10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

This post is 100% borrowed by The Thought Catalog ... this article written by Tom Hoch My friend Darcy Sherman, of Sassafras Photography, sent it to me this morning and I thought it needed to be shared again. And again. I love it. Everything about it. Without further adieu:

1. You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.

2. You’re the star of your own movie.

It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.

You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end.

Unfortunately you forgot to give your script to anyone else. As a result, people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, your movie is ruined.

Lose your script. Let someone else star once in awhile. Welcome new characters. Embrace plot twists.

3. You fast forward to apocalypse.

I have a bad habit of fast forwarding everything to its worst possible outcome and being pleasantly surprised when the result is marginally better than utter disaster or jail time. My mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely. My sore throat is cancer. My lost driver’s license fell into the hands of an al-Qaeda operative who will wipe out my savings account.

Negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.

4. You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.

Among their many shortcomings of your family and friends is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims.

Did your boyfriend forget the six and a half month anniversary of your first movie date? Did your girlfriend refuse to call at an appointed hour? Did your friend fail to fawn over your tribal tattoo?

Unmet expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Minimize your expectations, maximize your joy.

5. You are waiting for a sign.

I have a friend who won’t make a decision without receiving a “sign.” I suppose she is waiting on a trumpeted announcement from God. She is constantly paralyzed by a divinity that is either heavily obscured or frustratingly tardy. I’m not disavowing that fate or a higher power plays a role in our lives. I’m just saying that it is better to help shape fate than be governed by it.

6. You don’t take risks.

Two words: Live boldly. Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.

7. You constantly compare your life to others.

A few years ago I was invited to a nice party at a big warehouse downtown. I was enjoying the smooth jazz, box wine and crustless sandwiches. What more could a guy want? Later in the evening I noticed a steady parade of well-heeled people slide past and disappear into another room. I peeked and saw a large party with beautiful revelers dancing and carrying on like Bacchus. Suddenly my gig wasn’t as fun as it had been all because it didn’t appear to measure up to the party next door- a party I didn’t even know existed until just moments before.

I do this frequently. Those people are having more fun. Mary has a bigger boat. Craig gets all the lucky breaks. Ted has more money. John is better looking.

Stop it.

Always remember what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

8. You let other people steal from you.

If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.

9. You can’t/won’t let go.

These are getting a little harder aren’t they? That’s because sometimes you have to work at happiness. Some hurdles are too difficult to clear by simply adjusting your point of view or adopting a positive mindset.

Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to turn your back on a failed relationship? Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?

Life is full of loss. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it.  It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow.

Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to “manage” your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.

You’re not alone. Find someone who understands and talk to that person. Reach out for support. If all else fails, try #10 below.

10. You don’t give back.

One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.

It doesn’t even have to be a big, structured thing. Say a kind word. Encourage someone. Pay a visit to someone who is alone. Get away from your self-absorption.

When it comes down to it, there are two types of people in this world. There are givers and there are takers. Givers are happy. Takers are miserable. What are you?

This is me again. Erin. I’m adding to the list, below, if you find yourself compelled to read. In the interest of transparency, the author of the above awesome-list does not know me, and my below additions are not associated with him:

11. You are too afraid you’ll hurt someone’s feelings, so you don’t work with facts or even tell the truth / whole story:

“Survey-says,” people would rather hear the truth, up-front, than a watered-down-version of something, in order to spare someone’s feelings. The truth can be worked with much easier than stories that don’t add up. In the end, the truth is, and facts are, the route to go.

12. Don’t force things that aren’t meant to be.

You want a certain group to come together like “old times,” only things have changed and the dynamic is different. Don’t hold onto the past thinking that if you can just get the people together, things will be the same as they “used to be.” Keep in mind that there are many chapters in life. Don’t hold onto memories with a death-grip, because guess what... you’re setting your experience, and the other “actors in your movie,” up for failure. Make your present chapters the best they can be, with the material you have NOW. You will not get the outcome for which you are hoping.

13. Don’t misinterpret one situation as an over-generalization to “how things are.”

Your kids all yell at you for something on the same day. You’re feelings are hurt and you’re vulnerable. This doesn’t mean that “everything is always your fault.” Take the situation at-hand, in that-moment, into consideration. Resolve it. Move on. Let it go. “Everything” is not your fault, “all the time.” And saying as much, just makes you look like you can’t get a grip on the present moment in front of you. Let it go. And really, let it go. Move on. And really, move one.

14. Consider who has always been there for you and try not to shit on them too much.

Just because someone has been there for you repeatedly in the past, it doesn’t mean they will continue to be, if they reach a breaking-point. People have thresholds for how much they can take. If they reach a point of not being appreciated or listened to, or even worse - dismissed altogether - they may not be there much longer. Just because the sun has risen each day in your life so far, it doesn’t mean it will rise again tomorrow.

15. Don’t take things too seriously. Lower your expectations a bit.

Life is short. Shorter for some than others. We are never guaranteed another day. don’t take present moments for granted, and think about lowering your expectations of others. This doesn’t mean we should assume that half of us are going to die this afternoon and the other half should lower the bar for “being” barely off the ground so we aren’t let down.

It simply means that by having too high of expectations could be setting up your loved ones for failure. Try harder to set people up for success and acknowledge their accomplishments. Don’t stew over the facts in your mind, of small things they did yesterday, when today is today, and right now is a new moment. Move on. Make this moment, and this day, a great one.

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