15 Habits That Are Costing You Happiness
by Elyse Santilli
1. Comparing yourself to others.
Comparison has been called the thief of joy and for good reason — every minute you spend wishing you were someone else is a minute of your own life wasted. Comparing yourself to others also misses the whole point of your life — to be you, a once-in-humankind blend of gifts, passions and quirks. Stop looking at others and focus on being you and blossoming into YOUR best self.
2. Trying to give to others without giving to yourself.
Buddha once said: You as much as anyone in the entire Universe deserve your love and affection. He was right. While it is a noble and beautiful thing to want to give to others — the truth is that you can’t give what you don’t have. If you haven’t filled yourself up by spending time alone with your soul, doing the things you love, and praising and appreciating yourself, you will be trying to pour love from an empty cup.
3. Focusing on lack instead of abundance.
It’s easy to look at your life, wardrobe or bank balance and focus on what you don’t have — instead of what you do. If you’re reading this, you already have at least one huge miracle to be grateful for — you woke up today. Switch your lens from lack to abundance and notice the magic surrounding you — fresh air to breathe, food to eat, clothing to wear, the beauty of nature, and endless opportunities for connection, creativity and love. See the miracle of life.
4. Waiting for the day when you finally arrive.
Many of us put our happiness on hold until a day in the future when we are more and have more. There are two problems with this — this very moment is your precious life and should not be overlooked or undervalued; and there will never be a day where you have it all because your soul is constantly expanding and will always give birth to new goals and desires. Decide to be happy with where you are and what you have now — it’s the best decision you’ll ever make, and paradoxically, it will magnetise more blessings and success into your life.
5. Numbing your emotions.
It can be tempting to run away from feelings of sadness, emptiness or discontent — turning instead to the television, food or alcohol. But the truth is if you numb the hard feelings you also numb the good — your heart is the centre of pain but it is also the centre of joy, excitement, passion, inspiration, gratitude and love.
Next time a challenging feeling arises — have compassion for yourself and let it be there without judgment. If you focus on the sensations you are feeling — and not the mental story your mind wants to tell about what it all means — the feeling will soon pass through your body like a cloud passing by in the sky.
6. Letting the world define what success means to you.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to life because every soul is unique. The only way to know what to do with your life is to look within and see what lights you up – follow your intuition and joy and passion. If you try to meet society’s definition of success, you may end up successful but unhappy. Is that really true success? Design a life that feels good on the inside, not one that looks good on the outside.
Eleanor Roosevelt said: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Only you can decide if you are enough. You cannot control what other people think of you – and most of the time their opinion has much more to do with their own personal experience and prejudices than it has to do with who you really are. Learn to approve of yourself and you will stress less about impressing others.
8. Excessive thinking and worrying about the future.
Worrying about the future does nothing to change it — but it does rob you of an otherwise peaceful and pleasant experience of the present moment. When you notice yourself overthinking, tune out of your thoughts and back into your body and life happening around you here and now. Happiness is found in the now.
9. Being busy with the wrong things.
Henry David Thoreau said: It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
Being busy has become a status symbol in the world today — but if you are always busy doing and do not make time for being — for meditating, nature, stillness, relaxing and rejuvenating — you will end up disconnected from your soul and running on empty. Check in with yourself: Is all that busy-ness necessary? What can you cut from your life — to make more time for truly experiencing life?
10. Putting up with things that do not serve you.
Deep down we know when something in our life is not the right for our soul — whether it be a relationship, job, city or habit. Instead of settling for a life that is less than you are capable of, raise your self-worth to the point where you can drop what no longer serves your highest good and move towards what does.
11. Rehashing the same old thoughts instead of choosing new ones.
You are not your thoughts – and you can choose to not take everything they say as the truth. You can also choose to replace or reframe negative thoughts with positive alternatives. Your mind is like a garden – if you take the time to plant seeds in the form of uplifting and empowering thoughts and beliefs, they will flourish into a beautiful worldview that will serve you for the rest of your life.
12. Judging yourself instead of accepting and loving yourself.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to unleash more of your potential and create a better life for yourself, if you’re going about it from a place of self-judgment and criticism you will constantly feel inadequate and, paradoxically, you will likely remain stuck because your best qualities require the light of your own love and acceptance to come out to play. Love yourself into positive changes.
13. Holding onto grudges from the past.
The truth is the past doesn’t really exist — it is a collection of thoughts and images in the mind, which are probably somewhat distorted because whenever we remember something our brain changes the memory slightly. When we forgive the past, we stop carrying ancient pain and fear into the present moment — and we can see the miracle of today and the opportunities it brings clearly again.
14. Complaining about life instead of taking responsibility.
It is easier to complain about your life than to take responsibility for it — but the truth is you are the only person with the power to implement radical changes. If you want a better life for yourself, be solutions-focused and pour your energy into creating the new instead of wasting your energy fighting the old.
15. Forgetting the bigger picture.
It is easy to sweat the small things — like someone cutting you off in traffic or a snarky remark from a colleague — and let them steal your happiness away. But when you step back and remember the bigger picture and purpose of life — love, enjoyment, growth, unity, appreciation, beauty, connection, creativity — they suddenly lose all significance and you can get back to peace and happiness.
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