Emotional Wellbeing

Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

8 Mistaken Routes to Happiness

1) Putting life on hold for the future

To a certain degree, we all live life a little bit in the future. We make plans,s we set ourselves goals and it is very important to have some sort of direction for the future. This is because it adds meaning and purpose to our lives. The problems begin when we neglect the present moment by not being mentally present. It becomes easier to make excuses for the current state of our lives when we can tell ourselves that the future will be brighter. This strategy becomes dangerous when the promise of a prosperous future is a way to excuse the misery of the present moment.

Life is not a dress rehearsal and the power is in the moment. Make the most of the time you have now and find ways to extract joy in the here and now.

2) Material possessions

I used to mistakenly believe that those with money must be happier than those without. I am not referring to extremes as those on the poverty line will obviously have many challenges. What I am referring to is this notion that people with money are happier and more content. It is a very easy comparison to make but it is a mistaken one. I met a man six or seven years ago who had incredible wealth. The irony is that he was never happy. I thought that being surrounded by money, yachts, first-class travel and hotel suites would be paradise on earth. It wasn’t.

I can still remember sitting in a coffee shop by myself in the beautiful resort of Courchevel 1850, feeling completely alone and sad. It really isn’t about the material possessions, it is all about your attitude and the people you surround yourself with. When you no longer see money and possessions as the solution to your emotional state, you will be on a healthier route and not a mistaken route to happiness.

3) Being busy all the time. Does achievement lead to happiness?

Being busy is a great way to bury your head in the sand and ignore what’s really important in life. A mistaken route to happiness involves fooling ourselves into believing that being busy means we are good, productive, and valuable people. why does being busy make us more valuable? Feeling valuable should never be dependent upon achievement or how busy we are for that matter. Achievement can be a good thing but it should not be relied on as a way to feel happy and fulfilled. Happiness comes from healthy self-awareness and independent thinking.

4) Will power – instant gratification over long term goals

Giving in to our immediate whims can lead to self-loathing and unhappiness. A healthy dose of self-discipline can go a long way to improving the way we see ourselves. Of course, there are times when we deserve to spoil ourselves or when instant gratification is the right thing to do. It pays however to keep in mind that giving in to what you want now over what you really want the most will lead to inner conflict.

5) Getting too caught up in doing rather than being, neglecting people, friends

I have read many books, being two seminars and workshops, and spoken to many people and my conclusion is always the same. People seem to feel at their happiest when they are connecting with other like-minded people. That wonderful feeling you get when you’re talking to someone who shows empathy and understanding for your ideas and views of the world. This is when we feel included and involved in the world part of the bigger picture. When you get back to basics, it really is all about relationships and the emotion that goes with them. The beauty of relationships is that we have to slow down and take a moment out of our busy lives to engage with someone else. Time slows down and we are engaging in  “Being” rather than “doing”.

6) Allowing negative thinking to ruin the moment. “What if, but theirs is better, but there’s still more to do. It’s never enough”, comparing…

Have you ever felt really happy in your situation when you suddenly find yourself focusing on what might go wrong? It is almost as if there is a form of self-sabotage and play. We begin to think that we do not deserve to be happy on some level and almost begin to expect something bad to happen. This is when it is important to remember not to buy into your thinking. Your thoughts are not facts. The nature of your thoughts is an indication of your underlying fears. They are therefore subjective in nature. Once you’re thinking and try not to allow negative thoughts to ruin your happiness and emotional well-being. Negative thinking is most certainly one of the most mistaken routes to happiness. We mistakenly believe that worry will keep us safe. Distract yourself, enjoy the moment, and believe that the good times can last.

7) Not being present in the moment, losing the essence of the moment by mentally staying stuck in the past, or being too invested in the future.

Mindfulness is a word/concept that is used a lot nowadays. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment. The power is right now. Now is when you have the ability to immediately influence your surroundings. The past cannot be changed in the future is not here yet. Every thought and action that you have now is shaping the future. Learn to harness where you are right now instead of living in a mental zone that is five steps ahead-the power is not there yet.

8) Listening to the ‘noise’ of others, what others think…invest too heavily in the ideas and opinions of others and you will lose yourself in the process.

This has to be one of the most common mistaken routes to happiness. Human beings are social creatures and we will and actively be influenced by others around us. Many people however do not seem to have clear boundaries between themselves and others. They and others influence them heavily and the results of this are increasing self-doubt, lack of confidence, and indecisiveness (as well as procrastination). I refer to the opinions and judgements of others as ” noise” because that is exactly what it is. You can listen by all means but be sure enough of yourself to still make the ultimate decision regardless of how others will react. So many people suppress their true selves in order to fit in, be accepted, and be liked.

In five years’ time you will be the one living with the consequences of the decisions you make today, but these people judge you and place pressure on you. Be a rebel, the unconventional, do what feels right for you. I see so many clients who secretly admire those that dance to their own beat. It is the brave, self-confident people who go against the grain. Be brave, silence the noise, tune into your inner wisdom and instinct and follow your heart. This is the true path to happiness…

Mandy X

Photo by Werner Du plessis on Unsplash