What if I told you that there is only one person in this world who can hold you back from being truly happy? This person is that powerful. This person has all the capabilities and all the resources needed to prevent you from the happiness that you deserve.
Who is this person? Is this person a member of some sort of organization? Is this person in possession of some sort of technology? Does this person have some special skills or training that enable them to make you miserable at the drop of a hat?
Well, here's a hint. This person spells his or her name this way: Y-O-U.
That's right. You're the only person in this world who can prevent yourself from being happy, content and fulfilled. Maybe you're doing it right now. As you read this, you're holding yourself back.
If you're still unclear, here are 5 ways you might be sabotaging yourself from being truly happy.
You Wait for Certain Things to Happen Before You Decide to Be Happy
Have you ever thought that, if something happens, then you will be happy? Or if you buy this thing, then you will be truly happy? Or if you meet this person, then you know you will be truly happy?
Come on, you can be honest. You can say it. There's nobody looking at you as you read this.
Here's the spoiler, all of us have thought along these lines at some time or another. It's very easy to fall into this trap. Unfortunately, if this becomes a habit, happiness becomes very rare indeed.
Instead, we're always searching. We're always desperately collecting things, hoarding, grasping, trying to get people into our lives. We become really hungry. But the more we eat, the hungrier we become.
It really is quite sad because we feel that we have to wait and wait and wait for things to be just perfect. We have to work in the meantime to make that happen.
But little do we know, it's already right here, right now, in front of our noses. Sadly, we refuse to see it.
You Believe Possessions Make You Happy
Do you believe that when somebody pulls up in a $100,000 car right next to somebody with a $5,000 car that the person in the more affordable car is, somehow, some way, inferior to the person in a more expensive car? Again, feel free to be honest.
In our Western culture, there is an unstated assumption that you are what you consume. In other words, we have completely blurred the lines and have completely forgotten the distinction between price and value.
Automatically, we assume that if something costs $500,000, then somebody who possesses that is in a much better position and is a more worthy person than the person who can afford much less.
Now, we could all agree that that person is in a better position because hey, it takes quite a bit of income power to afford something at $500,000. No debates there. But it's the second assumption that is really dangerous and troublesome.
You can't automatically assume that just because somebody can afford something that's expensive that this person is more worthy, more valuable, more deserving of your respect, more deserving of your love.
But sadly, the distinction starts to fade. Because the more we focus on the price of things and lose sight of their value, we start believing that possessions make us worthy, and by extension, make us happy.
In fact, according to a fairly recent psychological research study, people do attain a sense of happiness when they buy stuff. But here's the twist – it doesn't last all that long.
Also, the more they buy, for happiness or for fulfillment, the shorter and shorter the duration of the good feelings. Something to think about.
You Let Others Define Happiness For You
If you watch a lot of movies, if you read a lot of ads, or if you pay attention to gossip columnists or read a lot of opinion articles, it's very easy to be influenced. It's very easy for people who you think you respect and admire to basically call the shots as far as your values are concerned. Soon enough, you start looking at the world through their lenses.
We tend to do this with our parents. And while they intend the very best for us, ultimately, they define happiness for us. And that's the problem. You have to define it yourself. You have to make your way.
Sadly, we often live lives on autopilot and we never bother to stop and realize that we're not really living our lives. Instead, we're living our lives based on other people's expectations. It's as if we're just going through the motions.
Then you wonder why you're not happy? Then you have the nerve to complain that you're not fulfilled? Well, pay attention to the pattern that you have selected for yourself because it is a choice.
You Think Happiness Happens to You
As the old saying goes, there are two types of people: people who make things happen, and people who sit around and ask “what happened?” Which one are you?
Well, if you think happiness happens to you, you know which one you are. And that's a problem.
You have to understand that happiness and fulfillment are choices. In other words, you have to take the initiative. You have to call the shots. You have to make the decisions.
It's not something that somebody hands over to you. It's not something that somebody owes you. It doesn't work that way. It doesn't come from outside of you, ultimately. It's your choice.
In fact, the psychotherapist Victor Frankel wrote an amazing book where he found a sense of meaning and peace, even though he was in a concentration camp. Something to think about.
You Refuse to Enjoy the Things Going Right in Your Life
If you are not careful, you will develop a habit where you don't really focus on the things that are going right. You don't focus on the reality that you have a roof over your head, there's food on the table, nobody breaks into your front door to rob, steal, burn, rape and kill.
Instead, you focus on the stuff that's missing. Maybe you're not a member of a club. Maybe your car is 12 years old. Whatever the case may be, you focus on the stuff that is missing, and that's where you feel your happiness comes from.
Understand how this works because this is a choice.
Are You Tired of Making the Wrong Choices that Keep You From Being Happy?
If any of the discussions above apply to you, it really all boils down to the choices you are making.
I've got some great news. You don't have to ride that train. You don't have to wake up day after day and make the same decisions that you did the previous day that made you less than truly happy. You can do something about it.
The best part? You are fully in control of this decision. You already have the answers locked within your mind. You only need to commit to unlocking it.
This doesn't involve drugs, this doesn't involve any sort of religion, mysticism or philosophy, nor does it involve some sort of cult mental control. Forget all about that. Instead, it involves your choices in the here and now.
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