To answer “How do I ﬁnd happiness?”, maybe the best thing we can do is turn that question around and ask “What is keeping me from being happy?”
I probably convince myself on a daily basis the real thing keeping me form being happy is money. After all, if I had money, I wouldn’t have to bust my ass quite so hard just to make rent, car payments, insurance, school loans, cell phone bills, gas money…. oh right and I have to eat every day…jeez!
Where oh where did all my hard earned money go? Almost daily I curse those kids who are lucky enough to come from wealthy families, with parents who pay all their bills while the lucky little brats sit by the pool or have lunch with other rich jobless friends and “focus on [insert vague skill here].”
Fine, let’s be honest. I live in LA and there are a lot of rich kids like that, but for the most part almost all my friends are in the same boat as I am, so I really can’t just blame everything on “wah wah wah, I wasn’t born rich.”
So what is it? What is holding us back? Happiness can’t be THAT hard, can it? The simplest, most obvious, and perhaps sometimes hardest to accept answer is… ourselves.
That’s right, we are often the thing keeping us from being happy. Now I accept that a certain amount of terrible shit happens that is completely out of our control: people die, accidents happen, the list goes on. But let’s put all of life’s unfortunate circumstance aside and focus on the easiest thing we can change to get one step closer to happiness: “Me.”
We all have some kind of bad habit(s) that effect our chances of being happy, and usually we’re pretty aware of it. What we’re not aware of is that these bad habits are a way of sabotaging our happiness.
In relationships, we all know, or have dated, someone who is a liar. Why lie? If you lie, the person you’re with is bound to ﬁnd out about it eventually and then they won’t trust you anymore. If they don’t ﬁnd out, well congrats; you’re a great liar and a shitty partner. There are often a thousand little habits engraved into our brain that we do without thinking.
In my last relationship, I used to have the bad habit of going out after work with friends all the time and telling my boyfriend I was “working late.” Anyone who works in freelance knows how easy this is to do not just once, but night after night. I convinced myself this was not a big deal; after all, I wasn’t cheating on him or anything like that. Before I knew it, lying was like second nature to me and I started lying about things that I didn’t even need to lie about. I just couldn’t stop.
Why do this? Because I didn’t want to go home to him? Yup. Because I was unhappy with my current situation and too scared to make a move and get out of it? Sure, that one too! Looking back now, I can say what a chicken shit I was. I could give the excuse I didn’t want to hurt him or I was young and unsure what I wanted for my life, but simply put, I was self-sabotaging my own happiness. I had two choices: stay and stop lying, or get out.
Lying is a tricky thing. On one hand it’s so easy to lie about everything and anything. On another, it’s so easy to tell the truth, you just have to stop being a chicken shit and own up to yourself and the shit you’re doing. Either way, trust me, when you’re in a relationship the only way you’re going to ﬁnd happiness is to stop lying, otherwise you’re sabotaging the relationship, yourself, and not to mention hurting the person you love (and if you don’t love them, then for god sake get out now!).
Career-wise, procrastination is my biggest form of self-sabotage. Somehow it seems being a procrastinator has became cute and funny. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone tell a lame procrastination joke, and sadly I’ve probably said a few myself. Because I am a procrastinator I have a mental ‘To Do’ list about hundred pages long, and then when it comes time to sleep I decide to stress myself out about how long the list is. What an idiot!
Any time I hear the word taxes I want to throw up in my mouth because I am dreading how much I owe. In reality, I should have sat down a week ago for what – a whole hour – and just finished my taxes and not have to worry anymore.
I have half-written scripts, my website needs redoing, I should be emailing people about work or just sitting down and directing something that I can do for free, but instead I’m staying up late watching episodes of “Homeland.”
Even as I write, I’m thinking to myself “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” But honestly it doesn’t matter. I’ve asked myself that question almost every night as I lay in bed unable to sleep… but it’s okay, I’m a procrastinator! TeeHee! ::wink face::
…Procrastination is not cute! It’s self-sabotage and keeping me from getting closer to my goals because I’m scared of failing. Somehow my stupid brain thinks that if I put my work off I can possibly put off failure, when in reality I’m probably just hurting my chances of succeeding by not getting off my ass and making shit happen.
Why do we get in the way of our own happiness? I was in my old relationship for six years, and I knew for a long time I didn’t want to be in it anymore. Why didn’t I act sooner? I still don’t know why, but what I can tell you is once I ﬁnally manned up and took control of my life and broke up with my boyfriend, I realized how happy you can be in a good relationship. It’s just ridiculous how much better things are in now, and how easy it is for me to not lie anymore.
We have to stop being afraid of changing ourselves or our situation to get happier. Whether it’s a job we hate, relationship we want out of, a move to another city, or just to get our damn taxes done, we can’t stand in the way of ourselves. Self-sabotaging is dangerous. Try your best to stay away from it. I was able to change once… let’s hope I can keep it up!
So what did we learn?
- I’m still bitter about kids who don’t have to pay their own rent.
- Self-sabotage is one of the worst things you can do to yourself and will prevent you from being happy.
- Don’t be a liar. No one likes them and they never end up happy in relationships.
- Procrastination is NOT cute.
- Do your taxes early; they are the worst. I’m going to go do mine now…no, for reals. I promise.
By Tina Densmore