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Are you tired of feeling like you have no joy in your life?
Tired of feeling that everybody else has it better than you?
Are you ready to experience the happiness, joy, and well-being that you’ve seen in some people but never experienced yourself?
You have hidden beliefs that keep you unhappy.
And it’s time to finally unearth the hidden stories, lies really, that you tell yourself daily. Many of these beliefs about who you are and how the world works are so hidden you’re likely scarcely aware of them. But they determine your every thought, emotion, and decision.
See if any of these scripts resonate with you, and learn how you can leave them behind once and for all:
1. I don’t deserve to be happy
Did you grow up in an environment that preached that the desire for happiness is bad?
Do you associate happiness with acquiring material things or receiving the attention of others?
Have you done something in your life that you believe disqualifies you from having happiness, joy, and well-being?
Know that all these barriers exist only in your mind. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a formidable barrier. But it’s not one made of stone or concrete. Happiness is literally a thought away. However, you must first be willing to drop the belief that you somehow don’t deserve to be happy.
Try this simple meditation.
Close your eyes. Imagine yourself holding a heavy stone that represents the belief that you don’t deserve to be happy.
Feel it weighing on your arms, hurting your back. What’s preventing you from simply dropping the stone?
Maybe you feel that holding on to the stone will prevent you from experiencing even more pain—maybe the stone dropping on your foot (representing the possibility of feeling guilt or rejection).
Yes, there’s a possibility of the stone dropping on you but you’re ready to take a leap of faith. Imagine yourself releasing the stone.
As it falls, instead of dropping to the ground (or on your foot), it vanishes into thin air. It was never real all along. You rejoice in the relief you feel.
You can do this meditation as many times as needed and on any of the hidden beliefs you struggle with. Over time, they will begin to lose their power over you. And it may happen sooner than you think.
2. Other people are better than me
The fastest way to torpedo any sense of happiness or well-being is to compare yourself negatively with others. This is one of those hidden beliefs that’s all too common .
While you may have heard that comparing yourself with others should be avoided at all costs, you find it almost impossible to stop doing so.
There’s a good reason for that. You’re a social being built for relationship with others.
Part of how we make sense of our world and our place in it is by comparing ourselves with others.
This is natural and normal. The part that compromises our happiness is when we routinely compare ourselves negatively with others.
Or, as Steven Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
In order to drop this belief, when you’re tempted to compare yourself negatively with others, transform your negatively toward yourself to genuine feelings of admiration and gratitude.
Also be grateful for your own strengths.
This way you can recognize the gifts in others without discounting your own gifts.
3. Taking care of myself is selfish
This one is closely related to the first but deserves special attention.
The acceptance of healthy self-care has thankfully grown but there are still many holdouts.
So many of us are afraid to do anything that even hints of overindulgence or selfishness. Frankly, we’re terrified of the prospect of being labeled as selfish, self-absorbed, lazy, or hedonistic.
But healthy self-care is none of those. Yes, is true that hedonism will not lead to true happiness, but neither will self-imposed martyrdom. In order to serve others well, you need to fill your own gas tank.
Or, in the word of St. Teresa of Calcutta, “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it”
So take that well-deserved vacation, buy something nice for yourself, go on a solitary walk in the woods, or take a nap. Let go of the guilt associated with doing things for yourself large and small.
When others criticize you, tell them that you’re doing it for them as much as you’re doing it for yourself.
4. If I do everything right, I’ll never experience suffering, pain or injustice
You were born to the right parents, grew up in the right neighborhood, hung out with the right friends, married the right person, chose the right career. So when life doesn’t turn out quite the way you planned, you feel cheated, despondent, or worse.
Though our experience tells us otherwise, we hang on this belief for dear life. It’s actually more of a superstition. A way of attempting to ward off the evil spirits of pain and misfortune.
Happiness is often associated with having things the way you want them externally. But more lasting happiness and well-being requires that you accept the reality of suffering as a part of life, whether deserved or undeserved.
Learning to handle misfortune well is hard but not impossible. It starts by challenging the assumption that life is always fair—or that it should be. No one, no matter how much good they’ve done, are guaranteed a free pass in life.
While resetting your expectations is a huge step, it also helps to keep things in perspective by remembering that the bad times don’t last forever.
5. I don’t have any choice
This phrase is an efficient and deadly killer of joy.
The path to greater well-being is realizing that you always have choices, even when you feel like don’t.
The truth is that you make choices every moment of every day.
The problem is that most of them are made unconsciously. If a person is miserable at their job, they may say “I have no choice but to stay. How will I pay my bills?” But you do have a choice and you have made a choice to stay.
You could instead say “I choose to keep a job I hate because I hate the alternative even more.”
By stating the truth, you maintain your power to choose. You may even determine that the alternative is not as bad as you thought and that quitting is the best choice.
Either way, you dispel the belief that you are completely helpless to life’s circumstances.
You may not have total control of your life, but you do have agency and you have choices. Remembering this will give you a greater sense of well-being.
6. Everything that my mind says is true
Your mind is constantly narrating the events of your life. It tells you how you should think and feel about any given situation.
The problem that most of us have is that we identify ourselves with the voice and believe everything it says without question.
If your mind says you’re not smart enough or strong enough, you believe it. If it says you should or shouldn’t do something, you believe it. If it says you’re worthy or unworthy, you believe it.
In order to experience greater happiness, maintain a healthy dose of skepticism about your mind chatter. Always be ready with the question, “Is it true?” You can do this with any of your thoughts, even positive ones.
7. I cannot share my pain so I don’t appear weak
Yet another reliable hidden belief that keeps you in unhappiness land is the belief that it is better to save face than appear weak.
Do you avoid asking help when you need it or struggle to confide in anyone, even close friends? You may be carrying around an unnecessarily heavy load.
Part of our strength as social beings is that we don’t have to endure the challenges of life alone. Allowing others to help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength that comes with the willingness to be vulnerable.
Happiness, joy, and well-being are all yours for the taking.
Now that we’ve exposed the hidden beliefs, you have a choice. Will you choose status quo? Will you choose to hold on to them.
Maybe the answer is yes, but be sure to acknowledge that you’re making a conscious choice (see #5).
But if you’re ready to experience greater happiness and well-being, giving up these long-held beliefs will put you on the fast track to experiencing the happiness you’ve always wanted.