1. We Put Our Happiness in Other People’s Hands
Happiness is OUR job. We can’t rely on anyone to “make” us happy. That is impossible! Only WE can do that. We can be with the “perfect” partner, but if we don’t feel good about ourselves, we will blame them for our unhappiness. When we put our happiness in other people’s hands, we place unrealistic expectations on them. We are so focused on expecting them to be who we want them to be that we cannot accept who they are. In fact, we stop seeing who they are. If we want to be happy, we have to look at the people in our lives through an untainted lens and ask ourselves:
- Is this a person I want in my life?
- What do I respect about the person?
- What do I love about this person?
- What does he/she contribute to my life?
Happiness is a choice. If we can separate our baggage from another person’s baggage, we can see that their choices do not have to affect our happiness. We don’t HAVE to jump into someone else’s chaos.
Another way we put happiness in other people’s hands is by who we choose to talk to when we are struggling. Are we choosing a person who is going to feed the drama or show us our accountability for our own feelings and actions? Is the person going to listen to us blaming someone else over and over or are they going to stir thoughts in us such as:
- What am I doing to take care of me?
- How can I make the situation better?
- How does thinking this way make me feel?
- Why am I choosing to be triggered by this?
- Is this where I want to be?
- What am I doing about it?
Instead of telling us what we want to hear, empowering friends will encourage us to look at the person in the mirror. They help us to start focusing on the one person we can change.
2. We Give Ourselves Away
Constantly giving ourselves away without considering our well-being is NOT healthy. When we are giving to others from a healthy place, we are energized, loving, and satisfied. Giving with an expectation of something in return is a red flag that we are depleting ourselves and therefore we need to refill the well. Sometimes it means we should say “no” to one of their requests, or what we are doing for them they need to be doing for themselves. If we feel exhausted, used, and unappreciated, we are draining ourselves of our happiness.
Even when we feel that our intentions are pure, we can’t assume that we know the right actions other people should take and then do it for them. That is THEIR journey.
If giving to others does not fill us with joy, we need to look at:
- Am I taking care of my own needs?
- Am I doing for others what they are choosing not to do for themselves?
- Am I focusing on them to avoid taking care of me?
- Why am I putting someone else’s value above my own?
- How can I put more value on me?
3. We Focus on Other People’s Lives
If we are comparing our happiness to those in the tabloids and the people around us, we are not focusing on our own lives—both the good and the areas that need improving. Who is looking after us? If we are busy figuring out what makes everyone in our lives happy, how do we know what makes us happy? We should ask ourselves.
- What inspires me?
- What feeds my soul?
- What brings out my passion?
- What gives me energy to give from a loving place?
Some people want marriage; others don’t. Some people like big families; others want to keep it small. Some people like adventure; others prefer to keep it safe. Some of us are religious, while others believe in a different spiritual path. It is imperative that you start painting a picture of what happiness looks like for YOU. Your life is more important than all the other people’s lives that you are focusing on!
4. We Think We Don’t Deserve Better
Guilt and shame are ready to sabotage our happiness the second we give them the power to do so. We subconsciously set limits to our happiness by only allowing ourselves as much as we think we deserve. If it goes over that set amount, we sabotage it. We may stir up drama, verbally or physically self-abuse, abuse others, blame, fight, or spread anger, fear, and hate. If we frequently fall into self-sabotaging behaviors, we need to explore:
- Why do I feel unworthy of love and/or happiness?
- Do I feel like I am enough the way that I am? If the answer is no, why?
- What am I not forgiving myself for?
- What am I holding onto that is keeping me down?
- Why am I stirring up dis-ease?
How do we break this cycle? We should talk to ourselves with love and respect. Have a love affair with ourselves. Spend the time on us that we would normally invest in someone else. Upping our happiness “ceiling” starts with forgiving ourselves for not being perfect; none of us are. We all make plenty of mistakes and have ample opportunities to learn. Our struggles are the foundation of becoming spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and/or physically better. If we want happiness, we must embrace who we are.
5. We Live in the Past and the Future
The past gives us an opportunity to learn and grow. Our future is a chance to practice what we have learned. Other than those two things, they tend to cause stress and pain. Living in either place only distracts us from the present moment. We miss the beauty of nature, the sweet look in a child’s eyes, the love of our families, and the miracles of everyday life. Happiness comes from appreciating the moment. Even in the darkest times, there is a light in the present, but we will miss it if we are not there.
- What did I learn from the situation I’m dwelling on?
- How can I apply the lesson today?
- What would I like my behavior, response, or action to look like in the future?
- How can I let it go and be in today?
If we want to stop sabotaging our happiness, the first step is to become aware of when we are doing it. Then we can accept our responsibility for our behavior and at the same time forgive ourselves. We then have the power to take action and change it. This is a process; it will not happen quickly. Congratulate yourself with each step. You will learn a little more with every victory. It’s time to start the journey and embrace your happiness!
With Love and Gratitude,