CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We all get taken in by the headlines: "Seven Steps to Happiness," "Ten Tips for a Happier Life," "Five Minutes to Bliss." You name it.
With all the focus on things we can bring into our lives to make us happier, I started wondering about things we could eliminate to achieve the same result.
As a society, we tend to hold on to so many things that cause us pain. And, instead of letting them go, we cling to them. Maybe it's just human nature. Or a deep down feeling that we don't really deserve to be happy without a certain amount of suffering.
As I write this column, I'm reflecting on my day. There were a number of stressful situations, and I found myself getting caught up in the drama. Then, when I got into my car, I saw a blind man at a crosswalk with a guide dog, and I just melted. Talk about putting things into perspective!
So, as I was researching my topic, I ran across some interesting insights. The blog "Waking Times" confirmed my hypothesis. Take a look and see if any of these resonate. If you've been getting in your own way, you might want to keep this list around and tackle one or two categories throughout the year.
Things to give up to be happier
Give up your need to always be right. Can't stand the idea of being wrong? Do you always have to be right -- even at the risk of a great deal of stress? It's just not worth it. Whenever you feel the "urgent" need to jump into a fight over who's right and who's wrong, ask yourself, "Would I rather be right or happy?"
Give up your need for control. Did I press any buttons here? If you're willing to give up your need to control everything that happens around you -- situations, events and people -- you may be in for a pleasant surprise. If you allow everyone and everything to be just as they are, you may find out how much better you can feel. As philosopher Lao Tzu said, "By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond winning." Such a foreign concept to our Western world, I'll admit!
Give up on blame. Do you blame others for what you have or don't have? Stop giving your power away. And start taking responsibility for your life.
Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Are you hurting yourself because of your negative and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don't believe everything you think!
Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can and cannot do. Do you set artificial limits on yourself about what's possible? Expand your horizons.