I really don’t believe that happiness has anything to do with being lucky. If it was then there are huge chunks of my life when I have been very unlucky. I also don’t think it has anything to do with things that happened in a previous life. There is the old phrase that ‘I must have been really evil/bad in a previous life to deserve this’. I also don’t think happiness is dependant upon the perfect circumstances, or having a problem-free life, or having everything that you want.
I strongly believe that happiness isn’t dependant upon a set of circumstances all being perfect at the same times. I am firmly of the beef that happiness is a choice you make and how you deal with the people, obstacles and circumstances in your life.
I’m far from perfect, nobody is. But I know I need to choose happiness with the things life has thrown of me and in order to be truly happy I need to face some demons from the past and let go of situations and people who will never allow me to be happy. We also have to contend with life in general and nobody can be happy ALL of the time despite what some say. We all know that one person who is always smiling, always laughing and constantly has a smile on their face but deep down they too get upset, suffer tragedies, losses and have those dreaded blah days where they feel like they just want to go straight back to bed.
From now on despite what life has thrown at me or may throw at me in the future I am going to choose happiness. I know I have a large number of bad habits that I’ve picked up on this journey called life but I’m going to step back and think hard about my reactions to certain people and situations. If needed I will remove people and circumstances from my life as I don’t want to deal with others negativity towards me or situations.
It’s not going to be easy but this is what I am going to do to ensure I find true happiness:
1 Insecurity and Self Doubt
I struggle with this a lot. As a child I had parents who were never happy with anything I did. I was just never good enough. Despite top grades at GCSEs and A Levels followed by a Degree and Masters Degree it was never enough.
Bad choice of relationships left me questioning myself all the time. Even years later I still question everything I do with this little voice in the back of my head saying ‘you are making the wrong choice’.
I now know these thoughts affect my mood and my outlook on life. I constantly tear myself down and I know I shouldn’t. It’s a hard habit to break. My insecurities have stopped me from ‘going for it’ and meant I’ve taken the safe choice when I know deep down I should have taken that risk. Other people fly when the jump at the risky choice. Why shouldn’t I? This something I am really working on this year. It’s not easy and it going to take quite some time for 40 odd years of self doubt to be chipped right back.
2 Appreciating What You Have
When I think about what I don’t have and more importantly what I do have, there are some lyrics that spring to mind. I really think Joni Mitchell got it so right when she sang “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” There is so much in life that I don’t have, but do I really need it? Will material things make me truly happy or is it the things money can’t buy that will bring me the happiness I crave? For a while now I’ve tried to write down each day 3 things I am grateful for. I admit I don’t do this everyday but I also don’t manage 3 things on the days I do. What I do know is the days I can write down just one thing that’s none materialistic to be thankful for has been a day filled with happiness. I long for more days like that.
3 Being True To Myself
I’ve found over the years that by pretending to be what others want me to be is emotionally draining. I have spent too long trying to be what others what me to be and the minute I started to be myself a number of them turned quite nasty. It was like I was fighting a hold they had over me and they didn’t like it. But I felt happier, I was no longer pretending to be the person someone else wanted me to be. I wasn’t interested anymore of getting their approval because they were a toxic person weaved far far too deep in my life. I let go of being someone I wasn’t and I became happier, more confident and not afraid of failure so much. Breaking free to be myself was what I had to do. There is still a long battle to win but I took the first step and it’s paid off.
I no longer feel I have to change who I am to fit in with a certain crowd, something I did too often. I am not bothered about not fitting in with that crowd as I know now there is another crowd I can fit in and this crowd accept me for being me. No more pretending, no more lying. Just me being me and finding happiness.
4 Judging Others
Everybody does a little bit of judging, perhaps making assumptions which can sometimes be unfair but what isn’t acceptable is gossiping about these judgements you have made with others behind someones back. Being mean and nasty about how somebody does something. Who says your way of doing something is right. Everyone has their own set of circumstances which influence how they do something, what choices they make. Your set of circumstances may be very different to theirs meaning your actions are different in what on the surface looks the same set of circumstances.
I try my hardest not to judge but deep down I struggle with others judging me, so I judge them. It’s wrong and I have to stop. Just like their views on what I do or have done are none of their concerns, the same stands for my views about others. I think life would be much happier for everyone if we stopped judging each other. Instead of judging I’m going to try to be supportive and encouraging to those around me.
5 Needing To Be In Control
One very important thing I need to remember is that not everything is in my control. As a throw back to people pleasing and fearing failure (see below) I try to control everything. It scares me at times how hard I try to control things that I never can. This then makes me think I have failed but at times it also means I don’t take certain risks as I know I can’t control something and I often feel I have missed out on grabbing a little happiness.
I have learnt though that the only real thing I can control is my reaction to other peoples behaviours and situations. I’m trying hard to work on this and to remain positive about situations I can’t control.
6 People Pleasing
I am so guilty of this. It goes back to childhood when I could never do anything right in my parents eyes. Everything I did was wrong. There was very little praise, if any and this screws a kid’s confidence up. I even used to get the blame when my younger brother had done something wrong; As the older child I should have stopped him and on numerous occasions got in to more trouble than him, even when I had nothing to do with what he had done wrong. Figure that one out!
Because of this, I know I became a people pleaser, doing things to make others happy instead of looking at what made me happy. Throughout life there have been many times when I have done something to the detriment of my own happiness in order to please others; to get their approval. This MUST stop.
7 Fear Of Failure
I think fear of failure really fits in with people pleasing. I’ve been manipulated by others actions to always feel in the wrong and because of that I developed in to a people pleaser. I am so aware that letting my fear of failing really does control my life and I make choices , safe choices that don’t always make me happy.
8 Toxic People
I honestly think we all need some support off others every now and then. Often its practical support and at times emotional and physical support. I am always happy to do as much as I practically can for others to help them. But there have been times in my life when I have needed a little support and it has not been there. I’m sure you all know that one person who is only interested in helping you if there is something in return for them. If there is nothing in it for them, they aren’t interested but will always take any help you offer. I am at point in my life that I don’t want to help toxic people but at the same time I’m also certain I don’t want to depend on them either. Yes, there are times where I need some form of support but from now on it’s going to be from people I know genuinely care and can be trusted.
I know from having removed toxic people out of my life before my happiness has improved. Toxic people tend to bring you down by taking advantage of you and this can be so soul destroying. It’s especially hard when they were once a friend or even family and there may still be positive aspects of their friendship but overall if they don’t make you happy it may be time to go your separate ways.
9 Chasing My Dreams
Having read this post back over and over I can clearly see that there is a common link to most of the points and for me to truly find happiness I have to remove people from my life. It really is something that I shouldn’t have to do but it is clear their behaviour towards me will never change and I have to find happiness. The only way forward is for me to remove these people from my life. I know they are not going to like it but when there is no respect shown towards me or my feelings I do not have a choice. My happiness needs to come first.
What is holding you back from true happiness? Have or do you need to make some very difficult decisions?