Are you happy? Most of us want to be, but your nature to demand a lot from yourself, and sacrifice sleep to fulfill one more obligation may be sucking the joy out of the room.
Happiness is often connected to achievement- with financial, family, and career ranking high on the list. The assumption is often with success you will automatically become happier. As we’ve seen recently with the decisions of Naomi Osaka, success does not guarantee lasting happiness. Work hard, do [exceptionally] well, and feel good, is a faulty equation, yet, we continue to pursue it.
Think about it, you probably got the most praise in life when you did something great like excel at a sport, graduate from school, got that promotion or got married, had kids, and found your white picket fence. Or maybe you remember the disappointment or shame you felt when you did not meet the expectations of others, like being asked why you aren’t married with kids at 38, or in need of a mental health day. Which experience do you avoid like the plague?
This is the beginnings of achievement equating to contentment, and our natural response to seek what feels good or conditional happiness.
Take a second and swallow that pill.
Conditional happiness is based on external circumstances and events, and how you decide to respond. A response that desperately seeks to avoid discomfort by searching for external validation, attention, and general feel-good moments that cannot be sustained.
Why? Because life and people are unpredictable.
The one predictable thing you have control over is you, but you might be what’s getting in the way of your happiness.
I often bear witness to this as I listen to my clients articulate how hard they push themselves to be what someone else wants them to be, and although successful, it comes with busy minds that won’t shut off, deep self-criticism, and unhappiness. Sound familiar?
Are you looking for more happiness daily? If the answer is YES, book a 15-minute complimentary session with me to find out how I can help YOU.
Let’s take a look at how else your response and reactions may be getting in the way of your success.
Five Things Getting in The Way of Your Happiness
This emotion is a significant barrier to happiness. Fear is a sign that your mind believes something is wrong, and we often think that something is wrong with us. This kind of unrest creates a thick fog between you and the possibility of happiness. You end up questioning whether you’re really good enough to be where you are, tend to over-analyze for days, and second guess yourself.
It’s important to address issues that cause feelings of fear and resolve them. There’s no room for happiness where fear resides.
2. You Pick Yourself Last for Your Own Team
You’ve spent so much of your life trying to hit all the right milestones, and making everyone else comfortable and not rock the boat, that you forgot to get out of the boat and enjoy the swim. All your decisions have been based on what would make other people happy, or even successful and to do that you’ve turned your needs, wants and voice so far down that you no longer know what defines you.
Who would you be if you took all of those roles and titles away (Manager, Wife, Mom, Doctor, CEO, Professor, The Go to Best Friend, Problem Solver)? The thought of what life may be without the title may provoke some natural discomfort, but the only authentic way out of this dilemma is to start to shift the focus from what has defined you, to find who you are.
Start with asking yourself how do you want to be defined? Explore what you enjoy, what makes you happy. Take a look at your calendar and see where you could plug in more time to discover you.
3. Feeling Undervalued
When you feel that your time, effort, and contribution to the world lack value, you’ll find happiness to be elusive. It’s draining to be in relationships that take more from you than they give. It’s time to figure out why you’re still there and what you may still need to learn as you work on your exit strategy.
Some thinking is useful, like learning from mistakes or making plans for the future. Most thinking is not, such as daydreaming about how you could quit your job today, reliving arguments, replaying choices you’ve made- thinking about what else you could have done or said, or putting off working on projects that really matter. To experience a more fulfilling life, try paying attention to not only your feelings, but also to your thoughts. Your thoughts contribute to how you feel; feelings contribute to how your respond (or don’t respond).
The beauty of your thinking is there are ways to learn to get out of your head and prioritize what’s on your mind.
When unhelpful thoughts accumulate in your mind, along with feelings like anger, hurt, disappointment and shame, it not only impacts how you show up in the world- but it can also trigger larger problems like anxiety, stress, and depression. Anxiety and depression struggle to coexist with happiness.
Determine the thoughts, behaviors and actions you can control in your life, and do your best to work on that.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle in your life is, well, you. To build a life that supports happiness you have to work on the place where most of these obstacles reside, within your mind. Take the time to learn new approaches to cultivate and use your mental muscle in a way that works for you. With practice, intention, and strategy you can let go of self-criticism, overcome your need for control, navigate disappointment and find balance. . .maybe even happiness.
“Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.”
– William E. Gladstone
How do you prioritize your happiness?
I hope this post has given you some insights into yourself, so you can work on changing the particular reactions and patterns that get in the way of you living your best life. You deserve to be happy. I would love to hear in the comments how you prioritize happiness. For some of us, that means gently unpacking what hasn’t worked and trying on something new.
If you want to take action now, in a meaningful way (beyond spa dates, and affirmations) try our Performance Academy with a few key tasks and the right amount of accountability to move you to calm, confident, and content.
Hi, I’m Amanda Fludd. I’m here to help you get out of your head so you can stress less and focus on your success.