7 EXCUSES FOR UNHAPPINESS & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
“You are where your are supposed to be, at this moment.” Will Houck
It has been said the origin of every excuse is the failure to do something. Below are seven common excuses for unhappiness, and some ideas on how to replace excuses with finding more happy places.
1. I am the way I am because I had an unhappy childhood.
Your parents may not have been the best parents, but they raised you the only way they knew how. Accept that there is nothing you could have done to change how your parents raised you. You can’t change the past.
You have the rest of your life to be happy, and you are in control of that.
Do a little soul-searching. Do you really want to change the situation? Or are you using this excuse to justify your lack of effort to overcome it? Using excuses does not set you up for happy places, and it doesn’t make everything OK, especially if your actions are creating unhappiness for you and those around you.
If your resolve is to overcome what you learned in an unhappy childhood you will stop blaming others and start accepting responsibility for your happiness going forward. The past will have no power over you any more.
You’ve heard the saying, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. All you need is the recipe. In a later post, I’ll be talking about creating an intentional happiness program – a recipe to turn your life around and begin experiencing the happiness you deserve.
As Gloria Steinem says, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
2. I’m in a bad relationship and don’t know how to change it.
Are you in a relationship you aren’t happy about and struggling to keep a positive attitude? Maybe you are hoping the situation will change but over time, it doesn’t change, and inside, you know it isn’t going to change. So you try to convince yourself you can live with it, and although you rationalize the situation and passively accept it, you are miserable on the inside.
Most all relationships have conflict of some kind. Ignoring chronic issues only makes them worse. Address conflicts that you feel are getting in the way of your happiness. If you find yourself reacting to the same arguments and disagreements, never seeming to solve anything, confront them head-on to determine a long-term solution.
This is easier said than done when emotions are strong, but what do you have to lose? Constant and protracted discontent takes a toll on your mental, physical and social life.
Tips for talking out relationship issues:
- Be direct, and not condescending.
- Say how you feel without blaming.
- Avoid sarcasm and name calling.
- Stay on the issue. Don’t let unrelated issues take you off track. You can address them later.
- Keep in mind that your goal is to solve the problem, or agree to disagree.
It always works out better if both parties truly want to solve the problem. You will find out soon enough if that is true or if you have no control in changing the situation.
If you are in a detrimental, harmful or hurtful situation, but have absolutely no control over it, step back and think about what advice you would give your best friend or child if they were in a similar situation.
It’s easy to let anger, fear, and hurt cloud our reasoning in the heat of the moment. In listening to your own advice, you will probably find a clarity of thought you didn’t realize you had.
Remove yourself from abusive or destructive situations that you can’t change.
3. Someone I love has betrayed me.
It hurts when you realize the confidence and trust you had in someone has been taken advantage of. As they try to blame you for their actions, and you find your self-esteem diminishing, wake up and realize their actions are a reflection of the person they are, not the person you are.
Take personal responsibility for your happiness and climb out of the disappointment and pain pit. The only way someone else can make you unhappy is if you let them. You had a life before this person came into it, and you can have a good life without them.
A good way to deal with this is with positive self-affirmations. Each morning say to yourself, “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. I am remarkable and cherished.”
Create additional affirmations by stating the opposite of any negative criticisms others have made of you. Affirmations work because they contradict the criticisms and program your mind into believing your positive concept.
Bonus tip: Forgive those who have wronged you. : “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
4. I cant seem to do anything perfect.
Whose definition of perfect are you using? You may be suffering from TPA – The Perfection Affliction. Follow this link to read an earlier post on how to deal with this.
5. I’m not as ______ as other people. (The beautiful people)
You fill in the blank; strong, smart, talented, good looking….
Don’t compare yourself to others. Competing against others is a form of self-sabotage. There will always be someone better off and someone worse off than you in any respect, so recognize your strengths and build on them. Compete only against yourself.
Have confidence in your own worth and abilities and don’t let others’ opinions of you negatively influence your self-esteem. Research indicates positive self-esteem is an influential predictor of happiness, and psychologists usually regard self-esteem as an enduring personality trait. It is important to know your own worth and value because it influences your life choices and motivates you to create and achieve personal goals and desires.
You are a unique individual with your own talents. You can improve your self-esteem. You can love, care, and respect yourself. I’ll make a separate post to help you do this.
6. I am a failure. I can’t do anything right.
Ever tried and failed? What a blessing! Celebrate! You now know one more thing that won’t work, and you are getting closer to success.
Don’t beat yourself up. Consider failures as telegrams from heaven. Learn your lessons and fail faster so you can get to success faster. Have the courage to trust and believe in yourself and know that a higher power within us will give us what we need when we need it.
There is a purpose in everything you experience. You may not know what it is right now, but eventually you will. Own and take responsibility and credit for your talents, abilities, failures and successes and learn from them.
Bonus tip: you don’t have to be successful at everything you do, just be happy doing it. When I play golf I do my best to provide some competition. I have a great time catching up on conversations with friends and family, celebrating good shots, and ribbing others about mulligans…… but my score stinks.
7. I hate my job – but it’s what my parents expected of me.
One of the key life-altering decisions you make is your job, career, or line of work. The work you choose can set the stage for your future happiness. Working in a profession you hate can bring much unhappiness as life passes you by, and regret in older age as you wish you had pursued your own interests earlier in life.
Work toward something that you want, that you believe will make you happy, and will be the best for you – not just because you want to fulfill your parents dreams, version of success, or what they think is best for you at the expense of your dreams.
Our parents usually want what is best for us, but many times they don’t realize they are living vicariously through us. They want us to achieve what they were unable to so we can be more successful. But sometimes our talents and dreams to not match theirs.
Then there is the person who follows in their parent’s business because that is what is expected, and they don’t want to disappoint their parents or let them down. Besides, it is a safe choice. They have a ready-made business to step into. They are successful financially but happiness-poor because they have never really liked doing that kind of work. They long for the freedom to pursue their real dream.
If your dreams match those of your parents’ then you have a bonus, you are a step ahead in your life plan. Be grateful for their support. If not, consider the following ideas:
- Think about how you can continue on your current course and possibly use it as a stepping stone, or a sort of intermediate step to what you really want to do. In other words, work your profession as a means to an end. A sort of delayed gratification. An example would be to improve and grow the business with the idea in mind to sell it later and invest in your dream.
- Change the situation. Let your parents know how you feel and what you plan to do to transition into another career choice. Ask for their support of your decision.
With all of the educational opportunities available today, you can always choose to go back to school and learn a new skill.
Whatever you decide to do, once you make a decision, ‘Be There’ physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s your choice to make.
Bonus tip: Hate is a strong, negative emotion. Remove this word from your vocabulary.
Any and all of these excuses can be overcome, but only if you are willing to take action, think positive, and be grateful for the blessings in your life.
- Resolve to change, release negative thoughts, and reach for happiness with an Intentional Happiness Program that I will talk about in a later post.
- Keep a gratitude journal. The simple act of keeping a daily gratitude journal can help us focus on the positive aspects of our life and stop making excuses for not taking action on things we want to change. It can improve our health, relationships, personality and career – all of those things closely related with our perception of what makes us happy.
Follow this link to see more about how to start a gratitude journal.