Monday, July 4, 2005

Unhappy People around the globe and Habits Fixing for lives

We all suffer from unhappy times, but not everyone is ‘unhappy’ with life in general. There is a big difference between feeling unhappy and being unhappy, and it is often created through our own actions.Take a look at the list below. These are some common habits of unhappy people. Chances are even the happiest of folks can find one or two of these habits in their own daily lives, and they may be hindering an opportunity for even more happiness.

Unhappy People around the globe and Habits Fixing for lives

“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ~Marianne Williamson 

Have you ever felt that something was missing in your life? 

Who am I kidding, everyone has. I used to be unhappy. But not just unhappy—miserable. I’d look at other people and wonder what they had that I didn’t. I was sick of living my life. And being sick of it was the tipping point that changed it all. It’s what got me moving in the direction of what made my heart sing. As I moved forward, I discovered that what was making me miserable wasn’t outside of me, but the habits I had built up over the years. I’d like to share with you what those habits were, and how I overcame them.

 1. Waiting for clarity. I thought that in order to do what I loved and be happy, I had to know where I was going. Turns out that was a mirage. It was a thought that I believed. When I took action despite feeling confused, and simply did my best, I discovered that I could always take one step forward, clarity or no clarity. It was like walking in a heavy fog. As long as I kept moving forward, more of my path revealed itself. But if I stood still, nothing would happen.

Fix: Don’t wait for clarity. Listen to your heart, and take one tiny step forward. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

2. Seeking permission from others. I wanted others to tell me I was on the right track. The more I did this, the emptier I felt inside. Why? Because I was giving my power away. Instead of listening to my own guidance system, I was relying on someone else. It was confusing and disempowering. I’ve never had an easy time just trusting life. I worry a lot. But over the years, I’ve realized that trusting myself is the only way toward living a fulfilling life. Once I stopped trying to seek permission, or figure things out, my inner wisdom grew stronger, because it was no longer clouded by thoughts.

 Fix: Don’t look to someone else for validation for your dreams. Go after what makes you come alive. That’s enough.

 3. Hoping for future salvation. Another unhelpful habit I have is living in the future, thinking that reaching my goals will make me happier. However, I’ve noticed that once again, this is just a thought that I give power to. I’ve also noticed that I’ve reached plenty of goals that I thought would make me happy, but didn’t. Like me, you’ve probably heard the following phrase over and over again: “Happiness comes from the inside. It’s available right here, right now.” For a long time, I wondered, “That’s all fine and good, but how do I use that in my life?”

 The answer was to witness my thoughts, and let them pass by. I don’t have to believe in every thought that tells me that the future holds the key to my happiness. Once I let those thoughts pass, I notice that there’s a source of joy within, always available to me. Fix: When you find yourself living in the future, just notice what you’re doing. Let go of the tendency and observe what’s going on. This is a practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect.

 4. Wanting to take big leaps. When I get caught up in thinking that the future will save me, I want to take big leaps. I want to hurry to my goal. Yet this behavior makes reaching my goal less likely. It introduces sloppiness into my work. It produces an aroma of selfishness. But, if I let things take their time, and if I let those thoughts pass, there’s a sense of peace. As I write this, I’m not in a hurry. I sense the wanting to finish, but I witness it. I don’t get involved. Then I return my focus to writing, and letting the words flow on paper. And my soul smiles. My heart nods. My breath deepens. I remember: “This is it. This is life.”

 Fix: Big leaps assume that happiness is in the future. Take a deep breath. Notice how much happiness is available right now. No big leaps needed, just a remembering of who you are.

Common Habits of Unhappy People: Aspiring for Perfection – 

This unexplained obsession with being perfect has taken over many people’s lives. It is as if people believe that everything has to be perfect in order for them to be happy, but what exactly does perfect mean? When you set the bar too high the only thing you are going to achieve is a loss of self-esteem, and a feeling of failure. It is time to accept that perfect doesn’t happen, it doesn’t exist, and it is not a realistic goal for your life. How to Change This: In order to change the habit of aspiring for perfection we must first understand what our view of perfection actually is. Do you see perfection as a nice house?

A certain career?
A person, place or thing? Once you see what it is you are longing for you can begin to compromise with yourself. Do you truly need that five bedroom home to be happy? What in your life is perfect (to you) right now? You must give yourself credit for all the things you have accomplished so far, and realize that there are others around you that probably long for what you have. When you accept that nothing is perfect it becomes easier to accept ‘as close as you can get‘. Tell yourself regularly that you are proud of the things you have accomplished; grateful for all that you have in your life, and accept that you are doing the best that you can. Set realistic goals for yourself that are focused on your own happiness, not what you believe happiness is in society, magazines, or media. Taking time to reflect on what you ‘need’ as opposed to what you ‘want’ will help you to see that perfection is an illusion that truly doesn’t exist. It always helps me to remember that even the riches of walls have their secrets; even the happiest of families have their tears.

 The Big Bully Mindset – 
It is an unfortunate fact that media and society have not caught up to the truth behind happiness. What we see, read, and hear has a huge impact on how we think, and it is because of these false ideals that we tend to have a Bully Mindset inside of us that easily takes over our thoughts. Hand-in-hand with our obsession for perfection, we tend to talk ourselves down on a regular basis. It may not be a conscious act, and most of the time we are probably unaware that it is even happening but living in a sea negative thoughts is the fastest way to sink the ship. How to Change This: The good news is, despite the fact that it takes time and effort, this is one of the easiest habits to break. That is because it is all up to you, and requires no outside help. So how do you do it? Well, you start by bragging. Yup, it’s that simple. Next time you are out at a party or event and someone compliments you, accept it. When asked what you do, or what you have been up to lately, brag a bit. There is no need to go overboard, but pointing out your achievements to others is a great way to feel good about yourself. Another step in breaking this bad habit is to replace all of your negative thoughts with positive ones immediately. Every time you think something that is negative, or questionable even, replace it with something positive. For example: I had a co-worker that annoyed me to know end. Each time she would come over to my desk I would immediately think to myself ‘Oh Great, What drama is she here about now?‘ This started every interaction we had off on a negative note. I took a look at what I was doing and decided it needed to change, not so much because I wanted to like this woman, but because I want to be in control of my thoughts and I want to invite positivity into my life. These types of thoughts allow negativity to sneak in, and often times they quickly take over other areas. The next time this co-worker came to my desk I stopped myself from those negative thoughts and replaced them with a compliment. ‘That’s a nice sweater she is wearing.’ or ‘She did a great job on her presentation yesterday.’ I even shared these thoughts with her on occasion and I discovered something very interesting; not only did my negative thoughts about her disappear altogether, but our communication actually improved. Months later while our work group was out for a few drinks to celebrate a success, she confessed to me that she had suffered from depression and low self-esteem. She thanked me for being kind, and treating her with respect. She explained that many others in the office hadn’t and she said she really appreciated my kindness. She told me that it was partly because of my listening and encouragement that she felt better now than she had in a long time. She thanked me for being her friend, and I thanked her for being mine.

 I felt amazing; changing my thoughts had helped change someone else’s life, without any intention what-so-ever. Constant Crushing Comparisons – I am not sure where this need to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ originates from, but it is hurting people more than it is helping. So many of us suffer from this constant need to compare ourselves to others. Comparisons of any kind will not get you what you ‘need’ in life, in fact, it may be the opposite. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others we are not taking note of what we currently have, nor what we truly need. This is a very common behavior and it occurs daily whether we are aware of it or not. We compare jobs, houses, clothes, physical attributes, shoes, relationships, social status, even our children with other people around us. Through these constant comparisons you are beating yourself up, and breaking yourself down. You are failing to recognize all the things you do have in your life because you are blinded by what everyone else has in their lives.
How to Change This: In order to change this destructive behavior you are going to need to constantly remind yourself of all that you have to be thankful for, and replace it with another, more positive behavior. You should begin with comparing yourself to no one but yourself. When you feel envious of others look at all the things that you have accomplished in the last year, two years, ten years, and compare yourself to that. Even if you are struggling more now then you were five years ago chances are you have learned more, and gained more over the time. Do look to others for fulfillment, look within yourself. Another replacement to practice is to be kind. Volunteer, give someone a compliment, or lend a helping hand. When we help others, and are kind to others, we tend to be easier on ourselves. It may also help you in other areas, when we realize that there is always someone who is worse off, just as much as there is always someone who is better off than we are, we start to appreciate all the wonderful things we do have in life. If people who have less than you can be happy and thankful, so can you.
The Then and When Complex – So many people spend their lives stuck in either the past or the future instead of living in the moment. When you are focused on the past, the good old days, or the what ifs you are missing out on the memories you could be making right now. The same goes for the future, when we live our life planning for tomorrow we are doomed to wake up and realize that today has passed without action. How To Change This: This is an important habit to break, and it is not an easy one. We all love to relive our youth and get lost in our memories, but there is a fine line between reliving and ‘dwelling’. The same goes for planning the future, we know that we have to have a plan, but it is important that we do not waste today thinking of tomorrow. So how do you find balance?

Many different ways. If you are the type that is stuck in the positive aspects of the past, it is imperative that you assess what it is that you are avoiding now. Once you look at what you loved about then, and what about it is lacking now you can start incorporating that aspect into your current life. If you are the type that is stuck in the negative aspects of the past, or the what ifs, it is important that you learn to let go, and accept that what if is nothing more than an excuse to escape. When we break the chains that bind us to the past we can finally be free to live in the moment. Accept whatever negative thing happened as a lesson and use it as fuel to move forward with your life right now. Take note and avoid making the same mistake again, chances are that once you let it go you will realize how much stronger it has made you. For those who are caught up in planning the future you must realize that while having a plan is a positive thing, it is not written in stone. Make a plan, write it down, create a timeline if you wish, but accept that things will change and enjoy them when they do. If you are the ‘planning type’ then use that to your advantage right now and plan your day, plan ways to enjoy your life at this moment, and allow happiness to take you where it will. Vow to create your plan and reassess it every six months, making necessary changes that suit the situation you are currently in.
 Obsessing Over Image –
 The teenage girl inside of us is always curious about what other people think. It is when that curiosity begins to control our actions that this behavior becomes a bad habit of unhappy people. How to Change This: There is a Dr. Seuss quote that reads, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” This became my personal motto may years ago, and I have never been happier. The constant need to know what other people think about us is not something that is only common among high-school kids, business, blogs, and social media are built on this very foundation. Constant concern with what others will think about us, the way we look, or the things we do puts extreme limitations on our lives. When you are always thinking about what others think you are less likely to try new things, and step outside the box you have created for yourself in the minds of others. The truth is, there are a few truths when it comes to what other people think. No matter what you do there are always going to be people who have something to say about it, people who don’t agree with it, and people who just plain don’t like you. Don’t let the thoughts of others become your reality, do what you want because you want to. Secondly, odds are the way people are interacting with you, the way you feel they think of you, is probably more a reflection of themselves and what is going on in their own lives. We get so personal regarding other people’s actions that we tend to act like mind readers.

Why should you even care what someone else thinks about you, or what you are doing? If it is making you happy, if it feels right, what they think should not matter. It may sound simple, but the fact is, it is. Chaos Through Created Complications – Life is stressful, that is a fact that cannot be changed. Although, chances are if you were to consider the amount of stress in your life with an open mind you would find that a great deal of it is self-created. This may sound harsh, but much of the things we stress about are created by us alone, and not even worth the effort we use to worry.
How to Change This: I saw a great picture the other day that said: “If you can change it, there is no reason to worry about it. If you cannot change it, there is no reason to worry about it.” How true are those words when you really think about it? How much time do we spend stressing about things that we do not need to? How often do we get ourselves worked up for no reason at all? In modern life we have this overactive worry gland inside us that causes us to create complications that aren’t even there. We do this by taking on too many tasks at once, wasting worry on things we cannot control, and trying to please everyone all the time. In order to change this habit we have to simply let go, and let be.

 When you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, let go and delegate tasks to someone else. When you are constantly worried about something, let go and realize that it will either change or it won’t (repeat the quote above). When you are stressed about pleasing others and you are creating problems where there are none (this is especially common in relationships) let go and please yourself. If there are issues you have with another person, simply ask and don’t try to work it out yourself. Let it go. These are not necessarily habits of ‘unhappy’ people, but allowing them to become routine and not making a conscious effort to change them is likely to lead to unhappiness in some aspect of your life. Even people who are considered happy and fulfilled will find they have a number of these habits. It is not something to dwell on or feel bad about, but rather a direction to focus your energy and efforts for improvement.


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