If you want to learn how to live a healthier and more fulfilled life, my advice is to always try to stay away from those very common beliefs of unhappy people, so they won’t be able to affect your happiness. You all know how much your thoughts influence your behavior and especially your feelings, and that the primary cause of unhappiness is not a certain situation but your perspective on it. Well, “negative beliefs act like a filter,” and they influence the way you experience certain events or deal with certain people. However, once you manage to recognize them, you’ll be able to do everything in your power to chase them away, so they won’t affect your happiness anymore. Here are 13 of the most common beliefs of unhappy people that can limit your potential for happiness, beliefs you should try to stay far away from:
1. “Everything Needs to Be Perfect.”
In my opinion, this is one of the most common beliefs of unhappy people that could really affect your well-being if you don’t do something to remove it from your thinking pattern. Not everything needs to be perfect in order for you to be happy! Actually, things will never be perfect, because there is no such thing as perfection; it’s a utopic construct that can only put a lot of pressure on you. Try to work as hard as you can for any given task and enjoy the results!
2. “Things Are Either Black or White.”
Things are never either black or white, just like people aren’t always good or bad. It’s good to have certain expectations sometimes in order to motivate yourself to reach all your goals, just pay attention for those unrealistic ones that could really set you up for disappointment. Everyone has qualities and flaws, just like you. No one and nothing is perfect and contradictions are a part of life. Don’t let these limiting beliefs interfere with your happiness! Try to accept things just the way they are and be grateful for everything you have!
3. “I Know What Other People Think about Me.”
No one can read minds, so you can’t possibly know what other people think about you unless you ask what’s really on their minds. Don’t judge people based on your assumptions, because you might be wrong most of the time. You could really make yourself feel unhappy by focusing on the negative things that you think people are saying behind your back. If some things are unclear to you, just go and talk to that person and clarify them. There’s no point in being upset over something you’re not sure about.
4. “I Must Please Everyone.”
The thought that you should always try to please everyone could really affect your happiness, especially if you neglect your needs in order to focus on everyone else’s. If someone doesn’t like you, there’s nothing wrong with you, it doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be happy! Not everyone will like you, no matter what you do or how you behave. Even you might not like certain people without having any particular reasons for feeling this way. Don’t waste all your efforts on pleasing everybody else; start thinking about your own happiness, because there are times where your needs should come first!
5. “Happiness Belongs Only to the People Who Are Really Lucky.”
You don’t need to be really lucky in order to be happy! Of course, a little luck is always welcomed but you shouldn’t let this false belief affect your well-being. Even though some people seem to be luckier than others, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to reach our goals if we still work hard enough. You can fulfill all your dreams as long as you believe in yourself and of course, as long as you are willing to compromise and work hard enough in order to accomplish your objectives. Happiness doesn’t belong only to the lucky people, and just like this quote states, “The sooner we recognize that good fortune is rarely due to chance, the sooner we can start taking small steps towards our own good fortune.”
6. “Nobody Really Understands Me.”
I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this belief that can really sabotage your happiness if you allow it to do so. Every time we feel a little bit blue or we have to face all kinds of challenges, we tend to think that we are all alone and that nobody will ever understand us, so they won’t offer us the support we need to overcome all the obstacles that stand in the way of our happiness. Well, have you ever tried to tell someone how you are feeling instead of expecting them to read your mind? Even though we are different, we do experience the same things. We can be empathetic and we can understand how somebody else is feeling in a certain situation. Even if you might be feeling vulnerable by being more open, it’s the easiest way to learn how to be happier, because the sooner you grant people access to you thoughts, the better you will feel by having their full support.
7. “I’ll Be Happy when…”
The biggest mistake most people make when trying to live a happier and more fulfilled life is the fact that they postpone their happiness for a time when they reach all their goals and fulfill all their dreams. This is just a dysfunctional belief that can seriously alter your happiness. Start living in the present and enjoy the things you have right now! It’s good to have objectives, just don’t neglect the wonderful things that happen to you in the present by focusing too much on your future. Be grateful for what you have and learn to enjoy the little things in life, because they are the ones that matter the most!
8. "Nothing Ever Works out for Me."
As cliche as it may sound, everything happens for a reason. You might be at your all time low right now, but life has its course and you will soon be able to appreciate the good that comes into your life on a whole another level. While some things do not seem to be working out for you, don't give up. Persistence is the key! You know what they say 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.' So don't condemn yourself for not pulling through at the right moments, with time and patience, life will turn around for the good.
9. "i Am Not as Good as Everyone else."
One of the worst things you can do is compare yourself to somebody else. Everybody evolves at a different pace, everyone is at different points in their life. Your life story is completely unlike any other! Yes, it is always inspiring to look up to a role model but you should just leave it at that instead of scrutinizing yourself for not being enough. Just try to outdo yourself, do better than before and try harder than last time. Your personal progress is what matters! Soon enough you will feel comfortable about yourself to the point when you stop caring how everyone else is doing and just focus on your own self-improvement.
10. "Control is Essential."
While having control over your life is significant, sometimes it is healthy to let things pan out the way they are meant to. Personally I can sometimes be a control freak, everything has to go the way I planned it and if it doesn't, I need to fix it. However over the past years, I have learned that loosening the reigns over certain events in your life, will not only save you hours of stress and clumps of hair, but it can help you become a much happier person. So give it a shot, let your life get a little our of control, give yourself some room for chaos, because you can't possibly control everything!
11. "Money is What Matters."
I do believe that money can buy you happiness in a form of cupcakes and flowers, but it can't buy you love, loyalty and support. Money is not something that is essential for feeling complete. People oftentimes form this tunnel vision focused on wealth that they forget about friendships, love and trust. They step over the boundaries and become oblivious to what really matters. They are suddenly not afraid of the casualties that they can be responsible for. So although everyone should be striving to become successful and work to support their family, let's just remember what really matters in the end.
12. "my past Will Always Haunt Me."
Many people have this immutable idea that their past will always define who they are. Although in some aspects that is true, you are not the same person that you were years back. If your are trying to start with a fresh slate and create a better life for yourself, your past should not be something to be worried about. You have learned from your past mistakes and came to face the consequences, you earned this life-learning experience that most people never get to experience. So take it as an advantage and use it to propel yourself forward.
13. "I Don't Think I Have What It Takes to Reach My Dream."
Dreaming about the impossible has never hurt anyone, it only gave them the drive and ambition to do better. So don't be afraid to strive for that crazy dream of yours, nobody has the right to tell you to do otherwise. Once you take a risk and do things just to see what happens, you will find out that maybe that goal that seemed completely unattainable years ago, is now in your reach. Try to never doubt yourself and put limits on what you can and cannot do. You really are capable of doing almost anything, if you put your mind to it. Don't let yourself stand in your way!
Sometimes it can be quite hard to stay away from those irrational beliefs that can really affect your happiness, but once you manage to recognize them, you’ll be able to prevent them from interfering with your well-being. Do you know any other dysfunctional beliefs of unhappy people that everyone should stay away from? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
Written in collaboration with editor Vladlena Lee.