Do you sometimes wonder if you’ll ever be happy?
I mean truly happy, not just a few moments of weak sunshine in between a lifetime of gray skies.
I did. Often, my day would start out sunny, but invariably something would cloud my mood, and my happiness would sink before it had even properly risen.
Back then, true happiness, lasting happiness, seemed like a dream.
After all, how could you ever be truly happy when life tosses you around like a leaf in a storm, forever snatching happiness out of your hands?
But I came to realize that perhaps life wasn’t responsible for my woes. Perhaps I was the instrument of my own unhappiness. Perhaps nothing would change unless I took responsibility for my own life.
So I learned how to read the warning signs, the signs that told me I would never be happy if I carried on thinking and acting a certain way.
And eventually, I learned that my happiness depended on me and that I could make my own blue skies.
And you can too.
Related Read: Transform Your Life to Be Happy in 17 Simple Steps
An Overview of Contents
9 Things You Do That Make You Unhappy
To secure your happiness, you need to start by recognizing these warning signs:
1. You’re Trying to Make Your Parents Proud
They may mean the world to you, but you’re not them, and they certainly aren’t you. Trying to live your life to please your parents is as poor an idea as trying to get them to change their expectations of what you should do with your life.
Basing your happiness on the approval of others, however much you may love them, is a sure path to unhappiness.
Instead, concentrate on living your life to please the only person whose approval you can’t be happy without – you.
“What you think of yourself is much more important than what other people think of you.” – Seneca
2. You Let Your Career Decide Your Worth
We all need to work for a living, and often that means we rely on someone else recognizing our worth, acknowledging it, and rewarding us. That’s how we advance in our careers, which is fine.
However, basing your happiness on that external validation is a sure warning sign that you’re letting someone else decide your value.
Instead, celebrate promotions when you get them, but don’t let it get you down when someone else gets them instead. Base your happiness on your own recognition of your value.
Promote yourself, and in your mind, choose your own title to hang on your door: CEO of happiness, successful parent, loving friend, compassionate human being; you choose.
“If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.” – unknown
3. You Expect Your Partner To be Perfect
There really is no such thing as perfect because perfect means without flaws, and as human beings, we are all flawed. And that includes your partner and you.
Basing your happiness on finding your perfect partner – or your present partner ever living up to your ideal of perfect – is like canceling a picnic because of one tiny cloud in a blue sky. Your happiness and that picnic will simply never happen.
Instead, forget the notion of flaws to start with.
What you see as your partner’s flaws are just the characteristics that make them who they are. And the truth is, trying to change someone else in a relationship is like trying to change the weather; just because you’re in it doesn’t mean you can control it.
Instead, concentrate on embracing your partner and all his or her characteristics and habits as you would want them to do for you.
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love“ – Tom Robbins
4. You Want More Money
Life’s easier with enough money, for sure. But how much is enough? How much is too much?
The more you earn, the more you tend to spend.
And anyway, basing your happiness on how much you’re worth is a risky game. It can change in a day even, leaving you feeling worthless because you’re worthless.
Instead, base your happiness on your inner wealth, on your own personal worth as a human being. Riches such as creativity, generosity, and authenticity can never be taken away from you – except by you.
“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.” – Proverb
5. You Think You Need More Friends
It feels great to be validated; that makes you normal. We all want others to say, “I like you.” But basing your happiness on how many friends you have online, or offline, is a clear warning sign that you’re concentrating on the wrong marker.
It’s not how many friends you have that counts but rather how many prove to be loyal friends.
So base your happiness on the quality, not the quantity of your friends – those who love you and stick with you through the sunshine and the rain.
“If you have one true friend you have more than your share.” – Thomas Fuller
6. You’re Waiting For That Apology
Others can trample on your feelings with just a few harsh words, a single selfish act, or even a disparaging look. And it stings, sometimes to the point of distraction. You may believe they owe you an apology, for sure, but they may not feel the same.
And even if they do apologize, would it be sincere?
Base your happiness on forgiveness instead. No one can stop you forgiving them. No one can stop you moving on with your life and replacing anger with peace.
This doesn’t mean that you condone someone else’s bad behavior or that you let them back into your life if you have distanced yourself from them. What it does do is allows you to get on with your life without your mind and happiness being taken up with them and their past actions.
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” – Robert Brault
7. You’re Fixating On Future Results
It’s true that reaching a goal, particularly a major one, produces a peak in your happiness. But it’s often just as soon gone. We tend to get used to things quickly, so the novelty of a promotion or a new toy quickly wears off, and we return to our previous level of happiness.
Also having striven so long for that goal, we often feel a sense of emptiness and lack of focus in our lives after achieving it.
And the reality is, you may very well never achieve it. Too many factors in life are simply outside your control.
Which doesn’t mean setting goals is bad; they help us focus and grow. But base your happiness on taking action toward those goals, not on attaining them. Then, if you fail to reach your goal, your happiness won’t suffer.
“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”- Dennis Wholey
8. You Feel Sorry For Yourself
As I said, life isn’t all sunshine. Bad things happen – illness, relationship breakups, redundancy – some of these things are undeniably going to batter your happiness hard. But how hard is up to you.
Rather than feeling sorry for yourself and getting caught in a spiral of negativity, base your happiness on tackling those things within your control.
Look for ways you can mitigate or even reverse your unhappy situation.
It’s certainly not always easy, but by accepting responsibility for your life rather than wallowing in self-pity, you can move on and regain your positivity and happiness.
“Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” – Helen Keller
9. You Put Happiness Off Until Tomorrow
Most of us have a streak of procrastination in our basic character. We put off filing our tax returns, replying to that awkward email, or deciding to start that diet until the last minute. We put stuff off until tomorrow and beyond as if magically it will be easier then.
And we mistakenly do the same with our happiness.
Instead, base your happiness on today. The only time you can actually experience the feeling of happiness is in the present. The past is gone and cannot be changed, and the future is uncertain.
Now is the only time you are actually alive, can act, and can decide to be happy.
True, Lasting Happiness is Waiting for You
Making happiness more than a fleeting feeling can seem impossible, especially if you feel helpless and caught in one of the life’s storms, but you can do it.
Recognizing these warning signs will get you started on the road to real happiness. Avoiding them will brighten your skies.
Happiness, like all good habits, needs time to build. Learn to avoid these warning signs, and although the wind may rattle your happiness, it won’t be able to tear it down.
Weather-proof your happiness, and go make your own blue skies.
Over To You –
Do you exhibit any of these warning signs? And how do you counteract them? Please share your tips and thoughts in the comments below.
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.