Constantly pursuing goals such as high-status jobs, money, and the perfect partner can result in us never finding peace and happiness.
It’s great to have goals and ambitions in life. However, we can sometimes get caught up in the ‘I’ll be happy when’ trap. We think we will be happy when we get the promotion, find the right partner or even when we achieve enlightenment.
But each time we achieve a goal, another one pops up and we decide we won’t be happy until we achieve that one too. We can never be happy if we are always pursuing something that seems just around the corner.
With this in mind, here are seven things you should finally stop pursuing:
We all want wonderful relationships. But when we let the lack of one make us unhappy, it becomes self-defeating. We are unlikely to attract the right people in our lives if we are miserable, lonely or needy. Although this is sometimes easier said than done, we need to start treating ourselves as if we were the love of our lives.
Remember that when we are happy and fulfilled and living the life we want, we are more likely to attract people with the same energy into our lives.
Realistically, we all need a certain amount of money to survive. There is nothing wrong with trying to earn enough to be secure. And it’s definitely worth trying to get out of debt to increase peace of mind. However, we still need to have a positive relationship with money.
Earning more, and seeing your bank balance rise will not necessarily make you happy as many millionaires will attest too. Having more money often brings new responsibilities and worries. Pursuing money at any cost can have a negative impact on health and relationships. It also becomes a trap where we never feel we have enough.
To be happy, we need balance in our lives. Try to develop a positive attitude towards money and learn to appreciate it for the sake of the good it can do for you, your loved ones and others. Stop pursuing money just for the sake of it and see what you could use the energy for that would be ultimately more satisfying.
Being good at our jobs feel great. And we all like to see our achievement reflected in success and promotions. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of needing a promotion for the sake of our self-esteem.
Sometimes, we then take on a job that makes us less happy and more stressed. Before applying for a promotion, check it is for the right reasons and that you will find the new job fulfilling. You also need to make sure you will still be able to live a balanced life with the extra responsibilities it brings.
Give up pursuing promotion just for the sense of success and status it gives you and pursue meaningful work and a balanced life instead.
4. Material Possessions
Although pursuing material possessions may seem like the same as pursuing money, it can come from different motives. Sometimes, we seek money because it makes us feel secure, especially if we come from a poor background. However, craving material possessions is more often about how we appear to others.
Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with having material possessions, as long as they genuinely make us happy. But trying to make ourselves happy simply by buying stuff is never going to work. A new TV or car or house may make us happy for a few days, a week or even a month, but it will rarely change our underlying levels of contentment, peace, and joy.
Often, we want more stuff so we can to impress others with it. This comes from a basic insecurity, a feeling that we are not enough and that we have to prove our worth. Honestly, if your only friends are those who like you because you have cool stuff, then it might be worth expanding your social circle.
We need to stop pursuing stuff in the expectation that it will make us happy. It rarely does and the stress of earning more and having more to insure, look after and protect often just leads to more anxiety.
We can run ourselves ragged trying to be perfect. In fact, the guilt we feel when we do anything less than perfect can be crippling. But we can never be perfect. There is simply no such thing. Every person has a different idea of what perfect should be anyway. Perfectionism often comes from a sense of not being good enough. We try to please all of the people all of the time and end up exhausted.
What would happen if we simply aimed for ‘good enough’. To help with this, it’s a good idea to give up watching TV and consuming magazines that show this non-existent perfect lifestyle.
No one lives in a perfect home or has perfect hair and clothes all the time, no matter what the advertisers might want us to think. It’s time to stop pursuing perfection and get off the merry go round of chasing constant perfection.
When we try too hard to find happiness, it seems to become even more elusive. We try adventures and vacations, new homes and relationships, partying, alcohol, meditation, shopping and even long walks in nature. But it doesn’t ever seem to be in any of these things. The truth is, happiness is not out there in the world, it can only come from within.
I don’t know how to be happy all the time, so I can’t tell anyone else how to do it. In fact, I’m not even sure we should try to be happy all the time. But I do know that it’s our response to the things that happen out in the world that make us happy or unhappy and not necessarily the things themselves.
I actually believe that grief, sadness, and anxiety are natural emotions that we should allow ourselves to feel. In fact, if we allowed ourselves to feel them, we might also be able to allow ourselves to feel joy, bliss, and happiness too.
Having said that, there are some good ways to boost our happiness. Showing gratitude and appreciation for all that we have, and helping others have both been proven to give our happiness a boost.
Recently achieving inner peace and enlightenment seems to be another thing that has been added to our to-do lists. We now feel like we have to be self-aware, loving and forgiving all the time.
We must meditate every day or go on a silent retreat to become enlightened. I am not an enlightened being myself, so I can’t tell you how to achieve it. But I think perhaps making a decision to finally stop pursuing things and fully accepting ourselves and our lives might be a good place to start.
Pursuing goals and material possessions is not a bad thing in itself. However, feeling that we can’t be happy until we have achieved all our goals and live a perfect life is a recipe for disaster that will keep us on a treadmill or hard work and disappointment for the rest of our lives. Only by taking the time to appreciate all that we have at the moment can we enjoy the journey of life instead of focusing only on the next destination.
What other things might we need to give up pursuing in order to achieve happier lives?
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