1. Comparison and jealousy. For a while, I looked at how far other people had gone in their lives. I looked at their successes, their happiness, their accomplishments, and I envied them for it. I wanted to wallow in self-pity, but I came to understand that every person’s journey is different and it’s destructive to compare it to others. Remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Focus on the road ahead of you and do the best with what you have, where you are, and with what God has put inside of you.
2. Ungratefulness. Numerous studies have shown that there is a connection between your level of gratitude and how happy you are. Don’t buy into the hype in our culture today that tells you you’re not enough and that you don’t have enough. The thing is, if you don’t appreciate what you have now, nothing will ever be good enough for you. You will always feel dissatisfied and always be wanting more. Bring it back to the basics and learn to be grateful for the small things, so that when big blessings come your way, you’ll be able to feel the immense joy that comes from having a thankful heart. Someone once said that even if your prayer at the end of the day was, “Thank you,” that will always be enough.
3. Complaining. I don’t know about you, but being around people who are constantly complaining and adapting a woe-is-me attitude is exhausting. Not only does it drain the people around the person, but it drains the person themself, sometimes unknowingly. We are all going through hardships, but it does no good to dwell or fixate on it. Choose instead to be honest about the problems you’re facing, but don’t weigh yourself or the people around you down with negative words that will do nothing to improve your situation. You can be authentic without complaining, so choose how you project your energy wisely.
4. Not having a meaning in life. When you aren’t connected to a higher purpose, days seem to fade into each other. You aren’t excited to get out of bed in the morning and life can feel meaningless. Articles have proven time and time again that having something meaningful to live for is what keeps your fire and drive in life. Finding and keeping your true passion in life takes hard work, patience and obedience. It’s essentially learning to listen to your heart. What makes you alive? What is something that you be happy to do or be around, even if you didn’t get paid for it? Make the time and effort to understand what it is that makes your life worth living.
5. An unhealthy lifestyle. The last couple years have been all about learning to fall in love with who I am, but this year I resolved to fall in love with my body. Now I am heading into week five of my training and clean eating, I realize in hindsight how much food and exercise has an impact on how you feel about yourself and your life. If you’re constantly putting processed, greasy and fried foods in your body, you’re feel what you put in – lethargic and weighed down. I find that when you lean toward healthy eating and exercising, even if it means making the smallest changes in your lifestyle, you feel so much more confident and fitter in your body, and thus have more positive energy for life. A study has even shown that patients who did 35 minutes of exercise six times a week reduced their depression by 47%!
6. Criticizing people. When I let the critical person in my head speak out loud, I don’t feel good about myself. When you release negative energy to the people around you, what you’re going to get back is negative energy. I love the Arabian proverb that says, “The mouth should have three gatekeepers. Is it true? Is it kind? And is it necessary?” Always drown out that negative voice inside your head before it leaves your mouth and hurts other people.
7. Toxic friends. When I understood that one of the biggest reasons I felt so unhappy was the people I was hanging out with, I decided to make some big changes and untie my connections with them. When you love yourself enough, you begin to leave anything that is unhealthy, especially when it comes to relationships. Just because you care about and love someone, does not necessarily mean they are good for you. They can sabotage your highest potential without you even knowing it. When someone is toxic in your life, remember: it’s okay to say no to them. It’s okay to leave them when you feel uncomfortable or unhappy. It’s okay to love them from a distance. But do not compromise your best self to cater to their needs!
8. Excuses. We can make hundreds of excuses as to why we can’t do something. The timing isn’t right, I’m not rich, I’m not pretty or confident enough are things we tell ourselves to keep us from leaving our comfort zones. Don’t let those excuses own you. Own them. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn to embrace the challenges calling you because it’s those challenges that are going to make you stronger and wiser. It’s going to take you places you never thought were possible. Learn to feel the fear and do it anyway, and once you make this a habit, you’ll wonder why you never jumped into the unknown in the first place.
9. Being controlling. This season of my life was one of the most confusing seasons I’ve had to go through. But in that season, I learned that we just have to stop fighting with God and with life and just let things go. Your life is never, ever going to turn out exactly how you imagine it. And regardless of how controlling you are of other people, their life is simply not yours to determine. There is a beautiful peace and freedom in loosening the reigns a little, and there is excitement and adventure in the unknown. God never meant for you to be uptight in life, He meant for you to enjoy it.
10.Unforgiveness. They say that choosing to hold onto grudges is like putting yourself in jail and throwing away the key. I know how incredibly hard it is to forgive someone who has hurt you in the past, and even harder still when they haven’t apologize for doing it. There takes a certain season of mourning and grief to come to terms with it, for sure. But when you allow that unresolved pain and bitterness to harbor itself in your heart, it can actually be like poison to your happiness and well-being. Do what you can do to finally get closure for yourself. Do whatever needs to be done for you to be able to say to that person who hurt you, “Thank you for that experience.” And when you do, find the strength in yourself to let it go, and move on to better things.
11. Being unkind. The happiest, warmest and most beautiful people I know are people who also happen to have the kindest and most generous hearts. Be aware that everyone you meet along your path will take away something from you – will you give them more hope in humanity, or will you make them lose faith in it?