6 Habits That Keep You From Being Happy

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Have you been feeling as if you’d never be happy? Have you been yearning for happiness all your life, and it seems that you just can’t reach that state?

Now, have you ever thought that perhaps, you are part of the reason you are unhappy? Perhaps, you have some of these habits that keep you from being happy.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

I am the first to admit, however, that it’s easier said than done. You make up your mind to be happy, and yet external circumstances do affect how you feel. Our thoughts may not be under our control, which can ultimately lead to unhappiness.

What I can suggest is to examine yourself, your habits, and thinking patterns. Here are six habits that keep you from being happy, and if you find yourself having at least one of them, then you know what you need to do!

1. Holding on to the past.

There’s this movement about living in the present, appreciating every single thing that is happening to you right at the moment. It is the complete opposite of living in the past, or holding on to memories that do not help you appreciate what you have today.

The past happened, sure. It has its effects on you – both positive and negative, but it does not do you any good to dwell on the negative effects. The past is over. You cannot change it, and you cannot totally forget how it may have scarred you.

If you do want to be happy today, though, then you have to try to overcome the negative effects of your past and not keep thinking about the horrible things that have happened to you. All of us have a past, and yet the happy people do not hold on to that past.

Do you want to be happy? Stop holding on to the past and think about what makes you happy NOW.

2. Waiting for the perfect time.

There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection. There is nothing wrong with waiting. Sometimes, though, if you keep waiting for the perfect time to do something, you’ll end up waiting forever.

What is that one (or two, or three) thing that you have always wanted to do, and yet have not done because you’ve been “waiting for the perfect time”? Make the decision to do it. Set a time limit or a schedule, and just do it.

You might be surprised that you can make any time the perfect time if only make a decision.

3. Always putting the blame on others.

habits that keep you from being happy

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Be totally honest with yourself. What are the things that are making you unhappy? Problems at work? Your relationship? Your finances?

Who/what do you think is responsible for these “unhappiness causes”?

If you’re always finding someone or something else responsible, then maybe it’s time to sit back and really think about things. It’s time to admit that you are actually responsible for the things that happen in your life – or at least how you react to some things – and that blaming others will get you nowhere.

Once you have accepted responsibility, you can actually do something about your situation. You’re not happy? Take charge of your happiness and stop blaming others.

4. Allowing fear to hold you back.

“Fear is the mindkiller.”

That’s probably my favorite quote ever, and it’s from the fantasy classic “Dune” by Frank Herbert. It is very true in my life, which I have to admit is rife with fear; something which I have been working on.

All those times I have allowed fear to control me, I have been unhappier than I have ever been. Fear is very much real, and don’t look down on yourself for feeling it; but if you want to have a chance at happiness, you should put fear in its place – behind you. Take that step forward, and don’t let your fear(s) hold you back from doing something that you believe is true or right.

Try it with little things. For example, if you have this fear of being alone eating at a restaurant, why don’t you try doing it this weekend? Choose a place which you’re comfortable going to, and conquer this fear.

Little by little, you can get over those fears and before you know it, you’ll be doing things you used to be afraid of AND you’ll be happy while doing them.

5. Caring too much about what others might think.

To a certain degree, we all care about what others think. And that’s good. In a way, the opinion of others – especially those whom we love and respect – helps us stay on the right track.

However, if you’re making decisions and doing things because you think that’s what this person or that person will think is right all the time, STOP. You are not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations.

It’s your life. Don’t care too much what other people will say as long as you know in your heart it’s what you want and/or right for you.

6. Going for instant gratification.

This is an easy trap to fall into, what with our culture being a “want now!” one. We have instant noodles, instant rice, movies on demand, and instant everything!

In terms of being happy, we have these little habits that give us instant gratification, fooling us into thinking that we’re happy. The next day (or maybe even only hours later), we fall back into the good, old unhappy rut.

Think: retail therapy, binging on food, and drinking yourself to sleep.

These are all temporary things that give instant gratification, but have no lasting positive effect. If you see this pattern in your life, and you want to be happy now – and for the long-term – then it’s time that you stop indulging yourself all the time.

Do you have any of these habits that are keeping you from being happy? It’s time to let them go, and form new habits!

Here’s another good read on happiness:

What a Desolate Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Taught Me About Happiness

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