“Life is very, very simple and easy to understand, but we complicate it with the beliefs and ideas that we create,” said Four Agreements author, Don Miguel Ruiz.
It’s true; many of us tend to forget how incredible life actually is. We keep adding meaningful (and meaningless) tasks, chores, and duties to our to-do list and complain that we never have any time for anything else. “Life is so hard.”
The worrying really has to stop. We worry about what other people think. We worry about paying the bills. We worry about our futures. These are the kinds of questions that keep people up at night. “But, but, but,” no excuses. Would these worries really matter in five years? No? So why are you sweating the small stuff?
Author Richard Carlson says, “True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn.” The time is NOW to make a change in our lives.
Here are 20 ways that you’re making your life harder for no reason:
20. You take things personally
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” We have all had a bully confront us at some point in our life. They created feelings of unworthiness and have probably insulted you by jumping to conclusions, which really wreaks havoc on the self-esteem. It doesn’t really have to deal with you though; it’s usually their problem that is being taken out on you. However, once you learn how to accept yourself by improving your self-confidence and communication skills, you will be more likely to handle people’s negative comments. It also helps get rid of toxic people and surround yourself with positive influences.
19. You make assumptions
“My boy/girlfriend is cheating on me.” “I’m going to fail this test.” “He/she doesn’t like me…” How would you know? Have you asked questions to express what you want? Making assumptions leads to overthinking and that ultimately comes down to fear. So, with that said, what are you afraid of in order to make these assumptions? It’s so easy to avoid misunderstandings and drama simply by taking the courage to ask questions. Chances are, you will feel better after doing so. Remember in school when you asked your teachers questions because you didn’t understand something? It’s exactly like this – don’t be afraid to ask.
18. You care about what other people think
If you are constantly worrying about what other people think, you won’t go anywhere and you won’t be able to follow your dreams. It’s sad to say, but other people don’t really care as much as you think. When you are so busy worrying and caring for other people, you forget to care about yourself.
Lao Tzu said, “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” It is part of human nature and is a basic need, to be liked and accepted, but you can prevent these feelings of doubt so you can live your life to the fullest. After all, it’s your life and not theres; it’s none of their business any way. Yes, your hair looks great. Yes, your outfit is on point. Yes, you are beautiful.
17. You compare your life to others
We live in a world of comparison. Our society defines success by objects: clothes, homes, cars, and Instagram followers. The external influences aren’t necessarily an indicator of how you truly feel. Whenever we’re in a low mood, we look to others at their best and make assumptions of their ‘perfect’ life. Is their life really perfect? Think about models and how long make up takes to apply and the process of editing photos. Everyone has their insecurities. Comparison robs you of what makes you feel fulfilled and in a state of joy, so why not recognize who you are as a person and live with intention. So live your life.
16. You overthink
Have you ever choked under pressure even though you already know that you are good at something? Or perhaps you overthink the tiny details because you don’t see the bigger picture. That, dear friends, is making your life harder for no reason. We have all wanted to post that ‘perfect’ picture on social media, but aren’t you overthinking the perfection? People want to see the natural you, so why fake it? It comes down to fear. The fear of being wrong and being judged. A lot of people lose their creativity due to overthinking and caring about what other people think. We have many choices to make in life. An easy solution: go with your gut instinct!
Remember the Y2K scare? Everyone was running around because they thought the world would end. Thanks to the Christian evangelicals, they saw the year 2000 as the start of the “Last Days.” There was also the “bug” that would cause computer malfunctions resulting in a loss of power, water, banking systems, transportation, and more, thus breaking down society. The way that the world is going right now with the governments in power, it’s highly unlikely that we will see an apocalypse in our lifetime. Maybe another world war, but that doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t be mentally prepared. Just in case, do you know your survival skills? Deep down we all do, thanks to our hunter-gatherer past lives. At the end of the day, save your brainpower for something else.
14. You don’t take risks
“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything that you’ve ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” “Lose Yourself” is one of Eminem’s greatest tracks. Taking risks involves stepping outside of your comfort zone. The question is, would you take a risk to do something that would make you happy? Or would you back down? Why do you think the one per cent is the one per cent? They take risks; high risk, high reward. It’s always worth it and if you fail, at least you know you tried.
13. You have unrealistic expectations
A common unrealistic expectation is that you expect your partner to know what you are feeling and to understand these feelings. First off, everything comes down to you. What are your expectations? If you have low expectations of yourself, what does that look like for others, especially those close to you? If you have a bad experience, that causes even more disappointment. However, if you have high expectations and a great experience, you can enjoy the satisfaction. After all, there’s nothing wrong with high expectations, just as long as you live up to all of them and adjust if needed. Honest communication always wins.
12. You don’t give back
How do you expect to receive more if you don’t give? Whether that’s time, emotions, energy or money, it’s extremely difficult to thrive when you’re cooped up trying to survive. If you give from the heart, the Law of Attraction will ensure that you’re taken care of. If you want love, be loving. If you want to be a millionaire, feel like a millionaire. Oprah Winfrey said, “to move forward, you have to give back.” Not only does it make you feel good inside, you’re helping someone else who could use it more. After all, we’re here to help one another, so why not make someone else smile?
11. You don’t let go
Everyone and everything has an expiration date. Whether that’s relationships (in most cases), places, jobs, the list goes on. If you continue going in the same direction, there will be resistance; cycles and feelings will continue to grow until you make a change and let things go. Letting go of the past can give you a brighter future, but the work has to be done in the now. Some simple tips: acknowledge everything that you have accomplished (even the small ones), CRY, write a letter to express your feelings, do some breath work, get some exercise, be responsible for your actions and focus on things you can control.
10. You let people take advantage of you
There comes a fine line between being nice and doing things for others and having people control you. Taking advantage means, “to make use of for gain.” Do you want to be used so someone else can win? Why can’t you win yourself? They say those who act like sheep will be eaten by the wolves. The guilt and playing the victim can manipulate you into doing things that you might not even want to do in the first place and throw you off balance. We ignore our gut feelings because we don’t want it to be true, but in the end, it’s right. So, what do you want to be? The wolf or the sheep?
9. You don’t budget
This is a big one. A budget allows you to live comfortably with enough to save for a big purchase item, such as a house or a car. It’s simple. Calculate your income from employment, investments, etc. then subtract that from your expenses, such as rent, utilities, phone, and Internet. There are many apps that can help manage your budget, such as Mint, BillGuard, Dollarbird, Goodbudget, and LearnVest. Some healthy budget habits are finding your credit score, making realistic goals, finding debt consolidation, making lifestyle habits you can afford. Those $100 dinners, weekly manicures and pedicures, and designer clothes can go, only if they don’t fit within your means. Take ownership and get back on track to financial freedom.
8. You’re impatient
From waiting in a long line and getting extremely worked up to losing your temper because your computer wouldn’t load. Being impatient is when we realize how to long it will take to reach your goal – it reduces the cost of reaching it and can move you in another direction. When we have many options, it allows us to become even more impatient because we aren’t confident in what we want. However, impatience can benefit us by encouraging us to look at another strategy when something isn’t going right. Knowing how to tackle impatience is recognizing that you are impatient and then feeling how it feels to be stuck. Mindfulness patience practices help, especially if you’re stuck in a traffic jam. Would you rather be calm and breathe or be angry and yelling? The choice is yours.
7. You stay up late
Not only does staying up late affect your health way more than waking up early, the rate of production diminishes due to a lack of concentration. You see entrepreneurs putting in crazy amounts of time on their projects and running on low amounts of sleep. What they don’t tell you is what happens to them when they burn themselves out. Multiple studies show us that the blue light in LED screen halts melatonin (sleep hormone) production, making people stay wide awake and alert. Is that next episode of Netflix or scrolling through someone else’s Instagram account really important? Have you ever tried keeping electronics out of your room? If you’re anxious, perhaps try writing out your feelings and do a brain dump before bed and then relax and read and/or meditate before you get some shut-eye. Creating a bedtime routine will help you out.
6. You believe in failure
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich said, “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” How do you know that you will fail at something? In anything you do, you have a 50/50 shot, so why not think you will win? Oprah Winfrey was fired early in her career because her producer thought she was “unfit for television.” Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, which he started, later returning to make it one of the most successful companies in the world. Try dividing up a paper and write a list of your failures on one side and a list of successes on the other. You’ll realize that you remember more of your successes and want to move forward.
5. You’re waiting for a sign
Life happens in divine timing, when you least expect it. What is it that you’re waiting for? A sign from God? What if right now is the perfect time to do whatever you want? If you miss someone, call them, don’t wait for them to call you. If you want to be with someone, tell them. If you have a goal, accomplish it. If you need to make a change, make it. Good things come to those who wait; after all, timing is everything. Give yourself permission to be who you are and take the next step – don’t wait for anyone or anything else. It’s the fear of wanting to move forward into the unknown that will catch you. Take the initiative and go.
4. You buy things on sale
The whole point of a sale is so stores can get rid of their inventory at cheaper prices. It’s also a horrible way to save money because you think you need that item. Do you really need that coffee maker when you don’t even drink coffee? You’re accumulating stuff for the sake of doing so. A big sale on an item you don’t really want is a waste of money (and energy!) Unless you want to make a profit by reselling these items, is it worth the effort? It’s okay to buy things for yourself. Really think about what you actually want then hunt for the bargains and remember the golden rule: quality over quantity.
3. You sleep in
Newborns sleep on an average of 17 hours in a day. The numbers decrease as we age, whereas teenagers require nine to 10 hours of sleep. Young adults average seven to nine hours. The sleep schedule is controlled by our homeostatic sleep drive and our circadian rhythm. The sleep drive alerts us when the body needs to sleep and the circadian rhythm regulates our alertness and grogginess throughout the day. Many factors determine these cycles such as our outdoors exposure, caffeine intake, and physical activity. Specialists also say those who sleep in have a greater chance of depression and anxiety. So, why not try to wake up early and then take an afternoon nap when you’re feeling sluggish? It’s worth a snooze, sometimes.
2. You reward yourself too much
You know, it’s ok to reward yourself after a busy work week or after accomplishing something special. Some people take it too far. The little things add up quickly, like those fancy coffees, extra pairs of shoes, books, even dinners and drinks with friends after work. Instead of constantly rewarding yourself, why don’t you try to make the occasional big purchase or reward yourself with a trip? There are many other ways to reward yourself and your time that don’t end up costing an arm and a leg. Make your own lunch – there’s great joy and pleasure in making a delicious meal. Coffee lovers, try making your own coffee or tea at home – invest in a Keurig or something easy to use. Not only will it save you money by sticking to your budget, it will save you time, which we all need to enjoy.
1. You eat all of the junk food
We all have our junk food binges, and that’s ok. It just can’t get out of hand. Not only will this contribute to weight gain, it can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even a risk of stroke. When you eat a meal with unhealthy fats and sugars, heavy inflammation occurs. There is a rise in blood pressure because your vessels constrict, and there is a surge and drop in insulin, which will leave you feeling hungry and wanting more junk. After all, sugar is more addictive than cocaine. An easy fix? Avoid processed foods and refined sugar. A small snack every now and again is ok, but don’t take advantage of yourself. Balance is key.
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