I was talking with a friend at lunch, and the topic of happiness came up. She confessed to me that she often feels upset because her life doesn’t align with those she sees online. “It seems like everyone is traveling or buying nice things, and I feel like a failure because I can barely afford my bills. I feel like if I just buy that new bag everyone has, I’d feel happier, but I never do.” She mentioned that she feels pressure to buy new things constantly, to project an image of wealth when in reality, she can’t afford any of it. All for the sake of fitting in.
I completely understood where she was coming from, and it is a feeling I am all too familiar with. Feelings of inadequacy, like you’re living life wrong because you lack money or nice things, are all too real. It’s something most of us have struggled with at one point or another, and we let it prevent us from living our best life. Please keep reading on for four of the lies we tell ourselves that are holding us back from happiness and success.
I’ll Be Happy When…
When I buy that designer bag. When I take that big trip. When I lose weight. When I buy a bigger house.
Everywhere we look, we will always find someone who has more than us and looks happier than us. Social media especially can make us feel bad about ourselves and pressure us to live up to unrealistic standards. We pretend to be better than we feel: we put a smile on our face, we overspend, we overeat, or overwork all for the sake of fitting in. Inside, we are hurting, we are lonely, and we are craving real connection. If we feel like our life is supposed to look a certain way and it doesn’t match our expectations, we feel down and off-track.
Focus on the journey, not the end destination, and on all of the little amazing things in your life today. Practice gratitude. It’s nice (and healthy) to have goals, but don’t let them stop you from living in the moment. We all feel envious at one point or another- it’s hard not to feel jealous when scrolling social media and seeing people living their best life. If that happens, take a step back and consider avoiding social media for a little while. While it’s nice to look, if you start comparing yourself, it can lead to deeper feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
What Others Think About Me Matters
This is something I personally struggle with, and have for most of my life. So many of us make choices based on what others may think or say. We try to fit in, and may hide pieces of ourselves to do this. Realize though that other people’s opinion of you doesn’t really matter. What matters most is how you feel about yourself. Practicing self-love and compassion will improve your relationship with yourself, and takes your attention off of needing other’s approval. Sure, we all want to fit in and feel liked, but if you are sacrificing your mental health, well-being, and possibly even financial well-being just to accomplish this, then you are doing more harm than good. Trust me when I say this, buying that expensive bag isn’t going to make others like you more.
Going After What I Want is Selfish
No, it isn’t. So many of us feel guilty when going for what we want. Meanwhile, we stay stuck, miserable, and longing for more. By actively pursuing your goals and dreams, you feel more satisfied and happy, and it can help bring your life meaning. Chase those dreams, girl! Be your best self, and don’t hold back: you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.
Giving Up Means You’re a Failure
Many of us believe that giving up on something is failure, and we continue to hold onto people, situations, or beliefs and habits that don’t serve us anymore, and may be preventing us from feeling better. Try shifting your perception to see that you are always changing and growing. What you needed once you may no longer need, or want, and give yourself permission to let go and move on. You’ll feel happier, and it will allow you to set new goals for yourself.