The adage “happiness is what you make it,” is often thrown around when people feel down, as if a simple platitude could rewire our brains to forget years of self-doubt and depression. However, as easy as it may feel to reject this ideology, it has taken me 24 years to finally agree that there is something to be said about crafting your own joy. We all live in a society where our phones are glued to our bodies and we’re unable to go an hour without being reminded just how much our peers are “crushing it” on all our social media channels.
As naturally self-indulgent animals, humans tend to destroy their own happiness out of fear that they’re not reaching their full potential. And while this may seem natural to analyze your life in hopes of improvement, what we’re actually doing is pushing down our joy and allowing our doubts to snuff it out. Below are 6 small ways you’re destroying your own happiness without even realizing it. The sooner you’re able to recognize these thought patterns, the sooner you’ll be able to break these habits and reestablish your own life story filled with smiles and laughter.
Stop Comparing Yourself
Comparison is the thief of joy, just ask Mary Kate and Ashley. When we compare ourselves to others we’re actively seeking out our shortcomings; and most of the time they’re not even shortcomings! In order to stay happy we need to be able to look in the mirror and only focus on improving what we already have. Looking at hot girls on Instagram isn’t going to change you into a blonde bomb-shell with 6-pack abs, it will only make you realize you don’t have those things and force you into a shame spiral that you don’t deserve.
Stop Looking in the Past
We often look to our past in order to mine some lessons from all the pain we’ve been through. And while this can be beneficial at times, we as humans tend to linger on our past far too long than what is healthy for us. Owing to social media, we’re constantly being reminded of our past lives. Maybe we blame ourselves for a relationship gone sour, or a friendship deteriorating, but holding onto the shame of the past is poisoning our now. You weren’t the same person you were 5 minutes ago even, so stop caring about who you were a month or years ago.
Stop Looking in the Future
Furthermore we have a tendency to forget to live in the now. We get so caught up trying to plan years in advance that we forget to value the amazing things happening right now in front of our very eyes. Practicing mindfulness and being in the moment is key to finding your own joy. What happens next week is just that, what is happening next week. We must challenge ourselves to stop planning so far in advanced that we forget to enjoy what we’re experiencing.
Stop Allowing Your Value to be Decided by Others
Social media may be the root of all evil, you’ve heard it here first! While we often turn to social media to feel validation, but what we’re forgetting is that by equating our self worth to likes and comments that we’re giving everyone (including strangers) power over our self worth. When someone who likes your profile picture cares for you and takes you out to dinner then we can talk! but until then we have to stop allowing ourselves to feel down when that selfie didn’t get as many likes as we think it would. Those fleeting validations will only leave us empty and craving more.
Stop Talking Bad About Yourself
Whenever you get the urge to say something bad about yourself remind yourself that you shouldn’t talk about your friends that way. Yes, I do mean I want you to begin treating yourself as if you’re your own friend. We have to be kind to ourselves because it is very easy to forget that we’re going to have to live with ourselves for the rest of our lives, so why aren’t we the kindest to ourselves?
Not Focusing Internally
If you’re focusing more on your looks and material possessions then you’re sabotaging your own happiness and seriously stunting your own growth. Sure, sometimes material things can be nice to have, but we need to be focusing on cultivating our sense of self and our interests in order to be a well-rounded person. When you’re happy with who you are, having brand new clothes every month will somehow seem banal.
Listen to the Universe
This sounds very new-age-y and maybe it is, but I’ve learned that the universe gives us all the keys to our own happiness if we only open our eyes to it. We have a tendency to write off signs as coincidental, but in actuality it is our destiny to follow these signs. As scary as it may be to give into what life has in store for you, the moment you do things begin to fall into place.