We all want to be happy. Who doesn’t?
But not all of us are. Sometimes that’s because of our own doing.
You see, you could be doing things that stop you from being happy.
Not sure what I mean?
Well, in this article, I’ve listed 8 ways you’re sabotaging your happiness without even realizing it.
If you’re stuck and are not as happy as you could be, this one’s for you.
1) Caring too much about what others think
It’s natural to care about what others think. We all seek validation in some way. Whether through likes and follows on social media or the friends we surround ourselves with.
It’s why some people are shy towards certain people or hide a particular hobby or interest they’re into.
But caring too much about what others think can stop you from living life the way you want to.
For instance, I had always loved writing, so I wanted to study creative writing at university. However, when I told someone what I was going to do, they laughed and said that a degree in creative writing was useless.
I’d let that comment stop me from studying creative writing and chose something else instead.
Luckily, I’d eventually come back to writing, but had I not listened to that one comment, I’d have done it much sooner.
My lesson here is to not let others dictate your path or stop you from being your unique self. If you do, you’ll sacrifice your happiness in the process.
2) Focusing on the negative
Are you a pessimist? Do you let a negative comment ruin your whole day?
If you’re a pessimist and let negative comments get to you, you might be focusing too much on the negative things going on in your life.
We all have things we’re dealing with behind closed doors. Even the people who seem like they have everything going for them.
But happy people focus on the positive. They also practice gratitude and take note of the good things that happen to them throughout the day, no matter how little or insignificant.
I try to be aware of the thoughts that pop into my head, so I can turn any negative thoughts into positive ones. If I catch myself being overly critical, I show compassion instead.
Being aware of your thoughts can help you better manage how you think, so you can be more positive.
3) Always thinking of the worst-case scenarios
When you focus on the negative, you could also end up catastrophizing situations. This is when you think of the worst-case scenarios for events that haven’t happened yet.
An example. You get invited to a party. You don’t want to go because you know you won’t have a good time. You think you’ll feel out of place, have no one to talk to and will somehow embarrass yourself. So, you decide not to go.
In this situation, you’ve somehow talked yourself out of going to the party before it’s even happened, because you’ve dreamed up scenarios that have not taken place.
Of course, that worst case scenario could happen. Or you could have the best time! You could make a new friend or even meet the love of your life at a party you had convinced yourself you wouldn’t enjoy.
I try to keep an open mind when going into new situations.
Great opportunities, experiences and people can come into your life when you let them and will contribute to your happiness.
4) Living in the past (and through your past mistakes)
We all make mistakes; that’s a part of life.
But sometimes, we can let our mistakes stop us from being happy, because we’re so riddled with guilt and sorrow.
You might tell yourself you’re a terrible person or don’t deserve happiness because of your mistake.
Perhaps you replay what happened in your head, dreaming of how things could have played out differently had you not messed up.
Remember, your mistakes don’t define who you are. We all have to make them. It helps us grow as a person.
So, forgive yourself, learn from them and move forward. You can’t change the past, but you can change your future through your present actions.
5) Being afraid of change
Being afraid of change boils down to 1) fear of the unknown and, 2) the fear of failure.
These two things can lead us to stay stuck in our situation, even if it makes us miserable.
So, you might stay in a toxic job you dread waking up for every day. Or a relationship that’s going nowhere.
Change is scary, and it’s not always easy to make.
You have to find another job before you can leave your toxic one. You might live with your partner and have to figure out living arrangements and finances before you can leave.
But staying in an unhappy situation will make you no closer to being happy.
By making small changes and taking baby steps, you can work towards changing your situation for the better.
6) Bottling up your feelings (or avoiding them entirely)
When you’re upset or going through a tough time, do you open up to someone close to you, like a friend or family member? Or do you bottle it up?
If you bottle up your feelings, this can make it harder to cope with your situation and affect your happiness as a result.
I used to struggle with anxiety at work. Sometimes, it would be so overwhelming, I felt like my heart would burst!
But when I told my colleague about it, I felt so much better. She not only reassured me, but she offered me support.
A problem shared is a problem halved, and I believe this wholeheartedly! Opening up to someone about your feelings helps take some of weight off of your shoulders.
You can also get help and support so you don’t have to go through it alone.
7) Living through social media
Social media can help us keep in touch with our loved ones, make new connections and keep up to date with what’s happening in the world.
But being on social media too much can be detrimental to our health, as studies show.
It’s easy to compare yourself to others because many on social media only show the highlights of their life.
A couple you know might post lovey-dovey pics on Instagram, but you won’t see pictures of their arguments and fallouts.
Someone might have thousands of friends on followers online but only a few in real life.
Or they might have a flat stomach in their Insta pics but edited their pictures before posting them online.
Social media is not a true representation of reality, so we shouldn’t judge our own lives by it.
8) Comparing yourself to others
Speaking of comparing yourself. Comparing yourself to others will rob you of your happiness.
Here’s the thing. We are all on our own journey in this called life. Our paths won’t be the same.
Some may fall in love with their high school sweethearts, settle down, have kids, land the career of their dreams and be wildly successful. Some will stay single and won’t find love until later in life. Others may go through dark paths or struggle to make ends meet.
Don’t be disheartened if you’re not quite where you want to be in life.
As long as we continue to work on ourselves every day and don’t compare ourselves to others, we’ll take steps in the right direction, leading to happiness and peace of mind.
Being happy is a work in progress.
We all strive to be happy, but it’s easy to let things get in the way of our happiness without realizing it.
Forgive yourself for your mistakes, and don’t let others’ comments stop you from living life the way you want to.
Being happy is easier said than done, but by working on the obstacles that get in the way, you can move forward until you are in a happy place.