Everyone wants to be happy, but are you happy…I mean really happy…inside?
In a perfect world we would think about what we could let go of so we could be happy. But let’s be real, the human tendency is to prioritize it this way…what we need more of to be happy. ‘If only I had this, or when this happens I will be so much happier.’
I get that “happiness is an inside job” can sound cliche but it is a very real and honest statement. But before we even start to work on the inside job of finding and expanding our happiness, we have to let go of some things. Instead of clinging to things that do us no good and even cause us pain, stress, and suffering, we have to clear the way for true happiness to flow freely.
All of us can benefit from friendly reminders and this is one of those days where I could use some extra support and adjustment in my thinking which I will do by revisiting one of my favorite books again (The Fifth Agreement) along with this: a friendly reminder from myself to myself and from me to you, my friends that might need the same.
Here are some things to give up if you want to be (fully) happy:
1. Give up taking peoples opinions personally
Let go of your reputation, trying to impress and please everyone, and what people think of you. We are inundated with family, friends, bosses, media, and government expectations and opinions of us and how we should or shouldn’t live our lives. Remember that most of the time what other people say to you or about you has nothing to do with you, it’s usually a reflection of themselves. Live your life, not someone else’s version, and work on making your own opinion of you a great one. Glean what you can from positive opinions and feedback and let go of the rest.
2. Give up making assumptions
This alone can completely change your life. Letting go of assumptions and finding the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want opens the door to clear communication with others so that misunderstandings, sadness, needless suffering, and drama can be avoided.
3. Give up self defeating beliefs, talk, and comparing yourself to other people
Kindness toward yourself goes the distance. Let go of talking yourself into the tiny corner of your mind that says your not pretty enough, not good enough, not smart enough, not lucky enough, etc. Stop judging your success based on how many things you have, or where you are in life compared to other people.”Keeping up with the Joneses” gets you just that, but then what? A world full of only Joneses seems pretty blah to me. Embrace your individuality, the world needs more of it. Let go of shallow and temporary gratification and enjoy the real and lasting kind that brings true happiness instead.
4. Give up the need to complain
This is a tough one, since the need to express ourselves is an inherent human trait and every day we are surrounded by things to potentially complain about – the traffic, our jobs, our finances, negative relationships, etc., so naturally we want to say something about it. I don’t believe that holding these emotions in does us any good but I do believe in positive ways of working through them to bring yourself into a better head space. One of my favorite techniques for this is EFT or tapping (read more here).
So many times you read things that say to just think positive, and in the case of minor everyday scenarios like someone getting your order wrong, it is as simple as a quick change in your mindset to come to the bright side. Certainly, letting go of complaining allows you to see the world from a different point of view and raises your vibration to attract more of what you want. But let’s be honest, it’s not always that easy.
When it comes to more challenging obstacles like a negative relationship, it’s not always easy to switch your thinking just like that. It takes getting to the root of why you’re allowing yourself to be consumed by that energy in the first place. EFT allows you to recognize this while not judging yourself for it, and reprogram your internal dialogue to a positive energetic space, as necessary on an ongoing basis.
5. Give up the need to blame other people
Another tough one, this requires taking responsibility for how we choose to react to the thoughts and actions of others. When we’re constantly trying to find reasons and explain away why things are what they are, we often try and find fault in something or someone, which eventually turns into negativity that harms not only those around us, but also ourselves.
If you’re always thinking it’s someone else’s fault you allow yourself to become a victim of other people’s behavior, instead of seeing that everyone around us is a teacher and how we react to them is our own responsibility. If you find yourself constantly blaming others for your misfortunes or strokes of “bad luck”, you’ll find it difficult to feel genuinely happy within yourself. When we give up blame and take responsibility for our life, finding solutions to our problems becomes easier and easier and we feel more empowered each time.
6. Give up the need to always be right
We all know what it feels like to be around someone who always has to be right. I have seen too many relationships ruined over something as trivial as the need to be right. Details are details, and especially if they’re minor, ask yourself if it’s really all that important to be right. Nine times out of ten, it’s really not. And when it comes to opinions, what does right and wrong even mean?
Now I’m not saying to stifle your opinion, but forcing them on other people feeds your ego and causes you to feel blocked and restricted. When we give up the need to always be right we act from a place of acceptance, understanding, and compassion, allowing us to feel more at ease and truly happy. Letting go of the need to be right requires a level of courage to hold steadfast to your own truth without feeling the need to impose it on others, which allows you to feel more strong and peaceful from within. Plus, going back to #1, the less we enforce our opinions on others, the less likely we are to take other peoples opinions personally – it’s a win-win.
7. Give up the need to always win
If you’re spending your time constantly trying to out do everyone else, not only are you likely to burn out but you’re missing out on monumental opportunities to better yourself. Your overly competitive nature may cause you to miss out on collaborations that could contribute towards your growth, and deeper connections because people don’t always enjoy being around someone who always has to win.
Don’t forget there are lessons to be learned from being second, third, tenth best, and even losing. Letting go of the need to always win means we can spend less time trying to beat others and more time focusing on becoming better versions of ourselves, applaud the successes of others and contribute more to society as a whole.
8. Give up regrets and holding on to the past
The chains of the past can only confine you as long as you allow them. While grief and other emotions are a necessary process, at some point we need to let them go and accept all that was. Holding onto the past, replaying events in our mind, or wishing they were different holds us back from seeing what’s in front of us right now. Today is all we have, so choose this moment to be happy.
9. Give up excuses
Want to start a new career or your own business, move to your dream location, travel, change how you eat, start to exercise, or pick up a new hobby? You can never plan things perfectly, so don’t let that hold you back from from doing the things that feed your soul and make you truly happy. Opportunities present themselves in the moment so let go of excuses and take advantage of the freedom to choose to do the things you want to do right now.
10. Give up resisting change
Life is a process of constant change and evolution which challenges our human tendency to want comfort and familiarity. It’s easy to get so comfortable that we become resistant to change to the point of disrupting the natural flow of it and becoming resentful towards life and our situation. Nothing lasts forever, change is inevitable, so let go, surrender control and allow yourself to open up to the lessons or the awesome possibilities for something new and even better many times.
11. Give up relationships that aren’t enriching and fulfilling, and being a people pleaser
If a relationship is no longer serving you, let it go. If the only investment in the relationship is yours and your efforts aren’t appreciated it’s time to pause and give up trying to please everybody and see what happens. Good relationships are sustained when both people do their part to nurture the bond, not just one doing the work of two. True friends have a sincere mutual interest in knowing about one another’s lives and encouraging one another to grow.
Just because you’re happy doesn’t mean that everything in your life is perfect all the time. Real and lasting happiness is without a doubt an inside job that frees your ego by letting it know that you’ve made a conscious choice to look beyond the madness and chaos to where the light shines bright.
Are there things you need to let go of to be fully happy? Has letting go of anything helped you experience real happiness within? Share your thoughts in the comments below!