“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Circumstances can certainly make life unhappy. But a part – often a big part – of unhappiness comes from our own thinking, behavior and habits.
1. Aiming for perfection.
Does life has to be perfect before you are happy?
Do you have to behave in a perfect way and get perfect results to be happy?
Then happiness will not be easy to find. Setting the bar for your performance at an inhuman level usually leads to low self-esteem and feeling like you are not good enough even though you may have had a lot of good or excellent results. You and what you do is never enough good enough except maybe once in a while when feels like something goes just perfect.
How to overcome this habit:
Three things that helped me to kick the perfectionism habit and become more relaxed:
- Go for good enough. Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else never being finished. So go for good enough instead. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there then you are finished with whatever you are doing.
- Have a deadline. I set deadlines every time that start with a new premium guide. Because about a year ago, when I was working on my second e-book, I realized that just working on it and releasing it when it was done would not work. Because I could always find stuff to add to it. So I had to set a deadline. Setting a deadline gave me a kick in the butt and it is generally good way to help you to let go of a need to polish things a bit too much.
- Realize what it costs you when you buy into myths of perfection. This was a very powerful reason for me to let go of perfectionism and one I tell myself still if I find thoughts of perfection pop up in my mind. By watching too many movies, listening to too many songs and just taking in what the world is telling you it is very easy to be lulled into dreams of perfection. It sounds so good and wonderful and you want it.
But in real life it clashes with reality and tends to cause much suffering and stress within you and in the people around you. It can harm or possibly lead you to end relationships, jobs, projects etc. just because your expectations are out of this world.
2. Living in a sea of negative voices.
No one is an island. Who we socialize with, what we read, watch and listen to has big effect on how we feel and think.
It becomes a lot harder to be happier if you let yourself be dragged down by negative voices. Voices that tell you that life will in large part always be unhappy, dangerous and filled with fear and limits. Voices that watch life from a negative perspective.
How to overcome this habit:
Replacing those negative voices with more positive influences is very powerful. It can be like a whole new world opening up.
So spend more time with positive people, inspiring music and books, movies and TV-shows that make you laugh and think about life in a new way.
You can start small. For example, try reading an uplifting blog or book or listen to an audiobook while eating your breakfast one morning this week instead of reading the paper or watching the morning news on TV.