5 THINGS MOST UNHAPPY PEOPLE REFUSE TO ADMIT
Everyone experiences an unhappy mood on occasion, but there is a big difference between experiencing a temporary bout of unhappiness and living a habitually unhappy life. That’s what chronically unhappy people do. And although many of these people are afraid to admit it, a vast majority of their unhappiness stems from their own beliefs and behaviors.
Over the past decade, Marc and I have helped hundreds of unhappy people rediscover their smiles and, in the process, we’ve learned a lot about the negative beliefs and behaviors that typically hold them back. Even if you are generally a happy person, take a look at the short list below. Many of the unhappy people we’ve worked with via our course and coaching initially refused to admit that they carried these beliefs and behaviors, even when the evidence stacked against them was undeniable. See if any of these points are keeping you from experiencing greater amounts of joy.
1. They struggle with self-respect. – Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself. Be a friend to yoruself. Trust your inner spirit and follow your instincts. Accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes in your life as YOU see fit—not because you think anyone else wants you to be different, but because you know it’s the right thing to do, for YOU. Be the person you will be happy to live with for the duration of your life. Don’t rely on your significant other, or anyone else, for your happiness and self-worth. Know that our first and last love is always self-love, and that if you can’t love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to either. (covered in the “Self-Love” chapter of our NEW book)
2. They are holding on to old grudges. – You will never find peace until you learn to finally let go of the hatred and hurt that lives in your heart. Life is far too short to be spent in nursing bitterness and registering wrongs. Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, on the other hand, is for those who are confident enough to stand on their own two legs and move on. In order to move on, you must know why you felt the way you did, and why you no longer need to feel that way. It’s about accepting the past, letting it be, and pushing your spirit forward with good intentions. Nothing empowers your ability to heal and grow as much as your love and forgiveness. (covered in the “Happiness” chapter of our NEW book)
3. The routines they follow imprison them. – Remember that the way you’ve always done it isn’t the only way. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re 75 is not having consumed enough beer in your 20s, 30s and 40s, or not having bought enough $8 lattes from Starbucks, or not having frequented the same exact restaurants, or strip malls, or office buildings for years. But the regret of missing out on great opportunities is a real, toxic feeling. The bottom line is that you’ve figured out the things in your comfort zone many times over. You’ve had enough of the same old, same old. It’s time to figure something new out. Every corner you turn or street you walk down has a new experience waiting for you. You just have to see the opportunity and be adventurous enough to run with it for a little while. (covered in the “Daily Rituals” chapter of our NEW book)
4. They let their fears numb them from life’s goodness. – “Numbing” is any activity that you use to desensitize your feelings so that you don’t experience vulnerability or hurt. But by numbing yourself to vulnerability, you also numb yourself to love, belonging, empathy, creativity, adventure and all of life’s goodness. Remember, every worthwhile venture in life—intimate love, friendship, a new business, etc.—is scary. These things are inherently risky. They are unsafe. These things aren’t for the faint of heart. They take courage. And most importantly, they can’t coexist with fear. When you open up to life’s greatest opportunities and joys it means you’re also giving life the opportunity to break your heart, but trusting that it won’t … that the risk is well worth the reward. (covered in the “Getting Unstuck” chapter of our NEW book)
5. They are addicted to avoiding themselves in the present. – One of the hardest challenges we face to simply live in our own skin—to just be right here, right now, regardless of where we are. Too often we needlessly distract ourselves with anything and everything: food, booze, shopping, TV, tabloid news, online social networks, video games, smart phones, etc.—basically anything to keep us from being fully present. We use compulsive work, compulsive exercise, compulsive love affairs, etc., to escape from ourselves and the realities of living. In fact, many of us will go to great lengths to avoid the feeling of being alone in an undistracted environment. So we succumb to hanging-out with just about anybody to avoid the feeling of solitude. For being alone means dealing with our true feelings: fear, anxiety, confusion, uncertainty, resentment, disappointment, excitement, anticipation, and so on and so forth. And it doesn’t really matter if our feelings are positive or negative—they are overwhelming and exhausting, and so we prefer to numb ourselves to them. The bottom line is that we are all addicted to avoiding ourselves to an extent. Acknowledging this addiction is the first step to healing it. So begin today by just noticing, with curiosity and without judgment, all of the ways in which you avoid being in your own skin, right here, right now, in this present moment we call life. (covered in the “Mindfulness” chapter of our NEW book)
And of course, if you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone. We are all in this together. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and keep our lives on track.