The one thing everyone wants in their lives is happiness. We enter relationships because we want to be happy. We choose career options because we want to be happy. We pursue our goals and ambitions because we want to be happy.
And yet invariably there comes a stage in everyone’s lives where suddenly we wonder whether we are actually happy or not.
Here are some signs that you’re not happy anymore and that you need to take steps to improve your life.
You thought that if you grew up, finished school, went to college, got a job, met someone, had children etc. etc. you would have a happy life. Unfortunately, it really hasn’t been that simple. Happiness is entirely subjective and varies by individual, and the problem may be that you don’t even know what would make you happy. You may have totally ridiculous standards – you want to be a size zero supermodel with a house in Lanzarote for example, when you actually enjoy far too much chocolate and can barely afford the rent on your flat.
You thought your life would be special because everyone in your family told you that you were special while you were growing up, and unfortunately no-one in the big bad world agrees. Only you can decide to meet your early potential and make your life the best it can be.
For some reason you have one person stuck in your head all the time and it prevents you from moving forwards. You know it isn’t healthy and yet you think about them far too often, wonder what they are doing, or even stalk them on social media. You’re not happy because you care about them more than yourself.
Conversely it may be that you find it difficult to let go of a relationship. Perhaps you’re in a relationship now where it is toxic and you experience fear, anger or hurt. Perhaps it is emotionally or physically abusive. Perhaps you are complacent because the relationship is not perfect but it’s ok. You will never be happy unless you can rid yourself of toxic friendships and relationships. You shouldn’t settle for good enough – purge the negativity.
You think everyone else is doing better than you. They’re slimmer, fitter, wealthier, have better hair and better houses and cars. You think they’re happier than you. You spend more time worrying about what others are thinking of you, than you do simply getting on with your own life and being happy!
You have to work and you thought it would be OK but basically your job sucks and you want to move on. You’re looking for something else but no-one is hiring and you can’t afford to be unemployed. Doing a job you hate makes you stressed and angry. You feel unfulfilled and you have to do it for 40 hours per week. It is important that you keep updating your CV and working on your skills so that employers will take an interest in you when the economy improves.
If you lack confidence or have a low self-esteem and you let doubt and fear into your mind, you will remain feeling stuck and unhappy. We are our own worst enemies and we give ourselves more battles than we need with our self-limiting beliefs. Regardless of whether this stems from our childhood or past failures, if we doubt ourselves we are paralyzed. We have to let these fears dissipate.
Have you ever considered what it is you really want from life? Where would you like to be at 80? What would you like people to say about you at your funeral? Between then and now you have to make those things happen. That’s your big life mission. You have to have the experiences and meet all the friends. Those are your goals. Goals are more short-term – things that can be achieved in the short term. You want goals that feed into your mission and impact on your health, relationships and career. When you’re achieving, you’ll be happy. As long as you have the right mission and goals that is ….
Just as you aren’t a Disney princess, you’ll quickly learn that life isn’t always going to go your way. Don’t take the little things in life for granted, see all the small things as little gifts. Appreciate them and you’ll find more happiness and abundance in your life.
Did your parents want you to follow in their footsteps? Did they foist classes and skills on you that you never wanted? If you’re living any aspect of your life out of a sense of obligation or duty, you will not be happy. You only have one life; you need to live it for yourself.
You think you are the centre of the known universe and everyone needs to play by your rules. You feel you are treated badly by other people. You blame others for your misfortune. You dismiss some people from your life because you have high ideals and unobtainable notions of perfection that they don’t meet. You have a checklist for a perfect partner and won’t consider anyone else. You choose to be happy only when all of your dreams come true and yet they won’t come true unless you are more realistic about life and people, warts and all.
If you don’t trust your own instincts, or if you’re afraid of being alone, or if you choose not to love and nurture yourself, you will never be happy. No one is perfect, and the only person in your life you can trust 100% is yourself. Believe in yourself and your capabilities and you will feel so much better.
Sometimes we hold onto things that make us sad. We consciously or unconsciously choose unhappiness because we can’t let go. Ultimately we can all take steps to be happy – we just need to open the door and let the opportunities in.
There is no single path that will lead you to your happiness, you have to stay aware and remain observant, taking stock of your feelings, and watching how all your experiences change you. What makes you happy at 18 will be different to what makes you happy at 48 or 88! Take time out from your life occasionally, to work out what happiness means to you and what you’re going to do to find it. Concentrate on what matters and try to live a fulfilling life. You’ll get there.
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