Each of us has unique strengths and talents and we are also uniquely challenged. What is hard for one is easy for another and vice versa. Do any of the following issues stand in the way of your happiness?
Lacking in self-belief
This will always undermine you and stop you feeling happy. If you can’t demonstrate inner conviction then you will lose your self-respect and this leads into a deeply negative place. Focusing on your insecurities only makes them seem bigger and more important.
What to do
Tackle your negative beliefs head on. Simply stop taking any notice of that self-critical voice that is always telling you that you are not good enough in some way. You are good enough! Remind yourself that you always do your best and that it is quite acceptable for you to make mistakes.
Acting like a victim
It’s so easy to fall into this trap when things are not going so well. We are all inclined to look for someone or something to blame when we are challenged. But this tactic never works. If we lay the blame for our misfortunate on anything or anyone then we give away all the power we have to make the situation good. For example, if ‘he is to blame’ then I must wait for him to change his behaviour, or, if the circumstances are at fault, then I must wait for them to change. And if the rain is to blame, well who knows how long I might have to wait?
What to do
Accept responsibility for whatever is going on in your life. Yes others make mistakes and can affect us badly but we have the power to change our lives and this feeling of control is vital to our happiness. Stop any blaming activity and seek ways to improve your situation. Decide not to let yourself be victimised by anyone or anything: walk away if necessary, or wait patiently until a more auspicious time or buy an umbrella! Do whatever it takes to take charge of your life.
Feeling shy and self-conscious
Is it hard to step forward into your own spotlight? Are you hanging about in the shadows watching others do what you want to do and have what you want to have? If you are in the habit of shrinking into the background you will always feel like an underachiever and this is guaranteed to take away life’s sparkle.
What to do
Realise that you will never be happy until you can take the lead role in your life. When shyness beckons turn your attention away from your perceived shortcomings and focus on someone else. Look around for others who are lacking in confidence and give them a boost, you will soon forget all about yourself.
Shyness is linked with feelings of not being good enough so fight back with positive affirmations and assertive action. Take that risky step and you will feel like a new person. Happy people are always ready to take a chance because who knows what golden opportunities might be around the next corner?
Having difficulties with intimate relationships
Do you find it difficult to stay in a long-term relationship? Is it hard to make good decisions about prospective partners? Are you in an unhealthy relationship (ie one that is not good for you?). Do you have difficulty in communicating your needs? Are you afraid that you might lose control in an intimate relationship? If you are struggling with relationship issues then join the majority who would also love to be in a happy and fulfilling partnership.
What to do
Recognise that you attract the sort of relationship that you think you deserve. If you believe in yourself then others will be drawn to your aura of confidence and if you are self-critical then you will attract partners who will criticise you. Women are often keen to change a man in order to create the perfect relationship but as we all know this method never works. You can only alter a relationship by changing the way you are. So start to work on the relationship you are having with yourself; when that one is happy you will find it easier to have a happy relationship with someone else.
Lacking body confidence
90% of the 5,000 women taking part in a major survey said that they were ‘depressed’ by the appearance of their body, and one in ten admitted to being on a ‘constant diet’. I think that these figures are actually quite conservative; most women have a poor self-image and this cuts into their happiness in a profound way.
What to do
Stop comparing yourself with others and in particular with those gorgeous, perfect, airbrushed girls in glossy magazines. Love your body and what it does for you and appreciate your unique features. And if you are feeling depressed about your looks at the moment just get over yourself. You will never ever be happy if you are constantly obsessing about your appearance. Who do you think is looking at you and judging you in such a superficial way? Remember what matters most in your life and get a grip on what is really important. Did you choose your best friend because of her beauty? No of course not, you care for her because of her inner qualities. It might help you to remember that it is unlikely that anyone is judging because they are far too busy worrying about themselves!
Unable to make decisions
Sometimes it is hard to know which route to take and we might start asking around for other peoples’ opinions. It’s fine to get feedback but in the end whatever you decide is down to you. If you are struggling with getting the clarity you need in order that you can make a good choice, just try the following technique.
What to do
Discover your intention by asking this question: ‘What do I want to happen?’ Be clear and specific. Now consider the steps that you must take to reach your goal. Take the first step and the next step will become obvious. Trust your decision making process and trust your own judgement and the more you do this the happier you will feel.
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Copyright © Lynda Field 2015
Extracted from the book Fast Track to Happiness by Lynda Field