taught that it is a virtue to be able to multi task, and we thrive on being able to do seven things at once!
Alas, we have been trained to live a fractioned life by doing things with no positive intention to one single aspect.
We miss out on the small things by getting the day done by jumping over hurdles and hoops, instead of taking a segment of time and relishing in it.
We start the day by getting up and listening to the news while we exercise, we brush our teeth while listening to affirmations, we drink our coffee while scrolling and catching up on our emails, eat our breakfast while catching up on the stock market. We think that we are so effective by getting so much done, but we are fragmenting our experiences and diluting them into mundanity.
Living in the present means that you take note of every moment of your day and you are mentally, physically and spiritually focused on that one aspect. Enjoying hearing your breath while exercising, tasting the different flavors in the food, and smelling the aroma of the coffee.
When listening to your partner or child, your attention and focus is 100% with them.
You are not thinking of the brainstorming session with the marketing team, what to make for dinner, or worrying about how you are going to get everything done!
Live in the moment and start by living a mindful life by enjoying small things. You will find that you will experience more contentment, joy and happiness in your life.
Cultivate your awareness to see joy in every moment.
In our society and in today's world, we have become slaves of "doing".
We are driven by the need to succeed and to prove our self-worth. We like to be needed, to feel valued and our success then depends on how busy we perceive ourselves to be.
It has become a status symbol and much of our worth and usefulness is vested in how busy we are. We have become so accustomed to living a fast and furious life, that any downtime feels like a waste of time!
We hear such terms such as FOMO, and rush from place to place, leaving no space for breathing, regrouping, recharging or resting. We normalize this adrenaline induced lifestyle, and as a result, our quality of life diminishes.
In a blink of an eye life passes, and if you do not slow down, you will be so busy making a living that you forget to make your life!
9. A tad of Ungratefulness
The moment that you can start to experience another person in need as an extension of yourself, you will open up a new world of perspective. Try starting your morning by thinkin of three things that you are grateful for, and at night, revisit your day and lift out three things that made you smile and that you are thankful for. Let's try to get to a place of loving what we have instead of yearning for what we want.
10. Happiness is found in the journey, not getting to the destination!
Most importantly we need to realize that happiness is not some far off destination we will eventually arrive at. It is more about the journey that happens along the way and the everyday moments, that are in fact, our lives.
Our stories are made up of the stops along the way, the cliffhanger moments, the turnaround we made at the cul-de-sac, the slippery slope we almost didn't survive at. Those are the moments that will be remembered and that shape our destiny.
Keep your heart in the journey and your eye on the destination!
Always upwards and onwards ...