Do you sometimes feel down? Like somewhere along the way you reached a fork in the road and your dreams went one way while you took the other path?
You take an impartial look at your life and figure out you actually have a lot going for you. And you wonder why you feel discouraged.
Does your happiness depend on your situation? It can't be. You know there's plenty of people living in poverty, in dangerous parts of the world who are happy.
So if your happiness is not completely dependent on your situation, what does it depend on?
Just like you can see the glass half full or half empty, you can look at your life and feel very lucky or like you missed the mark.
Let's check out some crippling thoughts which stop you from finding happiness wherever you are in life.
1. If only I was more (fill in the blank)
Stop trying to be perfect. You're always going to fall short in one area or another. Even the most successful people in the world have plenty of areas they wish they could improve.
The secret is not looking at what you don't have, but to find your gifts. Are you really good at listening but not a great speaker? Many people wish they could find a great listener and are frustrated they haven't.
Whatever things you are good at, meditate on them. Realize the great talents you have and how you can change lives for the better.
2. If only I had more money
No one feels like they have enough money. Stop anybody in the middle of the street and ask them if they could use an extra $1,000 a month. They'll tell you, "Sure!" Even people you think they have it all, can always think of something they don't have and want to buy.
Sure, money makes things easier, but it won't make you happy. If you think money is going to plug the happiness hole in your life, you are fooling yourself. How many lottery winners out there are broke and miserable five years after they hit the jackpot?
3. If only I could reach my goals
Goals can be a double-edged sword. Yes, they propel you, keep you motivated, and can help get the best out of you. But you can go too far with goals.
When you set unrealistic goals, you are setting yourself up for frustration, failure, and unhappiness. It can take a long time to accomplish goals. In the meantime, you may doubt your ability to ever reach them and fall into the discouragement cycle.
It's hard to strike a balance when it comes to your goals and dreams. It's important to have motivating goals you want to reach. But when they become all-consuming, or make you feel like you have failed, you need to rethink them.
4. If only I had the right education
Education didn't stop many of the greatest minds history has seen. Did Bill Gates or Steve Jobs finish college? They didn't. Albert Einstein was a high school drop-out and initially failed the exams to get into university.
It's interesting how society puts such a high value on degrees. They tell you you need to have a degree to get a job, make enough money, or make a difference in this world. Education is important, but it's not the only way to your dreams. Plenty of people make a huge impact without a coveted degree or in fields that are completely different from what they studied in college.
Bottom line, don't let the degree label stop you from pursuing your dreams and finding happiness.
5. If only I didn't have so many obstacles
Everyone faces obstacles. Sometimes we see big personalities on TV and assume their lives are perfect. They are handsome, they have plenty of money, and all the connections they need. Well, you are only seeing part of their lives. The ugly parts remain hidden. People don't tell you all the obstacles they had to conquer to get to where they are. That's not sexy.
Obstacles are part of life. Know they will appear and that you'll overcome them.
6. If only my partner loved me the way I want to be loved
Most of us want to live happy lives and make the person besides us happy. However we don't always go about it the right way, and it's usually not on purpose.
Your partner is not wired like you are, he may not know what makes you tick, and he's definitely not perfect. Guess what? Neither are you.
We need to adapt to each other, find where our limits are, and how to make each other satisfied. It doesn't happen overnight. Communication is key. Next time you feel frustration rising toward your partner, remind yourself of why you fell in love with them in the first place.
7. If only people would appreciate my talent
It's a fact. People are more preoccupied with themselves than with anyone else around them. They care about their needs being met, their wants being met, and being entertained.
For most of us, to be recognized and appreciated for who we are is not something we experience every day. So don't be sad about it.
You need to assert in your mind your own value. You are unique. You have talents. You can make a difference, even if it's only in a handful of people's lives. Be happy you know who you are, what you have in life, and know you'll do many great things in the years to come.
You can control the negative thoughts that creep into your mind
If you are ever faced with pessimistic thoughts, there is hope.
It's important to recognize when those thoughts are crowding your mind and threatening your cheerful spirit.
You don't need to feel sad, unaccomplished, or depressed. You can learn to recognize the lies your brain likes to tell you and stop them in their tracks.
Learn today to push negative thoughts out of your mind and regain the happiness you deserve.