Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips, the one-day a week when I dispense useful, actionable and empowering tips!
If your life sucks, it doesn’t suck by chance. It’s a direct result of the decisions you make every day. Below is an incomplete list of things you do that are contributing to your quality of life, or lack thereof:
1. You focus on what’s wrong with your life. We all have aspects of our life that aren’t going well. Happy people focus 90% of their energy on what’s working (aka, gratitude) and 10% on analyzing and fixing problems. They do not, by the way, brood. Brooding is self-indulgent and completely unproductive.
2. Your negativity drives away positive people, so the only people in your life are miserable. Like you. People often ask me, “How do you listen to miserable people all day long?” My clients are among the most positive and resilient people I know. I only attract people who are capable of positivity and recovery. It wasn't always this way. Therapists attract mirror images of themselves. So do you. If your life sucks, it's the reason why you don't have positive people in your life.
3. You don’t take responsibility for why you’re unhappy. Everything is other people’s fault or a result of circumstances beyond your control.
4. You’d rather be right than happy. When you have a disagreement with someone, you lose sight of your goal. You get so caught up in being right –in winning the fight – that you’re not strategic, and you wind up being right but being unhappy.
5. You’re waiting to be happy to be happy. Being happy is a decision. People are as happy as they make their minds up to be. You can’t wait to be through this moment of your life to be happy. You have to start right now. You can’t wait for things to get better. You have to begin today, regardless of your life circumstances.
6. You bullshit yourself. You tell yourself stories and you actually buy them. You make up excuses for why you can’t enter therapy, make today’s workout, eat a healthy meal, sign up for that class – and you believe your excuses.
7.You’re a martyr. Your whole identity is wrapped up in other people viewing you as the most selfless, giving person on earth, and that’s your excuse for losing your shit periodically. Psst: Healthy people don’t like martyrs. Want better people in your life? Let go of that disempowering persona.
8. You’re living someone else’s life. Maybe it was your father’s dream for you to work on Wall Street. Maybe it’s your husband’s need for you to be a stay at home mom. Whoever’s needs you’re meeting, they are not your own.
9. You’re afraid to make mistakes. And because of this, your light is painfully dim.
10. You have fucked up beliefs about the world that do not serve you – and you spend your days, weeks, months, and years gathering evidence to prove that these beliefs are universal truths. Maybe you believe that you’re a loser, and so anytime you fail to get the girl’s number, or don’t receive a response to your resume, you use that as confirmation that you’re a loser. Maybe you believe that the world is an unjust place – so whenever you hear that someone you know has received something good in their life, you use that to illuminate the disparity between you and others. Maybe you have a belief that people suck, and anytime someone wrongs you, you feel validated in your negative belief.
11. You think that your happiness is contingent on external things. You believe that finding a partner will make you whole (although you wouldn’t use this language). You think that living somewhere warm will fix your seasonal affect disorder (though you still take your antidepressants in the summer which begs the question, is it really the cold that’s got you down?). You believe that more money will make you happy (though with every increase in income, you raise the bar on what constitutes enough money).