Oftentimes we read about what we can do to increase our happiness through valuable tips, tricks and techniques. I love reading this stuff and write/teach a lot if it! I enjoy noticing the impact it has on my day and my life. Sometimes equally important is identifying what habits we have that negate all of the positive mindset gearing we do. Put simply, we need to do some unlearning.
Here are 6 things that many of us are guilty of that sabotage our success, peace and joy:
1. Hold a grudge
Forgiveness is the key to freedom. As Marianne Williamson says, “Forgiveness is actually out of self-interest.” When we hate, feel anger or resentment towards another, the intended impact, to hurt them, backfires on us. We harbour the anger and resentment within our own minds and bodies. Think, “how can I see this situation differently?”
2. Give up on our dreams
To me this is the saddest one. So often we bury our gifts, follow a “safe” path or simply do not give ourselves permission to pursue what it is that we really, really, really want. This results in regret later in life and dullness in the present moment. I heard once that the definition of hell is when the person you are meets the person you could have been. Wow is all I have to say to that. Our inner voice knows when we are not living our truth and this voice does not go away (although we try to tune it out).
3. Let distractions guide our day
When we live life as I like to say, “from the inbox out” we are often completely unaware of the happiness we could be experiencing from self-directing our lives. We need to allow some disconnect from the agenda that social media and email sets for our day – from our morning alarm clock through to bedtime instagram “liking”. Enough!
4. Settle for superficial friendships
Since moving to New York I really noticed this. When making new friends I realized that a lot of time people do not talk about things that really matter or make themselves vulnerable. Whenever I bring up my early divorce or modest upbringing, people tend to open up with me too, as we all secretly want to make a genuine connection with other people. People sometimes tell me, “Its so nice to talk about this stuff.” We don’t realize that connecting with others has nothing to do with our exotic vacations or successful career stories — it is about making a soul connection that only arises from deeper conversations.
Comparison is selective, exaggerated and unreal. We have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives. We may envy their fortune but not know their child is struggling with bullying or that their marriage is falling apart. Instead we should be too busy envying our own good fortune (gratitude, my friends).
6. Hold back on the giving
At the end of it all, it is not about us! The greatest, most real and rewarding sense of happiness comes from helping others. I know a lawyer who teaches guitar on Sundays to children who cannot afford lessons. He says it is one of his greatest sources of happiness. To me, this is the most beautiful thing about the world — that giving of ourselves creates the most joy. It’s unbeatable.
In the spirit of the new season almost upon us …. What can you be doing differently to boost your happiness and that of yours around you! Please share with me in the comments below!