You are doing everything in life to be successful. You work hard to do well in your profession. You take care of yourself. You support your family, but still, there is a sense of deep sadness inside you that you cannot ignore.
Have you ever wondered,” despite having many things to be thankful for in my life, why am I so unhappy? What is it that keeps me from living my life fully? What is missing?
Even if everything is going all right, there are times when we feel a sense of sadness or discontent.
Although clinical depression is a serious issue requiring medical supervision, some simple things can bring back your mental equilibrium and make you feel at peace with yourself.
Feelings, whether happiness or sadness, often stems from a mental attitude that is less dependent on what is happening in the external world and has more to do with how you feel about those circumstances.
In life, we are perpetually miserable with pockets of happiness here and there. We spend most of our life chasing some far-reaching rainbow that is always somehow a little out of reach. We study, work relentlessly but still are not happy and contented with our lives.
“That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Here are some things that can block your happiness and prevent you from living your best life:
1) You follow the crowd
Have you ever done something just because your best friend wanted to do it? It is usual to follow the path others have walked on, and sometimes it does make our lives easier. But what if following that path doesn’t make you feel happy? Would you continue to do that thing just to be accepted in society or your friend’s circle, all the while feeling discontent and lonely inside?
The problem is we all want to follow the same path in life. Grow up, get a good education, preferably from an ivy league college, work in a great company, make lots of money and stay happy even when such life robs you of your inner peace and leaves you with a shell of your soul.
Following how others live their life can give you a safety net towards happiness. So the lady on YouTube promised you the golden opportunity that will make you loads of money. The man in a Hawaiian shirt is breezing through life working only a few hours, and he claims to have made it; follow what they are doing, and bingo, you are set for that fun lifestyle with a secure future!
Most people are completely unaware of themselves. If they knew what makes others happy, they can simply use those rules, follow their paths, and become successful and therefore happy. The biographies of successful people sell the most because people want to know how they became so successful in life. They want to get the recipe for success, hoping that following that path would make them feel successful and happy.
Understand that we all have our unique life paths. Blindly following someone else’s success will not give you the same results. Yes, you can learn from their story, but you must follow your dreams in the end.
2) You base your happiness on material success
Yes, we all need money to have stability in our lives. But money cannot give you peace and contentment. It is a means to be happy but not happiness itself.
We connect happiness to our material success. When we look at rich people throwing lavish parties, flying first-class, vacationing in exotic locations, we feel that being rich and famous would make us happy.
The truth is, although money can make your life easier and more comfortable, it cannot make you happy. There is nothing outside of you that can give you permanent happiness. To be satisfied and contented, you need to water your garden and plant the seeds of your happiness.
Happiness is a choice. It is about cultivating a desire to be happy in life.
You must have seen poor people whistling away doing manual labor. You have also seen people in expensive clothes with a permanently stressed look. Happiness is a state of mind. It is a habit.
3) You don’t know yourself
Lack of awareness of yourself can be the biggest reason why you suck at happiness. You try to develop knowledge about everything in this world. You read books, devour those self-help videos, but you don’t take time to look inside yourself.
What is it that you want? What makes you happy?
Most of us are living life on an auto-pilot. Following other’s life, comparing ourselves to others, and generally living life, following someone else’s rules. We were not encouraged to explore our personality from childhood, our likes, and dislikes, and how we want to live our lives.
We are navigating through life without any idea of how we work and what makes us feel happy and fulfilled.
4) You don’t love yourself
The word self-love has become a cliché in modern times, but we rarely understand its meaning. It is not a hype or a fad. You cannot love yourselves if you do not know who you are as a person. Knowing yourselves and embracing your strengths and weaknesses is essential to achieve happiness in life. Self-love is total acceptance of ourselves-mind, body spirit, and following our heart in all circumstances.
“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”
― Charles Bukowski
5) You procrastinate
The biggest challenge to happiness is the habit of procrastination. As kids, we think we will be happy when we grow up. As grownups, we believe having a career, a loving partner, kids, healthy bank balance will help us reach our happiness goals. Later, we think we can finally be happy when we retire. But then our life is almost over.
Procrastinating makes you feel unhappy and resentful throughout your life.
To be satisfied, you need to stop procrastinating and take charge of your destiny.
6) You lack spirituality
We are mortal beings and no more than a speck in the universe. Sometimes, taking life in perspective can make us truly appreciate the little things that make us feel grateful. It is difficult to navigate through all of our life challenges when we are battling them alone. It helps to have the support of a higher power to make us feel assured and safe.
“There is no atheist in a fox hole.”-William Thomas Cummings
Regular praying and being in touch with your spirituality can help you navigate the worse crisis in life. Trusting God to lighten your burden will make you feel less stressed and energized. It will help you live in the moment, knowing that things will work out in the end as they usually do.
7) You don’t live in the moment
Life is messy and unpredictable in the best of times. We further aggravate the unsettling feeling by ignoring the present and either regret the past or stay fearful about the future. The past is gone forever, never to return. The only thing you can do is to learn from it and move on. The future is unknown and yet to happen. Being in the past or dwelling on the future will make you waste your present time, which is the only thing you can control.
“Now is the only time we have, and the only time we have any control over.” ― Richard Carlson.
To be happy, be mindful in the present, and try to get through our life one day at a time. If you can manage to get through today, the future will take care of itself.
8) You don’t nurture close relationships-
Our relationships help us stay grounded during difficult times and support our dreams to have a stable future. Taking the time to maintain healthy relationships will help you to be stable in times of distress.
Do not neglect your friends and family while you spend all your time pursuing your career goals. A strong family foundation will help you take on the ups and downs of your career life.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”-Helen Keller.
9) You are too dependent on others.
We, human beings, truly flourish when we live the life we want on our terms. Being dependent on others financially or even emotionally can prevent us from reaching our full potential. If you let others’ opinions get you down, you will not find the kind of happiness you are looking for.
True happiness comes when you feel free to set whatever goals you want to reach without any restrictions.
10) You think you don’t deserve happiness
You might be confused as to how a person can refuse to be happy? That will be self-defeating, right?
Often such feelings come from a lack of self-worth or self-esteem. People who have deep-seated regrets about the past cannot forgive themselves for their past mistakes and often put themselves down, refusing to be happy.
Such inadequacy feelings are often deeply rooted in childhood trauma and neglect that needs strong self-awareness and self-acceptance to be corrected in the future.
To be happy in life, you need to accept yourself with all your shortcomings and be optimistic about your future. Stop dwelling on past mistakes and forgive yourself and others once and for all. Clear your mind from the clutter of negativity and focus on the promising future. You deserve happiness just like any other person in the world.
Happiness is a habit, and so is unhappiness. It is less about the circumstance around us and more about the inner workings of our minds. To be happy and avoid needless stress and anxiety, we need to pursue happiness actively. Make happiness your priority in life, and let your positivity move you towards it.