There isn’t one shiny gold key that turns the lock on everyone’s happy box. Sadly, life doesn’t work like that. But maybe that’s a good thing. What would that say about our originality and uniqueness if everyone could find happiness in the same exact way?
Happiness is this big fluffy cloud that we’re all trying to catch and snuggle up to. Finding it isn’t always easy, but there’s a few things you can stop doing right this second that will make the chase that much easier.
#1: Judging People by Face
You’ve heard the old saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ Well this rings true, especially with people. All too often we look at someone and determine their value in our minds based on their hair, their clothes, their facial expressions, or their demeanor. We judge whether or not to associate with someone just because of that first once-over. And not only is this rude, but it’s self-limiting.
When we make judgments on others, we keep ourselves from getting to know people, from making connections, and from learning. Some of the richest conversations and relationships we have are with people who are different than us, yet when it comes to forming first impressions of others, we’re honestly terrible. Stop. Stop judging a person by his or her clothing, hair style, or even frowning face. There’s always something beyond the surface and outside appearance. And learning about others and creating relationships is guaranteed to make you a better, and happier person.
You agonize over everything from what shoes to wear to whether or not you should apply for graduate school. Trust me, I get it. Life lends itself to some serious decision-making. And naturally we start to second guess ourselves. We play out these huge and ridiculous scenarios in our heads then stress ourselves out imagining all the what-ifs and should-haves. Stop. It’s toxic. And half the time we’re torturing our minds over some of the stupidest things.
Make an informed decision. Stick with it (with confidence!) And see how it plays out. It might work out perfectly and you saved yourself some major gray hairs. Or…it might not. And that’s okay. All that means is you have to pick up the pieces and make a new decision. And news flash! That’s a part of life!
#3: Feeling like you need to know what the hell you’re doing with your life
Ahh my favorite. It’s completely classic, especially for twenty-something-year-olds. But see, the ironic thing is, you don’t need to know what you’re doing with your life—ever. Sure, it helps to know. It helps to have some sort of direction or idea. But you don’t have to have this road map of the next five years of your life. You don’t have to have your major picked before you step through the doors of your college. You don’t have to have this dream job set in your mind as you walk across the graduation stage. You don’t even have to know what you’re doing when you’re out in the work force. Life is all about change and all about the pursuit of what gets you fired up. You’ll be a much happier person if you stop feeling like you need to have your sh*t together. Believe me, most people don’t. They just put on a good face and keep on keepin’ on.
#4: Thinking you should be in love
Love. What a strange concept. Just like happiness, we’re all trying to pursue this one. Sometimes we even make it more of priority than finding ourselves (this is a definite no-no, by the way). Our biggest road-block to happiness? Thinking we should be in this beautiful, romantic relationship complete with candlelight dinners, honeymoons to Hawaii, and pet names.
For those of us that find it? Kudos. Round of applause. Que the fireworks and bouquets of flowers. But for the majority of us—we’re not going to find it right away. It’s going to take time. (And maybe some dating apps) Point is, stop chasing this unrealistic idea of love and live your life.
#5: Feeling like your life should be perfect
PSA: Your life is not a movie. Unless you’re thinking a dramatic afternoon soap where things go incredibly wrong 80% of the time and people cry a lot. That’s more like it.
Where most of us go wrong on the happiness-chase? Thinking that our lives should be this wonderful romantic comedy where nothing goes wrong and all the loose ends get tied up in a little box with a ribbon. But that’s not life. To be blunt, life sucks. But the good thing is, everyone’s going through it around you. And it will get better. And then worse. And then better. And it will move in this cycle, so in the process stop thinking everything will be perfect. Hold on to the good, get rid of the bad. And by doing those few simple things, you will be a happier person.
Photo Credits: Psychology Today, The Mind Unleashed, BuzzFeed, Wedding Club, The Barbisms.