Do you wish things were different in your life so that you could be happier? Are people or situations getting in the way of your peace of mind?
You may think, “I can’t be happy because my partner is so negative,” or, “If only my job were different, then I would be happier.”
Or maybe you think there’s something wrong with you, or something is missing in your life, and that’s why you can’t allow yourself to be happy.
“I can’t seem to stick to an exercise plan and take care of my health the way I should. What’s wrong with me?”
Or you do so much for your friends and family, and get so little in return, that you’re drained and can’t seem to muster up that enthusiasm for life you’d like to have. Why can’t they support YOU for a change?
There’s always someone or something that’s making you worried, irritated, or sad.
Is there a solution to this? Can you pick better friends, get a better job, or get your partner to step up?
Actually, there is a way for you to feel happier, but it has nothing to do with changing your circumstances or getting a new job or new friends.
By the time you’re finished reading this article, you just might change your mind about what’s REALLY getting in the way of your happiness.
But first, let me tell you a little story about a man who didn’t like his lunch…
Here’s a story that just may change your perspective on whether or not you’re in control of your happiness.
A construction worker begins work at a new job.
He works all morning on his first day and when it’s time for lunch, he goes and sits with all of the other workers to eat his lunch, which he has brought from home.
He opens his lunchbox. He takes out his sandwich, unwraps it and says, “Peanut butter! I hate peanut butter sandwiches. Ugh.”
But he goes ahead and eats the peanut butter sandwich.
The next day, the same thing happens. The lunch bell rings, he goes over and sits down with the other workers, opens up his lunchbox, unwraps the sandwich and says, “I can’t believe it. Peanut butter again! I hate this.”
This goes on day after day, until one day he again comes to lunch, sits down with everybody, and again looks at this sandwich in disgust and begins his litany of complaints.
Finally, one of the guys can’t take it anymore and says, “Look, if you don’t like peanut butter, why don’t you just ask your wife to make you a different kind of sandwich?”
The man replies, “My wife? What do you mean, my wife? I’m not married. I make my own sandwiches.”
Now, what is the meaning behind this story? It means that when it comes to our own happiness, many of us choose to take on the role of victim, when all along it’s been in our power to do what it takes to be happy.
Like the construction worker, we just go through the motions and make ourselves that peanut butter sandwich every day—out of habit—even though we hate it. Then we complain to others about it.
We propagate our own unhappiness and make others around us unhappy, as well, because we complain.
We behave as if we are victims, when most of the time, we aren’t. Our lives CAN be different, we are just stuck in habits and behaviors that make us think they CAN’T.
And playing a victim is just the beginning.
Because if you’re not as happy in your life as you’d like to be, it may be because you’re practicing the 3 most common happiness-destroying, victimhood-indulging habits there are.
There are certain habits and patterns that block us from feeling a deep and lasting sense of inner peace and happiness.
These habits indulge our sense of being a victim of life’s circumstances.
Which ones do you relate to?
1. Blaming. You make excuses or you blame others for your stress, unhappiness, or misfortune. You think, “If only this person did this…” or “If only this aspect of my life were better, or not so messed up.”
If you blame, you’re giving away your power and ultimately, giving away your happiness. We’ve been trained that when something doesn’t work, we blame what happened rather than our reaction to it. The blamer’s motto is, “It’s not my fault!”
2. Shaming. The shamer’s motto is “It’s all my fault!” This is basically blaming yourself. You’re embarrassed or ashamed about things that have happened to you or you feel guilty about something you’ve done or not done.
You may also feel that there’s something wrong with you, like if you’re ashamed of your body or ashamed of how you let others treat you. You’re your worst critic.
We often suppress the pain and uncomfortable feelings caused by shame, which can use up a lot of your energy and block your success and happiness.
3. Complaining. You know what that sounds like. The complainer’s motto is “Poor me!” It’s the man in the peanut butter sandwich story. You feel sorry for yourself, you act like a martyr, or you overgive and then feel resentful.
Studies show that most of us complain an average of once per minute in any given conversation. Once a minute! That’s a lot of complaining.
The more you complain, the more you find reason to complain. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, let me ask you: do you recognize yourself in any of these 3 habits and patterns in your life?
If so, these may be the very reasons why you’re not as happy as you could be.
It’s not your circumstances. It’s not because of your clueless partner, or tyrant boss, or whiny kids, or crabby neighbor. It’s not because there’s something wrong with you.
You’re not as happy as you could be because you’re training your brain to focus on the negative and to believe that you’re a victim of life. But you’re not a victim, because, just like what you make for lunch every day:
You can choose to be happy because you have the power to change your life, or choose how you can respond to your life.
Either way, whatever the circumstances, you can raise your happiness level and feel at peace in life, no matter what.
Have you ever noticed that nothing happens when we’re blaming everything else for our happiness or expecting others to change so we can be happy?
We don’t feel any better. We just remain stuck in blaming-shaming-complaining mode.
In all my research on happiness, I found that the happiest people have a secret to counteract this negative pattern of blaming, shaming, and complaining.
What’s their secret? They have certain habits of thought and behavior that gets them out of the victim cycle and empowers them to either make changes, or respond in a way that lessens their stress and worry.
The good news is that you can learn these habits and become one of those happy people you may know and admire. You know, the ones who never complain and who always have a smile on their faces. Or look at the bright side of everything. Or don’t seem phased by setbacks and obstacles.
Maybe their motto is, “Every day I’m breathing is a good day!” That was my dad’s motto, and he was one of those naturally happy people.
In my program, 30 Days to a Happier Life, you’ll learn how to get yourself out of the pattern of blaming-shaming-complaining and start to see your life in a different way.
You’ll do so by learning and practicing the 21 habits that research has shown to increase your level of happiness and ease, permanently.
That means you can feel more relaxed and peaceful about life, no matter what happens from moment-to-moment.
On Day 7, you’ll learn how to look for the lesson and gift in every situation, even the most dire ones.
On Day 8, you’ll hear how your past has a huge impact on how you feel today, and what to do if you’re still hanging on to old wounds.
On Day 9, you’ll learn how to use the “Response Gap” to greatly reduce the frequency of your complaints, so that you can rewire your brain to focus on thoughts that can increase your energy and happiness.
And that’s just a small portion of the 30-day video program, which you can check out here:Start Watching
There’s a quote by someone that I have always long admired, and that is beautiful and brilliant, Maya Angelou. She says, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
Here’s to taking your happiness into your own hands and being a victor (not a victim) of life!
With love and happiness,
P.S. Do negative thoughts make you weak? What about positive thoughts? How do they affect you?
On Day 2 of my 30 Days to a Happier Life program, you’ll see me demonstrate an exercise that will answer that question and show you—in real time—how your own thoughts are impacting your physical body and energy level. It’s something you’re going to want to try out on your friends and family, too:See It Here