By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Are these habits keeping you miserable?
1. Keeping Secrets – covering up your mistakes.
Happy people learn to admit mistakes when they make them and then try to stop making the same ones over and over. It takes way more work to cover up your faults than to admit them and change your actions.
Keeping secrets isolates you from others and can damage relationships.
2. Trying to please others – be someone else.
Spending your life trying to please others is a sure prescription for unhappiness. Trying to be someone or something you are not will keep you stuck in your misery. Learn to accept who you are and move towards who you chose to be. Make yourself happy and others will find it easier to like you. Try to please everyone and you will please no one, especially not yourself.
3. Trying to find someone who will fix you.
No one can make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. Happy people attract other happy people and miserable people draw misery to them. You do not find the perfect friend or lover and then become happy. You become a happy person and then you can be with others or alone and still be happy.
4. Holding on to regrets over past mistakes keeps you unhappy.
Regrets keep you stuck in the past. Happy people are happy in the now. Let the regrets go and move towards the what you can be.
5. Putting off until tomorrow – Procrastination perpetuates unhappiness.
Unhappy people expect the worst. As a result, they never do today what they can put off until tomorrow. Happy people make the effort. If only part of what they try to do works out they have accomplished a lot.
6. Waiting for something else to happen first delays happiness.
Do not wait for a good time to go back to school or a better time to find a job you will love. Start the process now and things will begin to happen. Do not put off doing things that will improve your happiness until some other day, month or year.
7. Letting fear keep you from trying again keeps you unhappy.
Learn from your mistakes. Try to do things better, smarter and safer. If you have been in a bad relationship check the next one out carefully before you commit. If you are unhappy in your job, take a look at why. Consider that if you can change you, then any job can be a happy one. If you stay in unhappiness all work settings will keep you miserable.
8. Comparing yourself to everyone else emphasizes what you do not have.
You are you, others are others. Unhappy people keep comparing themselves to others. If you look long enough you will always find someone who has accomplished more than you.
The State Senior could compare himself to the governor, he didn’t get elected Governor. The Governor might compare himself to the President. Each and every President could compare themselves to Washington or Lincoln. How many politicians can be the founders of their country?
Just how many other people do you need to be better than to feel OK about yourself?
Stop making comparisons and accept you for you.
9. Feeling sorry for yourself keeps you in misery.
Feeling sorry can provide excuses for your failures. Too much time on the reason why can take the focus off what could be.
Do not stay stuck in self-pity. Get into action and see where a few steps can take you.
10. Trying to get even perpetuates the hurts.
Revenge is a fire that can consume you and everything in your life. The best revenge is a successful life. Unhappy people plot revenge. Happy people plan for their own successful life.
11. Mistreating yourself guarantees unhappiness.
Others may have been unfair to you; they may even have abused you. Do not keep up the abuse. Unhappy people do not take care of themselves, they self-abuse. Engaging in good self-care is the first step to happiness.
12. Staying too busy to have fun prevents happiness.
Day after day of obligation can melt into a life lived for others. Carve out time to do things just because you like them. Do more that you enjoy and you become happier and the rest of your life is happier.
13. Trying to be perfect keeps happiness moving away.
Perfectionism is the great enemy of happiness. It is an unobtainable goal that keeps moving farther away. Aim high but cut yourself slack when you do not reach all the way to the top.
Nature knows there is no such thing as perfection. One sunset does not try to outdo another; each is there for us to savor. The most beautiful of flowers often have a small imperfection if you look closely. Do not let your inner beauty be obscured by a few imperfections.
Those flaws and scars you have accumulated are the facets that make you the gem you are.
14. Taking the easy way out does not lead to happiness.
Doing only the easy things never lets you stretch and grow to your full potential. In recovery, you need to learn to crawl. Eventually, you need to get up and take a few steps. Those first efforts may result in some falls. Do not let this deter you from walking and eventually running.
Avoiding challenges are a guaranteed way to stay stuck in your unhappiness.
15. If you spend all your efforts avoiding the negative – you are creating it.
You can’t solve problems by running from them. Turn towards your challenges, approach them and they often get smaller.
A life lived in fear, avoiding the negative in your life, will leave those things a part of your life. Face your defects down, fix what you can and accept the ones you can’t.
16. Ignoring your unmet needs prevents happiness.
No good parent would leave their child unfed. If you have a pet in your life you feed it and sometimes you have to clean up after it. But when it comes to your needs, the unhappy person will leave their inner person unfed.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Make getting your needs met a priority. Those needs include safety and new challenges. Do not go overboard and create a diet of only meeting one need.
A happy person feels free to tell others about their needs and to ask for support in meeting those needs. If those around you are not taking your needs seriously make sure you work harder at expressing those needs. Set a good example of meeting these needs yourself. If those around you still do not recognize your legitimate needs consider if these relationships are healthy.
17. Letting Fear of failure paralyze you stops the creation of happiness.
When under stress the brain reverts to the most primitive mechanisms. Fear can set you into a freeze, flight or fight response.
Be very careful to avoid the stuck-in-fear response. Freezing will keep you stuck. Flight will leave your problems to grow. Taking positive action can get those issues in your life you have been hiding from back under control.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.