People usually blame their circumstances (or other people) for their depression and unhappiness, and tend to overlook what they are doing to make their lives miserable. It’s a common tendency, to blame someone or something else, but it makes a lot more sense to be aware of the habits you’re holding on to – it just may be that they’re the reason why you don’t feel as happy as you’d like.
Let’s review some of them and see how they can influence your mood and your sense of self esteem.
Holding on to past or living in the future
This are the two sides of same coin.
Reviving past events all the time or letting them influence your life in any way does the same thing as constantly waiting for something to happen in order to be happier: these habits distract you from experiencing the present moment and the life that’s passing you by right now.
Becoming attached to the painful emotions from the past makes your present moment miserable too, and waiting for the bright future makes you overlook it altogether. And still, this moment right now is all you have. Unless you learn to detach yourself from the painful past or imagined future, you will get stuck and unable to properly live any of your moments.
The first step to overcoming this habit is to try to be present in this moment that’s happening right now as much as you can during the day. Don’t let your thoughts wander off while you’re washing your hands or doing something else that doesn’t require you to be fully present – make it a priority to focus on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling right now.
It may be a slow start, but eventually this new habit will open you up for some really exciting moments, which you might miss if you don’t allow yourself to fully experience them.
Letting fear of “what will they say” limit your options
If you worry too much about what people might think about something you say or do, you can become less open to trying new things – and to growing. You want to do something you haven’t done before, but you stop yourself, thinking about how people around you would react to it. You don’t even give them the possibility to surprise you and perhaps approve what you did, no, you’ve decided for yourself that you’ll be judged.
And you – well, people usually do – blame others for limiting their dreams.
This way you’re depriving yourself from the chance to grow. If you do all the same things your entire life, how can you be better, how can you learn something new, how can you feel that excitement you’ve been longing for?
Fortunately or not, this “fear” comes mostly from believing that the world revolves around us and that people actually care about what we do. Well, they don’t. They have their hands full with their own lives, and even if they do comment on something you do, for them it’s a casual thing, a tiny frame in the episode of their life. To you it’s huge. So why bother with what others think?
Just do what you want to do.
Nothing less than perfection?
Do you really need to aim for perfection to be happy? No good enough, no decent? Does everything have to be done in a perfect way and with perfect results?
Reality check: you’re setting the bar too high, above the human level, and guess what – that’s one of the primary causes of low self-esteem. Unless you’re perfect, you’re never good enough in your own eyes.
Ditch the perfectionism! Good enough is good enough and, unlike with “perfect”, you will actually finish something. There is such thing as good enough, so aim for that and enjoy the results!
Nurturing negativity in your life
Negativity comes from two main sources: from people you’re interacting with, and from you focusing too much on the negative things in your life.
Some people deeply believe that life is meant to be difficult and unhappy, and they can’t help but see it through this prism. Everything is potentially dangerous, there are limits to whatever you can think of, fear is a necessity.
If you spend too much time with them, this can easily influence your attitude as well. So choose carefully who you’re spending your time with, what you read and watch on TV. Aim for inspirational people and books, those that expand your world instead of limiting it.
If you have already given in and you too are looking thinks from the negative perspective, it will be a bit more difficult, but that’s another habit you need to lose in order to be happy. Try to accept things as they are, without resisting them or dwelling on them. It’s just the way it is right now, but detach yourself emotionally from the situation.
Situations change, that’s the beauty of life. Accept and enjoy it as much as you can!