“This time you’ve got it wrong, Giorgia. I want to be happy. Why would I be self-sabotaging my own happiness?!”
I know it sounds counterintuitive but… we do it all the time.
Think of all the jobs you didn’t even apply for because you knew you weren’t good enough for them.
The relationships you ruined because you made assumptions about the other person instead of talking things out with them.
The insecurities that make you feel inadequate as you go through your day.
These are just some of the ways you’re self-sabotaging your own happiness – every single day.
Here are a few more to watch out for so you take charge of your own happiness and live the life you deserve:
1. You’re Comparing Yourself To Others
I thought I had this mastered. Then, I joined Instagram. Everyone on it seems to have a bigger house than I do, more designer bags than I do, a more exciting job than I do and go on way more holidays than I do.
When you’re bombarded with everyone else’s highlight reel, it’s hard to remind your brain that’s not real life. Those people are posting what they want you to see, not the hustle and grudgery of daily life.
Truth is, you don’t know what that person is going through or what sacrifices she made to get to where she is. Maybe she’s just been dumped by her long-term partner, drained the last of her savings to pay the rent or is in pain and she’s covering it all with smiles.
If you knew the truth, would you really envy her? Don’t bother keeping track with what everyone else is doing. Slay on your lane.
2. You’re Judging Yourself Harshly
“I can’t believe I’ve just said that. I’m so stupid!”
“Why can’t I lose weight? I’m so ugly!”
“I’ll never get that job. I’m just not good enough to pursue my dream career.”
That’s your Inner Mean Girl playing her nasty tricks in your head. The inner voice that tells you you’re not enough, you’re always messing up, you’re up to no good.
She’s a big fat liar.
Next time she rears her ugly head, ask yourself this: “Would I say this to my BFF? If the answer is no, don’t say it to yourself.”
3. You’re Making Up Dramas In Your Head
“He didn’t notice I just got a new haircut. He’s not that into me anymore.”
“If I get fired, I’ll lose my home, my friends and everything I own. I will become homeless.”
“Why is Joan gossiping with Julie? They must be plotting something against me.”
A vivid imagination is a wonderful thing (I’m a writer, I should know). But not when you use it to create drama that isn’t there.
The stories you tell yourself about what is happening can help you thrive (he didn’t notice the haircut because he’s under stress at work – nothing to do with me) or can ruin your happiness (he doesn’t love me anymore).
So stop self-sabotaging yourself. Don’t create bad stories in your head in the first place. Don’t make assumptions about things you don’t know anything about. Don’t jump to worst case scenario when nothing bad has even happened yet.
If you want to know what someone is thinking, ask them. If you’re worried you may lose your job, create a plan on what to do if that happens (I’ll revamp my CV, ask my friends for openings in my industry, start going to networking events etc).
Give your mind a rest and focus it on the present moment. Everything’s alright right now.
4. You’re Building Walls Around Your Heart
I used to do this all the time. Still do.
Growing up I always struggled to make friends. Whenever I got close to someone, it would never last long. They’d move to a different town. I’d move to a different school. One of us would develop new interests and we’d grow up apart.
I made up a story that people abandoned me because I was a loser. So I started building thick walls around my heart to keep people away. The few who ever tried to get close would hit their heads against the wall and turn away.
I was protecting myself from the pain and hurt of losing another friend. But I ended up alone, with no friends.
Walls don’t just protect you from the bad things. They protect you from the good things as well. They keep happiness away.
Tear them down.
5. You’re Always Playing The Victim
“I can’t quit my job now. The economy is bad and I won’t find anything else.”
“I’m so unhappy in this relationship. My partner never brings me out or gets me presents.”
“I’m so miserable. No one understands me.”
Playing the victim is a sure recipe for unhappiness. It’s self-sabotaging at its best (or is that worst?).
When you play the victim, you’re self-sabotaging yourself and giving away all your power. The power to control the situation and turn things around for the better.
Truth is, there’s something you CAN control in every situation. If you don’t feel understood, speak up. If you’d like your partner to take you out more often, ask him. Or, book a night out and surprise him.
If you want to change your job, create a plan to find one before you give your notice. It’ll take time but time will pass anyway even if you do nothing.
Stop waiting for other people to make you happy. Choose your own happiness.
6. You’re Not Being Yourself
Social pressure is the worst. You think following the crowd is cool, but it slowly kills you inside.
I’ve always preferred dresses to trousers, yet I forced myself to wear jeans for years cos that’s what all the girls at school would wear.
I’ve always preferred to have an intelligent conversation over dinner than partying the night away yet I’d go out to clubs every Saturday night cos that’s what my friends wanted to do.
I’ve always preferred a creative career to a 9-to-5 yet for years I didn’t even admit it to myself because that wasn’t the done thing.
I was a square trying to fit into a circle, chipping away at my edges in an effort to conform. It hurt like hell. It made me miserable. It didn’t even work.
I can only do me. You can only do you. And that’s good enough.
7. You’re Neglecting Your Self-Care
Everything looks worse when you’re hungry, exhausted and sleepy. Sometimes, what you need to see the good side of life is just a good night’s sleep.
I know what you’re about to say, “But I don’t have time to sleep or eat more than a quick sandwich in between meetings. I have work to do, family obligations, responsibilities, people who rely on me… I can’t abandon them.”
I’m not asking you to abandon them. I’m asking you to take good care of yourself so you can take even better care of other people and your responsibilities.
You can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t take care of anything or anyone when you’ve burned out. That’s when you make mistakes. Miss deadlines. Start believing you’re a failure and will never get anything right.
Just get some sleep! Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s one of the best things you can do to stop self-sabotaging your happiness.
Over to you, now. In what ways are you self-sabotaging your own happiness? Share your insights in the comments below.