Happiness and sadness are a state of mind- Buddha
So many of us are living with deep unhappiness and grief in our hearts. You want so many things to let go of but you don’t know where to start.
You feel tired, beaten and you just don’t know who you are anymore. You look in the mirror and don’t recognise the person anymore.
You constantly ask yourself, “ What is it that I want?”, “ Who is the person I’ve become”?
When you are young, you have visions about your future and this is not the future self you imagined.
You want to be happy but there’s something lacking inside. You just want someone to take away all this grief. You want someone to tell you what to do and you will do it.
You just can’t live like this anymore.
You are not alone.
Every person in this world lives in a bubble. A unique bubble that creates your perceptions, realities and emotions.
Over time you keep building that bubble with your own experiences with people, places, friends, work or family.
If your bubble is happy and positive, you will experience the world in a joyful way.
Sometimes, when our experiences have been sour or negative, our bubbles become negative too.
In psychology, children with an abusive family find it very difficult to forge meaningful relationships in the future.
You start holding these experiences in your heart since the day you are born.
Every day it piles up even more.
Before you know it, you start grappling with deep anxiety, panic and a sense of losing yourself.
The first step towards finding joy and happiness in your life is to find things to let go off that you are holding in your bubble.
Learning to let-go is one of the most difficult yet the most fulfilling things you can do to change your life. It is the art one should master for a better self.
You learn to embrace your true self as well as others. You come face to face with your insecurities and deal with them.
When you allow things to let go that are beyond control, you feel a sense of happiness, calm, deep self-respect and belief.
So here are 10 things to let go off for a happy and joyous life
1. Let go of social media addiction
Social media is a very powerful tool if used in the right way and also an extremely negative one if not.
With the world in our hands, we find ourselves scrolling through the feeds of people you barely know.
You are so distracted by the constant influx of information that you barely put our hearts in anything you do.
The negative effects of social media on our psychology is huge.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
― Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Track how many hours do you spend on your phone? How many hours do you spend on social media? How many times do you unlock your phone every day?
Now ask yourself, if you get one extra hour in your life, what is it that will want to do?
Workout, read a book, paint something, learn a new language, write that research paper, talk to your friend, volunteer for a cause, play with your kids, spend time with your husband, start a vegetable garden.
Investing one hour of every day to learn something will give you an unbeatable 365 hours of knowledge.
There are so many things you can do when you have that time to spare. Creating something gives more pleasure and meaning than consuming something.
You will learn to value time more and true friends. You will have ample time to learn and develop yourself instead of wasting it on mindless entertainment.
2. Stop comparing yourself with other people
How many times have you looked at your friends or strangers on social media and compared your life with them?
We compare ourselves with others on the basis of looks, lifestyle, jobs, salaries, spouses, children.
What we forget is that everybody is living a unique life and taking responsibility for your own should be a priority.
If you keep comparing yourself with others, you will end up chasing something you will never have and a life full of remorse and regrets.
Reflect upon who you are and what kind of a life do you want to live instead.
When you do this you will realise that you are on your own unique path. This sense of having a unique identity and a unique path will shoot your self- confidence.
Just believe that you are making a change in the world, however small it is. Don’t compare your mole with someone else’s mountain. Keep creating your own instead.
3. Let go of your need for perfection
Winston Churchill rightly said, ” Perfection is the enemy of progress”.
How often do you keep waiting for the perfect someone, a perfect home, a perfect life?
But perfect doesn’t exist. No matter how hard you try, things will not go according to you. And it is ok. Life is supposed to be lived with everything it has to offer. It can’t be escaped.
Let go of the urge to be perfect. When you try to be a perfectionist in all forms of life, you forget how good imperfections can be. You strive for continuous perfection rather than excellence.
If you keep wanting things to be perfect you will never be able to embrace life completely.
4. Stop judging people
Judging others is the most negative practice that can screw up your life and happiness.
When you judge someone and tell people about it, chances are you are insecure about something of your own.
Before judging someone asks yourself, why in the first place do you judge that person?
There are so many things that might surface. Write those things down.
You will realise when you stop judging others you also free yourself from what other people think of you.
Letting go off judging will create a positive mindset for you and respect for other people’s choices.
5. Let go of the constant need to be busy
We live in a world where hustling is over-hyped. While I believe in working hard to achieve your dreams, it is equally important to realise how much time you are spending on that work.
“As kids, our stock answer to most every question was nothing. What did you do at school today? Nothing. What’s new? Nothing. Then, somewhere on the way to adulthood, we each took a 180-degree turn. We cashed in our nothing for busy.”
― Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
In a typical 8 hour workday, most people work only 4 hours on an average. If you take out the other 4 hours, they are just distractions.
So stop telling yourself that you don’t have time to do the things you want to do.
You have plenty of time, all you need is to let go off the constant need to show people how busy you are.
So get into your deep work zone and start working focused on the task instead of just scrolling through your phone pretending to be busy.
6. Stop pleasing others
So often you waste your energies on trying to be liked by the people around that you forget who you are in the first place. We are guilty of this at some point or the other.
Some choose careers because of what their parents want, some spend their entire lives pleasing their partners.
We do all this to find- love, respect and appreciation from the others. Pleasing others and depending on them for likability gives you a feeling of unworthiness.
Pretending and faking yourself can only take you too far. If you are worried about losing your relationships, friends or trust, then it is better to do that.
Be yourself and the world will adjust. If it is someone close to you, sit and talk with them and make them understand how you feel.
Until you start liking and appreciating who you are, no one else will.
7. Let go of Self-criticism
We are all guilty of doing this. How many times do you say to yourself, “ My skin is not good enough”, “my work is not good enough”, “my salary is not good enough”, “I am not good enough”, “I am so fat” etc. etc.
These are all negative dialogues that you are reverberating in your brain. When you start to self criticise yourself, you are telling your brain to create a cycle of negative thoughts.
The internal dialogue or the way you talk to yourself is so important for living a happy life.
If your internal dialogue is negative, you will feel small, meek and unworthy of good things in your life.
Even when life gives you a massive opportunity, you will decline it because of the negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk creates a feeling of unworthiness and low self-esteem. Low self-esteem makes people vulnerable to deep insecurities and sometimes can take a lifetime to overcome all of them.
Focus your energies on the positive aspects of your life. Take a note of the tiniest thing that uplifts your self-esteem.
8. Let go of envy
Stop envying the lives of other people. Women especially have the habit of indulging in this green monster.
We envy our friends who are prettier than us, envy colleagues who earn more, envy friends who are rich and even envy someone who is intelligent.
If someone is better than us in any way we feel threatened of our authority.
Someone is going to be prettier, richer, educated than you are. You either learn from them or you envy them.
To stop this negative emotion from creeping up time and again, answer this one question,
What is it that you are great at?
Instead of brooding over what the other person is doing, find your mojo and become great at your skill.
Choose your battles. When you find a bigger goal to achieve, bigger excellence to achieve, you will forget about these trivial things.
You will find a place of deep satisfaction and love for the others.
9. Let go of worry
There is one simple reason for all your worries,
Life is not going according to you.
Worrying is like a leech. It will suck all your happiness and joy from life. Worry has never been the solution to any problem.
Follow this simple flow chart to understand, how you are indulging in this negative habit.
Image source (https://lifehacker.com/this-flow-chart-tells-you-when-to-worry-about-anything-1638610395)
You will create this pattern over and over in your brain and it will be very difficult to break it in the long run.
So do it now. Anytime, you feel like worry is taking over your life, just ask yourself, can I do something to solve this problem, if yes, do it.
If no, then just distract yourself by doing something else like painting, cleaning, gardening.
Stop discussing your worries with other people as well. talking more reinforces your worries.
10. Let go of mindless shopping
With smartphones in our hands and constant access to shopping malls, we spend more than we should on shopping.
Most of the shopping is driven by what other people are doing and how other people are living their lives. You waste a lot of hard-earned money on useless things.
The more the number of things you own the more difficult it is to take care of them and greater is the decision fatigue.
Next time when you want to buy something, ask hi to yourself, “ Do I really need it?”. If not maybe you can skip buying it.
Investing and using your resources right can build your confidence.
This is one of the most important things to let go that will allow you to dig deeper into your own insecurities and understand yourself better.
Your life is the sum total of the experiences you had. They can be either positive or negative. How you react to these experiences is a choice that you make.
Here we have identified 10 things that might be contributing to your unhappiness. Try to eliminate some of them and just enjoy life for what it is. Enjoy being given a chance to experience these emotions.
Releasing negative emotions is about understanding yourself and your body better. Include movement, silence and surrender in your life and see the magic yourself.
You will realise how easy it is to find joy when you accept your reality. A few moments in silence, in meditation can give you more peace and inner joy than any other thing.
Letting go can be difficult in the beginning but it will be the most important things you will ever do for yourself.
What are the things you let go of for a better life? Comment below.
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Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.