It’s only when we acknowledge that we are 100% responsible for our own happiness that we start to ‘notice’ our actions that create our unhappiness and start to shed the habits that sabotage our contentment and joy. Many of us do not want to accept that their very habits are the cause of their unhappiness. Here are the 7 habits of highly unhappy people:
Judging: When you judge others you lose your inner peace, the primary ingredient of authentic happiness, on the mental heals of which often come the sentence and the punishment! All together (judgment, sentence and punishment), they make up the package called ‘condemnation’ which is a guaranteed happiness killer!
Criticising: Criticising is attacking, and somewhere ‘in there’ usually lies anger albeit in a milder form. And when you are angry you are unhappy. Some of us hide criticism behind ‘constructive criticism.’ Any criticism with anger is more often revenge; any criticism with revenge, however gentle, is punishment in disguise; an unhappy habit.
Complaining: Complaining is endemic in some cultures. Complaining signals the presence of distress and therefore the absence of happiness whereas ‘giving feedback’ and ‘making a request’ ensure that there is no discontentment. Easy theory, but hard to practice, especially if we have been playing that old ‘complaining record’ all our life.
Blaming: Projecting blame onto someone else is not only a happiness killer but usually a habit to avoid responsibility. It’s driven by the perfect combination of anger and fear and is therefore a painful cry that sounds like, “It’s all your fault”, but which, when decoded, really means, “I have just made my self very unhappy!”
Arguing: Trying to prove we are right, or attempting to make others right, is usually both a tense and grumpy affair. Neither side is happy in the process, and even if it seems one side has won, any happiness is short lived until the next opportunity to ‘be right’ is craved for and invoked! To argue is to tell the world that we prefer misery to merriment!
Competing: Most of us have assimilated the belief that competition is good, fun and even joyful. But a glance at the faces of long distance runners, tennis players will show that 99% of the game is played in a state of abject suffering. Occasionally, in the middle of the game or the match, someone will let a little joy slip out, but it doesn’t last long. Competition contains fear by definition, which along with anger, are the sworn enemies of happiness.
Controlling: Attempting to make others dance to our tune is a demonstration of the belief that others, and not we, are responsible for our happiness. If the truth were realized and lived i.e. that we are each responsible for our own happiness, the world would be a very different planet on which to live.
These 7 of many habits block the light of sun of happiness from shining through our life. Each habit is embedded in one culture or another and has become acceptable though social collusion, thereby sustaining unhappiness and passing it on to the next generation.
Action: Identify your habits that cause unhappiness, rate them, shed them, find their positive equivalents and imbibe as your habits.
Adapted from Mike George’s article, The 7 Habits of Highly Unhappy People! © 2010