We are our own greatest enemy. We doubt ourselves, complicate our lives, cloud our minds with unimportant thoughts and negativity, we punish ourselves, hate ourselves and then feel sorry for ourselves because “outside forces” are making our lives a living hell. Life is beautiful — you’re making yours a living hell all on your own. Each of us does things from time to time that make living happily more difficult than it needs to be.
Surely some of us have it difficult because those are the cards that we’re dealt, but most of us — especially those who are better off financially and don’t live on the streets — make our very own lives more difficult for ourselves. But there are things you can do to stop the miserable cycle that you have found yourself in — a cycle that I know all too well.
Here’s 20 of them:
1. Stop Running From Your Problems and Procrastinating.
Problems don’t go away on their own. You can either make them go away or live with them. If you know you can’t live with them, then don’t procrastinate because the weight of them on your mind only increases over time. If you have a problem, then accept that you have a problem and face it — deal with it. Life is a long list of problems that must be overcome. The faster and better you overcome them, the better and happier your life will be.
2. Stop Lying To Yourself.
People will lie to you left and right throughout your life; don’t add to the pile of lies. It is one thing for others to be lying to you and an entirely different issue if you’re lying to yourself. You are the only person that you can trust…but if you have a habit of lying to yourself, then you can’t even trust yourself. You have to be able to rely on yourself and on what you believe.
If you know something to be false, then stop convincing yourself that it is or could possibly be true. Improbable is one thing, but impossible is another. Feeding yourself lies or half-truths will lead to the forming of a reality that doesn’t actually exist past the confines of your psyche.
3. Stop Living In The Past.
Yesterday was yesterday — it’s gone and will never again be. Everyone carries emotional baggage with them. Some of us carry the weight of a depressing past while others live in those happy long-gone moments that we consider to have been the best of our lives. You can reminisce if you’d like as long as you don’t forget that your reality exists only in the present.
It can be a dangerous thing to dwell on the past. Nostalgia can overcome us and make us feel that the world we are living in today falls short of the happiness we experienced in the past. Other times we will punish ourselves for mistakes that we have done and dwell in the negativity and bad feelings that we had. Whatever the case, be wary of focusing on past events and do your best to live in the moment.
4. Stop Attempting To Buy Happiness.
I’ve tried; it doesn’t work. You can buy drinks, buy drugs, buy sex, buy trips, buy experiences, buy toys and clothes…none of it will make you happy — at least not past the day that you buy them. I always revert to Paulo Coelho on this matter: happiness must be something attainable by each and every person no matter what his or her circumstance. If the poorest of the poor can be happy, then happiness cannot lie in the material.
5. Stop Relying On Others.
People have their own lives filled with their own headaches, own problems, own mishaps and own successes. Friendship is great, but often doesn’t weather the storm. Be self-reliant. Be independent. We all find ourselves alone at several points throughout our lives. If you find yourself on your lonesome and don’t know how to deal with it because you are used to having constant support, then you will drown.
6. Stop Fearing Failure.
Failure is such a derogatory term… I don’t understand why. Failing is learning in the real world. There is only so much that you can read up about the way the world works, but true knowledge comes from experience. And no one gets it right the first time around. You failed. Great. Try it again. And again. And again. The more times you get it wrong, the more ways you know NOT to do it.
7. Stop Doing The Same Thing Over And Over, Expecting Different Results.
At the same time, don’t keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results. If you tried something one way and it didn’t work, then guess what will happen when you try again exactly in the same manner? Failure is only good if you learn from it. Otherwise it really is just failure.
8. Stop Rejecting Prospective Partners Because Of Your Past Sh*tty Relationships.
You fell in love and had your heart broken; we all have. Luckily for you, now that you have experienced the pain of a broken heart, you have fully experienced the love cycle and can grow as an individual. Relationships, like the rest of life, are learning experiences. Don’t generalize and make yourself believe that all relationships end in heartache because that doesn’t have to be the case. Ultimately, you and your partner decide whether or not the relationship will work. Check your baggage at the door.
9. Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself.
Life is tough for everyone. The richest of the rich have problems. The poorest of the poor have problems. We make problems for ourselves — they don’t exist outside of us. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start interacting with the world around you.
10. Stop Trying To Change Others.
People don’t want to be changed and most often can’t be changed. You must learn to accept people for who they are. The less you focus on all the things you find wrong about an individual, the more you can focus on how to deal with them and all their discrepancies. Don’t fix people; learn to deal with them and — I hate to say it — learn to manipulate them into doing what you want them to do; mind-f*ck them.
11. Stop Making Excuses.
I understand that the time isn’t right, the place isn’t right, and the stars have yet to align perfectly. The setting will never be perfect for anything. Perfect is not the alignment of outside forces; it’s making havoc the perfect opportunity. Stop making excuses and start making opportunities for yourself.
12. Stop Worrying.
Sh*t happens. Then it happens again. Then sh*t won’t happen for a day or two…and then it returns with a vengeance. The more responsibilities that you have the more you have to potentially worry about. The key is to not procrastinate and approach all problems logically. You only have so much time in a week to work on the things that need to be worked on. You can do so much with that time. As long as you do as much as you can do, there is nothing you should be worrying about. The only thing worth worrying about is your own laziness; everything else is out of your control. If you worry about things out of your control, then you are setting yourself up for a mental breakdown.
13. Stop Focusing On The Negative.
Negativity is overwhelming and contagious. It tints the way we look at the world and makes us believe that we are worse off than we actually are. Negativity and worry go hand in hand and can be the downfall of all that you have worked so hard for. Living in a world filled with your negative thoughts doesn’t leave any room for the positive. Focus on the negative and you will hate your life.
14. Stop Being Ungrateful.
Statistically speaking, if you are reading this then most people in the world have it worse off than you do. That may not be very comforting…but consider that most of these people are likely to be happier than you. Happiness does not lie in the material, but in the immaterial. Be grateful for what you do have — especially those that play important parts in your life. You could be worse off and may very well be worse off some time in the future. Enjoy whatever prosperity you have.
15. Stop Wasting Time.
You are only allotted a sliver of time to call your life. Use those minutes and hours to make the most of your life. Ever hear your elders complain about how fast time flies by? Listen. They’re speaking the truth.
16. Stop Overloading Your Schedule.
Doing more does not necessarily mean getting more done. It’s all about efficiency. Human beings require certain things in order to live tranquilly. Divvy up your time for all the things that you MUST do and then divvy the rest for the things that you WANT to do. Just make sure to be clear on what you need before you start going after what you want.
17. Stop Trying To Impress Others.
It’s not worth it. The only reason you should ever try to get on someone’s good side is if you need them for something — only in business. When it comes to more personal relationships you can’t do anything more than be yourself. If they don’t love you for who you are, then they will never truly love you.
18. Stop Wishing You Were Someone Else.
Make sure that you know who you are and do all you can to develop — not change. People don’t change, they develop and grow. You are a great individual because you are a human being. You have the potential to do anything you want. Figure out what it is that you want out of life and go after it. There is no need to change who you are to match some preexistent notion of who you should be. Of course, certain situations you may find yourself in will have certain rules of etiquette, which you will need to learn and adopt. However, who you know you are and who others perceive you to be does not have to be the same person.
19. Stop Overlooking The Simple Things In Life.
The simplest of things are the most beautiful of things. Take walks. Talk to strangers. Look up at the sky, the trees, the birds. Connect with nature and all that which comes at little to no price. We often do our best to reach for things that we believe will make us more in tune with reality — happier — only to find out that we were greatly mistaken. Life offers us simple beauties. Relish in them.
20. Stop Hating Yourself.
We are often too tough on ourselves. We hate ourselves for our failures and our inabilities — which makes no sense whatsoever. Failing is learning and inabilities can be turned into abilities with enough work and patience. Whatever you dislike about yourself can be changed… just be sure that it’s worth changing. My advice: learn to love yourself the way that you are. Changes are easier to make when you already have a good relationship with yourself.
Special thanks to PAUL HUDSON.