One of our greatest quests in life is to find what makes us happy and live our life from that place of happiness.
While we may have different ideas on what makes us happy, there may be things we are doing, without realising it, that may be preventing us from experiencing greater levels of happiness.
Being happy is a choice. If we have habits that cultivate happiness, we’ll experience it more. On the other hand, if we have unhealthy or destructive habits, we’ll find it difficult to experience happiness on an ongoing basis.
Many years ago, I had a succesful corporate career, which allowed me to have all the material successes I wanted, however I never felt a sense of true happiness and fulfilment.
Interestingly, when I reflect back on the things I was doing during that period of my life, I had many unsupportive habits that were affecting my emotional state, which in turn, affected my level of happiness.
Quite often, we believe that happiness is something to be pursued and can only be experienced when we achieve something or a certain condition is met in our lives. The truth is happiness is something that comes from within and if we don’t have that, then nothing externally will ever give us the happiness we are seeking.
Our daily habits and behaviours influences our level of happiness.
Here are ten habits to be aware of that may be destroying our happiness now. Once we are aware of these habits, we can implement strategies to deal with them, so that we can experience greater levels of happiness in any given moment.
- You keep comparing yourself to others. It’s very rare for us to compare ourselves to others and conclude we are exactly the same. We’ll either believe we are better off or worse off than them. Comparing ourselves to others often triggers thoughts we are not “something” enough — not smart enough, not rich enough, not talented enough, etc., all of which generate negative thoughts and emotions.
- You don’t believe you are enough as you are. Low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence can often cause us to believe there is something “wrong” with us and we should be better off than we currently are. Until we believe we are enough just as we are, we will always be pursuing something outside of ourselves to give us happiness, which is a recipe for unhappiness.
- You allow yourself to get lazy because it’s easier. Happiness can also be experienced by successfully taking on new risks or challenges. When we stop experiencing new things and remain within our comfort zone, we don’t have anything to look forward to. Lack of progress equates to lack of novelty, which means no new experiences.
- You don’t have nurturing or supportive relationships. The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. If we have healthy, supportive relationships, we will experience greater levels of joy as compared to having unsupportive or destructive relationships. Our job is to cultivate meaningful relationships if we want to experience more happiness.
- You doubt your ability to do what you really want to in life. Too often in life, we start on one path, for example, a certain career, only to find that we are not enjoying it. Rather than pursue another path that will bring us joy, too many people continue what they are doing because they have so much invested in it. It takes courage to leave behind something that does not bring us joy and pursue something which does.
- You don’t take responsibility when things go wrong. It’s easy to make up excuses or blame others for our misfortune or lack of happiness. The truth is we are totally responsible for all aspects of our lives, so if things are not going the way we want them to, it’s up to us to make the necessary changes to make things right.
- You worry about what others think of you. From an early age, so many of us are programmed to be just like “everyone else” and we’re expected to behave a certain way. If we break the norm and do something different, there’s an invisible voice that reminds us to toe the line because of what others will think of us. When we can fully accept that other people’s opinions of us doesn’t really matter, that’s when we will experience a true sense of freedom and joy.
- You are not financially responsible. Our financial status in life plays a huge part in our overall happiness. There are many cliches about money such as, “Money won’t make you happy” or “The love of money is a sin.” The truth is lack of finances puts enormous stress on us and our relationships, so it’s up to us to become financially intelligent and responsible.
- You pretend everything is okay. It’s very easy to hide what is really going on for us because we may feel shame, guilt, embarrassment or regret. When we numb out what we are really feeling, that’s when we experience sadness, or in extreme cases, depression. Learning how to deal with our emotions is extremely important because there aren’t too many people who are happy 100% of the time.
- You don’t have an optimistic outlook on life. Our attitude about life determines our experience of life. If we believe life is happening to us instead of for us, chances are we’ll always be reactive to things happening around us. If we have an optimistic outlook on life, we are more likely to accept our challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, which also equates to inner fulfilment and satisfaction.
If experiencing happiness is a habit, it makes sense to develop habits of happiness and eliminate the habits that are affecting our happiness negatively. Once we start eliminating these habits from our lives, we’ll automatically start to experiences new levels of joy and happiness.
Question: What is another thing we may be doing that could affect our happiness?
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