Are You Making Life Too Hard?
1. You ascribe intent
Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.
Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.
2. You’re the star of your own movie
It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had. You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end.
Unfortunately you forgot to give your script to anyone else. Lose your script. Let someone else star once in awhile. Welcome new characters. Embrace plot twists.
3. You fast forward to apocalypse.
I have a bad habit of fast forwarding everything to its worst possible outcome and being pleasantly surprised when the result is marginally better than utter disaster or jail time. My mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely.
Negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.
4. You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.
Among their many shortcomings of your family and friends is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims. Did your boyfriend forget the six and a half month anniversary of your first movie date? Did your friend fail to fawn over your new tattoo?
Unmet expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Minimize your expectations, maximize your joy.
5. You don’t take risks.
Two words: Live boldly. Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.
6. You constantly compare your life to others.
I do this frequently. Those people are having more fun. Mary has a bigger boat. Craig gets all the lucky breaks. Ted has more money. John is better looking.
Stop it. Always remember what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
7. You can’t/won’t let go
Sometimes you have to work at happiness. Some hurdles are too difficult to clear by simply adjusting your point of view or adopting a positive mindset.
Life is full of change. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it. It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow. You’re not alone. Find someone who understands and talk to that person. Reach out for support. If all else fails, try #10 below.
8. You don’t give back
Immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life. It doesn’t even have to be a big, structured thing. Say a kind word. Encourage someone. Pay a visit to someone who is alone. Get away from your self-absorption.
When it comes down to it, there are two types of people in this world. There are givers and there are takers. Givers are happy. Takers are miserable. What are you?