Believe it or not, when it comes to being happy and loving your life, little things matter and even the words you use from day to day make a difference in how you see the world. Is this the one mistake holding you back from being happy?
Is This the One Mistake Holding You Back from Being Happy?
The one mistake I used to make all the time when I was depressed that was holding me back from being happy was the way I identified myself. Even though I wanted to be happy, I still identified as a depressed person and a victim. I would complain about how depressed I was and how much my life sucked.
“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach
Maybe you really ARE a victim in some objective sense. Maybe terrible things have happened in your life. But do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?
The more you identify as something you DON’T want, the more it becomes part of you. In order to change, you have to start identifying as what you DO want.
For example, I’ve seen people who want to lose weight who call themselves “fat” or “overweight” or a similar word in part of their screen names online or on social media. It sounds innocent enough, but if they’re actively trying to change that identity and lose weight (as opposed to being an intentionally “curvy” body positive blogger, for example), then they have to give up whatever identities they don’t want anymore. Or if you had any usernames or bios with words like “lonely,” “ugly,” “forever alone,” “depressed,” “hopeless,” etc. Using words like that will subtly reinforce those identities in your life.
If you’re talking to other people, you don’t have to lie and say you’re happy if you’re really depressed, but changing the way you identify yourself – both in your own mind and to other people – can make a difference.
Frame it in terms of what you DO want, in the present tense (as opposed to pushing it off into the future, with your words or otherwise), like “I’m working on losing weight,” or “I’m learning how to be happy,” “I’m recovering,” or “I’m pursuing my passions.”
You have to start acting AS IF. If you’re depressed, how would you act IF you were already a happy person? Completely embody that identity. What would your life look like if you were a happy person? What thoughts would you think? What beliefs would you have? Who would you hang out with? How would you spend your time?
If you take this approach, you can figure out exactly how you’d act and how you’d think if you were already a happy person, and then you can take those actions in the present. If you have any bad habits or negative thought patterns, let them go if they’re not something that your happier self would hold onto.
You just have to start acting as if you are already the person you want to be, and one day you’ll wake up and realize that you’re not just pretending anymore. 🙂
If you’d like more ways to let go of what’s holding you back from being happy, check out our 30 Day Negativity Detox.