You want to just stay in bed forever and never get up. You feel lonely and you feel the light inside of you dimming as you think no one cares.
Luckily, my parents saw and recognized how truly unhappy I was and told me to do whatever I needed to get happy. At first I refused to believe they were releasing their expectations of me and giving me permission to do whatever I wanted.
But they were. They said your happiness means more to us than you living out the expectations we have set out for you.
This was a turning point for me. For the first time in a long time I felt the weight lifted off my shoulder. I had a glimpse of hope I may find happiness again even though I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen. All I knew was I started to follow what tugged at my heart. And do things that made me feel good. I started to care less about what others think and stopped trying to please everyone else. Listening to my inner voice, my inner calling.
As I began to learn to love myself again, I realized there was a culmination of things I did that led me down the unhappiness road. Here are the 4 things you need to let go of to stay on the happy trail.
1. Let go of Expectations
“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” ~ Sylvia Plath
a. Let go of your expectations of others.
We often expect more from others and less from ourselves. When we do this we are often disappointed and let down. Why would we expect more of others than ourselves? Would it be fair for others to depend on us to fuel their happiness?
So let go expecting others and circumstances to make you happy. When you do this, you are no longer dependent on external forces to fuel your happiness.
You are putting yourself in control of your own happiness. This source is coming from within. You are choosing to draw on your own personal power to pick the thoughts and actions that makes you feel good and brings you happiness.
b. Let go of living out other people’s expectations
Likewise, when you start to live your life based on other people’s expectations, you are not honoring who you are and you lose yourself along the way. This was what happened to me. I was trying to please everyone and in return also expected others to meet my needs. And when they didn’t I became more resentful. I also forgot what made me happy as I try to live under the construct of what others believed was best for me. Because if I pleased everyone, I would be loved right?
Eventually it took a toll on me. So instead, listen to what others have to say, explore for yourself what feels right to you, and choose to do what is best for you. Then take responsibility for the decisions you make. Know that whatever happens, you have everything you need to tackle it.
When you let go of this idea of needing to live out other people’s expectations because their happiness is dependent on you, you become a lot happier. Don’t miss out on being you.
2. Let go of your Control
Knowing that we only have control over ourselves, you need to be willing to give up your need to control what happens to you and around you. You need to just let things be and unfold as they do. And as things unfold you can adapt and tweak how you respond to a situation, event or people. Trust the universe and know that the outcome you seek may take several adjustments to come to fruition. Or if it doesn’t happen look at it as a blessing in disguise.
3. Let go of sweating the small stuff
Sometimes life gets the best of us. We get caught up with life’s trivial matters. Like missing the bus. Getting news we didn’t get the job we wanted. A friend canceling on us last minute.
Little things can add up throughout the day which leads us into a funk. When you become self-absorbed and forget about all the good things in your life, you start a self-pity party because your expectations aren’t met. When this happens, shift your attention to what you are grateful for. Try looking at the situation from a third person’s perspective. Notice what changes. Often times, you’ll find the stories we make up is just our own imagination from our own point of view and it doesn’t necessarily depict reality.
4. Let go of negative self-talk
It was not until I started doing yoga, reading up on personal development materials and working with a mentor did I realize how negative and mean I was to myself.
When you become aware of your thoughts, you can then catch yourself saying things you won’t normally say to your friend. And when you do, forgive yourself. Apologize to yourself. Sorry for beating you up and putting you down. And change your internal dialogue to how you would talk and comfort a friend or a child. Nourish your mind with positive, empowering thoughts.
Let go of expectations and control. And dance with the flow.
Because you deserve to be happy.
Also by Theresa: How to Strengthen the Bond Between You and Your Partner
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Photo: Abigail Keenan via Unsplash