Though circumstances can sometimes make you miserable, happiness is mostly a state of mind.
Unfortunately, people tend to wear an emotional mask when dealing with situations and people in their lives, leading to suffering and pain.
You may not notice it, but these seemingly petty mistakes can eventually turn into habits that will certainly keep you from happiness. Hoping to change your life without changing the way you think and act is futile.
My Life Sucks – Now What Do I Do?
Here are seven common oversights that can suck the happiness out of your life and ways to overcome them.
1. Holding Yourself to Impossible Standards
You must devise ways to take care of your self-esteem. Holding yourself to impossible standards of perfection will do you more harm than good.
Your dreams and priorities are going to change with changing circumstances, which might not always be under your control. So, cut yourself some slack.
- The first step is to stop aiming for perfection. Remember, perfection is a myth. Therefore, it is better to go for what seems good enough for you. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard. Do the most that you can, but not until you are too exhausted to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Whenever you go ahead with a task, make your expectations clear. Take a break for a few minutes and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” It will help you complete the task effortlessly without extra stress.
- Understand that failure or poor performance is also a part of life just as success is. Sometimes, you have a bad day or have to deal with unforeseen circumstances, resulting in poor performance. So what? You are not going to be at your best all the time. Accept this and act accordingly. For example, if you are ill, take rest. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a meeting with a client. Life is full of possibilities and opportunities.
2. Comparing Yourself to Others
This is perhaps the most common mistake that sucks the happiness out of your life. Most people live their entire lives comparing themselves to others.
It begins when your parents (like most others) start comparing you with your classmates and the kids in your neighborhood. As you grow up, you start comparing yourself with your peers too. What begins with school grades extends itself into your job title, income level, car, house, and ultimately your children.
Thus, the vicious cycle continues from one generation to another.
- Becoming aware of your own achievements is the best way to stop comparing yourself to others. Whether you are rich or poor, you have done something that calls for a pat on your back. In fact, achievements have very little to do with money and power.
- Volunteering for a social cause and developing a healthy habit may not seem like much, but they are achievements nonetheless. So, become aware of your smallest accomplishments and find motivation in them.
- Focus your attention on your strengths and not weaknesses. Are you someone who is always ready to help others? Are you a good listener or an empathetic person? Whatever your strengths may be, embrace them with all your heart.
- Try to take some time off, at least once, every week, to be you. Learn to recognize this feeling and try to enjoy it for as long as possible. Remember, the more aware you become of yourself, the less you compare yourself to others. Maybe you can go for a morning walk or a short hike to spend time with yourself.
3. Whining Endlessly
Constant whining or complaining is a pattern of negative communication, it is highly contagious. When someone in a group starts whining, it brings down the morale of others.
Unfortunately, complaining is remarkably addictive as well, it becomes a habit before you know it. However, talking endlessly about your problems is hardly the solution, it does nothing but shatters your self-esteem.
- Usually, the lack of patience and the inability to see the bigger picture often leads to whining. So, whenever you are faced with a challenge or are caught up in an unwanted situation, keep calm and analyze it from every possible point of view. Sometimes, circumstances may force you to react instantly. However, reflect on your emotional response once you have cooled down and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.
- Things aren’t always going to be the way you want. At some point, you will have to deal with the people you don’t like or with a difficult situation, but you need to accept them as they are. Learn to adapt according to the changing circumstances.
- Learn to acknowledge your feelings when you are whining. One of the easiest ways to do so is to observe how people react when you are talking to them. If their body language shows annoyance or disapproval, it’s a sign you are whining. So, stop talking immediately.
- You need to change your attitude as well. Try to be mindful of the good things in your life. Connect with a friend or a family member who can empathize with you, if you are upset and dealing with a lot. You can also take up a new hobby to keep yourself engaged.
4. Thinking in Extremes
Everyone goes through a rough patch at some point in his or her life. However, some people tend to think in extremes if things don’t go their way, going from happy to extremely sad in just a few seconds.
In the long term, this black-and-white thinking can damage all aspects of your life, including your relationships and career. Dealing with extreme thinkers is irritating. Therefore, it causes problems in personal relationships as well.
- Put things into a wider perspective. For example, if your girlfriend just broke up with you; ask yourself, “Is this going to matter to me in six months or a year? Maybe I will find someone who is right for me.” This line of thinking will help shake off black-and-white thinking.
- Stop reacting and start reflecting on the situations and the people you come across. Learn to differentiate between rational and irrational behavior. It will make you less susceptible to overthinking.
- Try to develop an overall positive attitude towards life. Just because your circumstances aren’t favorable at the moment doesn’t mean things will stay the same forever. However, instilling a positive attitude is a gradual process. So, don’t expect your mindset to change overnight like your mood. Be patient.
- Spend as much time as possible with your friends and family members who discourage overthinking. Keep yourself away from people and things that encourage black-and-white thinking.
5. Being Stuck in the Past
Remaining stuck in the past stops you from moving forward.
In fact, dwelling on painful memories and missed opportunities can hurt your present endeavors. As a result, you are most likely to miss the opportunities that come knocking on your door.
This is not exactly the recipe for a happy and fulfilling life, is it? That’s why you should stop ruminating about your past immediately.
- Not having any current goals is perhaps the most common reason why your mind keeps going back to painful thoughts in your past. When your mind is full of new goals, it hardly gets a chance to ruminate. So, set new goals and get moving.
- Stay away from people who hold you back. Instead, try to connect with new people at your workplace or neighborhood. Hang out with different people and visit new places. Doing so will also broaden your perspective.
- Another common reason most people are stuck in the past is that they are afraid of the unknown. They are unable to set new goals because they stay focused on past failures. However, you need to let go of the past and move on. Nothing or no one can change what has already happened. What matters the most is the present moment.
- When it comes to letting go of your past, forgiveness is the most crucial factor. Forgive the people who have hurt you in the past. At the same time, also forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. Holding onto grudges will weigh you down, affecting your present as well as your future. So, practice forgiveness.
- Avoid triggers that cause you to plunge into the past. Stop talking about painful memories as they only make you relive the past, and that is no good. You can always vent your emotions by talking to your best friend or a therapist. However, set a few boundaries on how long you will talk about your past and with whom. Repress the urge to talk about your past when you meet new people.
6. Waiting for the Right Time
Telling yourself, “I will do this when the moment is right” is never going to work because there is no such thing as the “right moment.” If you wait for the right moment, it will probably never come.
As a result, you will never accomplish anything. Even if everything goes according to your plan, you will still find some excuse or something amiss, thereby postponing your goals.
Your circumstances aren’t going to improve if you don’t take the initiative to turn them around. In other words, waiting for the right time is just an excuse. All you are doing is procrastinating by postponing your plans.
- The first thing you need to do is start planning your day. Start setting small goals and deadlines. Adapting to this mindset, however, is easier said than done. At first, you are likely to come up with every creative reason to abandon your plan. To avoid this tendency, start small and work your way up gradually.
- Most people wait for the right moment because they think something such as money, resources, a person, or time is missing in the present. However, what they really lack is the ability to focus on what they have, instead of what is missing. So, count your blessings every day, be grateful for your near and dear ones, your healthy body, and your occupation.
- Learn to overcome your fears. Are you afraid of heights? Get on the rooftop of a high-rise with your friend to conquer this fear. Likewise, work hard to overcome other fears that are holding you back. Take professional help if necessary.
7. Playing the Victim
Over time, most people develop the tendency to play the victim in difficult situations, thinking they have little or no control over them.
Unfortunately, this mentality nurtures the feeling of helplessness. Therefore, people often resort to inaction, getting further lost in the abyss of self-pity.
At first, people may sympathize with you. However, the moment they realize what you are up to, they will stay away from you.
In short, playing the victim cuts you off from the rest of the world, rapidly pushing you towards full-blown depression. So, you need to stop this problem in its track.
- First, you need to stop blaming others for your circumstances. It is just a way to sweep your inactions or mistakes under the rug. Instead, analyze your role in a particular situation before pointing fingers at others. Take responsibility for your actions.
- Sometimes, things may slip out of your hands, making you feel overwhelmed. That’s okay because bad things can happen to anyone. If this happens, take some time off to think things over. Don’t rush into a decision.
- Help someone out. Involve yourself in local charity work if possible. Helping others gives us a sense of being valuable and accountable. When you learn to be kind to others, you tend to feel more compassionate towards yourself.
Sometimes, circumstances may get out of your hands but in the end your choices determine how happy and fulfilling your life can be because happiness is a state of mind.
Hopefully, avoiding these seven common oversights will help you lead a happy life irrespective of your circumstances. After all, it’s never too late to do the right thing.