You don’t need hacks, tips, and tricks to be happy. All you need is to let go.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
“I want to be happy 24/7”, he said.
I thought he was crazy.
And then I saw what he did to try to be happy 24/7: He bulldozed his way through the happiness of others to get what he wanted. He tore people down. He lied, manipulated and used them, destroying their self-worth in the process. He took everything they had to give but gave nothing back. He constantly scrambled to look and feel significant. Yet, all I saw in his eyes were pain, desperation, and tears.
Then one day, when his lies were falling apart, he asked me: “Why do people treat me the way they do?”. I had the answer to his question, but I knew it wouldn’t do him any good. By then, I’d stopped feeling sorry for him.
At that very moment, I realized that he was crazy. I also realized that happiness wasn’t all that difficult to grasp — all I had to do was walk in the opposite direction, away from him and never look back. All I had to do to be happy was to let go.
All you have to do to be happy is to let go.
1. Let go of the excuses that are keeping you stuck.
Every single day, you’re talking yourself out of taking that first step, or even the next one that will get you to where you want to go.
With every excuse you make, you lose an opportunity to make your life better and yourself, happier.
2. Let go of your shame.
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails. Everyone hurts others. All of these things inevitably lead us to feel shame around what we’ve done.
But there is one thing that differentiates happy people from the ones who are sad, and it’s this: The ability to reflect on their failures and mistakes, learn from them and move on knowing that they owe themselves and the people around them the opportunity to become better, smarter and less hurtful.
Shame has a place in your life, but it’s not meant to shackle you down.
3. Let go of your fear of growing old.
You’re born, you grow rapidly for the first 20 or so years of your life, and then your body begins to wear out and break down until eventually, you die.
The process of growing old is frightening and filled with uncertainty. Your looks fade, your hair thins, your memory fails, and your body develops illnesses that may or may not be cured, as well as links that may or may not be fixed.
But with these trade-offs come immeasurable gifts that make your life and living so valuable: Knowledge, wisdom, experiences, clarity, and empathy. This means that the longer you live, and as long as you keep trying to improve, the more you’ll have to offer as a human being.
Aim to stop growing old in fear, and start growing old with grace.
4. Let go of your need to be right all the time.
Happy people know that even though being right can feel satisfying for about 5 seconds, it’s not always the right position to be in.
While aiming to be right with the intention of solving a problem is helpful, wanting to be right no matter what the cost (even when there’s a chance that you’re not) just to stroke your ego rarely is, and it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two. One attitude can help strengthen your relationships and reputation, and the other, erode them.
So the next time you feel tempted to have the last word, consider the consequences of what you’re about to do and then ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right or would I rather be kind?”
5. Let go of waiting for someone else to make you happy.
Waiting for someone to come along and make you happy is like living your entire life stifled in a sealed box, struggling to breathe and hoping that someone will set you free so that you can finally get the oxygen you need to thrive.
The truth is, others can add to your happiness, but no one can make you happy. It’s no one else’s job to make you happy.
Happiness starts with YOU deciding to be happy. It starts with you deciding to do whatever it takes to live a life that’s filled with joy, fulfillment, and purpose, whatever it may be. It starts with you deciding to be happy with what you have now.
6. Let go of crappy people.
Happy people know that who they surround themselves with can mean the difference between a joyful life and a miserable one.
The problem with spending time with the complainers, manipulators and unaware is that other than thinking that it’s OK to be like them, you’ll also be allowing them to steal your happiness with their crappy behavior.
Take a good look around you: Who are you spending the most time with and what can you do to spend more of it with people who aren’t bad for you (and others)?
7. Let go of your need to be perfect.
‘Perfect’ is killing your dreams.
It’s stopping you from sharing your ideas. It’s holding you back from taking that first step that will change your body, health, and life. It’s robbing you of the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone to experience everything life has to offer.
The cure for perfectionism? Just putting one foot in front of the other. Again, and again, and again.
8. Let go of your limiting beliefs.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I always fail.”
“I’m not that kind of person.”
Think of all the limiting beliefs that that is forcing you to play small, or not even step into the ring of life at all.
But if you don’t try, and fail, and try again, and then succeed because you didn’t give up, how will you know what you’re capable of?
9. Let go of living like a victim.
It’s easy to let the chaos and unfairness of life swallow you whole, chew you up and spit you out, leaving you feeling jaded, disillusioned and powerless.
But what if you didn’t let it?
What if you got strong from the inside-out so you could stand your ground, and flexible enough to bend when you need to without breaking?
Whenever you start to feel powerless or tempted to play the blame game, remember this: You are NOT the things that happen to you, and others have control over you only if you let them.
10. Let go of eating compulsively to cope with life.
Happy people love to eat, but they also have boundaries with the food in their life.
Yes, they may occasionally go overboard at parties or on a Friday night out with friends, but they know how to recalibrate their relationship with food and find their way back to balance by listening to their body. They also know how to cope with the stresses in their life without using food (or other addictive substances) in a way that harms their body and well-being.
The next time feel like digging into that tub of ice-cream when you’re feeling down, ask yourself this question: “What’s triggering me to eat for comfort and how can I deal with it in a healthier way?“
11. Let go of defining yourself by what you have.
So you have the 6-figure salary, expensive car, penthouse and designer wardrobe, but still…something’s missing.
You’re not happy.
Maybe you need a better, more expensive car. And another house. With a pool. Maybe then, you’ll feel ‘complete’, and you’d finally become the person you always wanted to be. Maybe then, you’ll get the respect you deserve. But one day, as you sit drowning in all the stuff you bought over the years but never use, you realize that wearing all these things as your identity has left you feeling emptier than ever.
What if you could feel happy, whole and free without all this material, mental and emotional clutter in your life? How would you live then?
12. Let go of not being present.
Every second you experience is already gone.
This means that every minute you spend worrying, staring at your phone, being in denial or being ‘away’ from what your body is experiencing is a time that’s slipping away without you fully experiencing life and the gift or lesson that comes attached to the moment you’re in. It means missing out the warm smile that came your way, the beautiful sunset happening right in front of you, or the precious realization that something’s not right for you so you can stop wasting your time and move on.
Come back down to earth and choose to be where you are right now for as long as you can because you won’t be here for long.