My friend Brandi posted a link to an article titled 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy and I decided to respond to it because in my quest to become a better person it seems like I’ve came to enlightenment.The article suggests that you give up these 15 things to make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. I do agree, in the past years I allowed many of these things to make me stressed to the point of pain. It’s only a few years ago I began the journey to become better, wiser and let in positive growth. Hopefully how I did that will help you in your journey. I’m deﬁnitely not perfect but whenever things bother me these days, I respond, “nope, not that thought.”
Here’s how I tackled these 15:
1. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT
I am just right. I allow that, in my mind anyway. However, the person that I’m speaking with doesn’t need to know. Sometimes it’s just less of a headache to allow the opinions of someone else to take precedence than argue your opinion, experiences and self worth. This is a good practice because you can decide for yourself whether this person helps or hurts your happiness. Sometimes the relationship with that person is more important that the need to bite your tongue is better than the consequence of always being right. I don’t have that big of an ego.
2. GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL
When I ﬁrst started taking tango, I ran into this issue of giving a total stranger the permission to guide me across the ﬂoor in any direction he chose. Tango involved nonverbal communication with my male partner. Imagine how this affected my very feminist mindset and type A personality. When I let go, I fell in love with the dance. I allowed my partner to just be. We were both in class to learn, we were in a safe environment and the worse he could do is run me into a wall or prop and I’d refuse to dance with him again. Fair. I wanted to learn, he wanted to learn — beyond that, it didn’t matter who he was or who I was.
3. GIVE UP ON BLAME
You give people permission to take away your happiness. So, one of the things I’m absolutely proud of when I work with others is the feedback about how relaxed I am. I know what I need to do to get things done and I just do it. If something goes wrong, I am conﬁdent that I can handle it. If I didn’t succeed, I shrug it off, call it a loss and go in another 110% next time. One thing I absolutely loathe and have no sympathy for is when others blame their parents or situations for their current state in life. Think of this, “someone is always worse off.”
4. GIVE UP YOUR SELF-DEFEATING SELF-TALK
Love this one. I wake up daily get ready for the day and remind myself of how far I’ve come and hope that I can positively affect the world around me. I’m not a loser. I love to win and I’ll do my damnedest to. I’m good at what I do and will only continue to get better with time. The mind is also a very dangerous thing. If you succumb to it, it will control your life. You’re not your mind.
5. GIVE UP YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
I have to thank John Boyd for this. He had this mantra that he continually instilled in me when we worked together learning about technology. How far can a little poor girl from the island go? I’ll say, far. The mantra was, “if Bill Gates can do it, you can do it.” I don’t have billions yet but I won’t stop thinking that I just might one day. Dreaming about living in NYC when I was 7 years old, while I lived in Dominica, was impossible to me. It’s over two decades since I had that dream. I’ve been in NYC for awhile now.
6. GIVE UP COMPLAINING
I think positively daily. I also believe a long run can solve anything. If I’m stuck, I strap on my shoes and hit the pavement. People, situations and events won’t make me unhappy, sad and depressed. I won’t allow them. I made the decision to leave my last job when I was 400 feet in the air, parasailing off the coast of St. Thomas, on my birthday. I did a lot of complaining then. I stopped myself because I realized that I had been blaming someone else for my unhappiness. I decided to remove myself from the situation that I had no control of.
7. GIVE UP THE LUXURY OF CRITICISM
I love having the ability to just not care and being selﬁsh. I can only improve myself and looking at others and how they can improve themselves isn’t a productive use of my time. You want to rock that hairstyle, do you. You want to spend time gossiping, do you. You want to be racist, sexist and homophobic, that is really all on you. I’m on this earth to make myself happy buddy and you’re wasting precious seconds and brain cells. It’s true, we all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and understood. Everything else, shouldn’t matter.
8. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS
I love this. I wake up in the morning and my thought process is simply to wear something that doesn’t clash — but seriously, who cares? People get away with wearing anything in NYC. I buy what I need and I don’t follow the latest trends. I’ve got to be honest though, I often wonder what it would be like if I was super-fashionista-diva a la sex and the city. Then again, I also “dance to the beat of my own drum.” I don’t have time for clones, I’d only feel like I’m competing against more of myself. These days, I am on a quest to better myself. Bettering myself includes eating better, becoming healthier, clearing my thoughts, decreasing my stress levels, modifying my body to get stronger and enjoying the journey. I also want to get better and better at my job. I don’t believe in being someone that I’m not for others to like me. You either can stand me or not. Once you live for yourself and not others, people are more curious about who you are and befriend you naturally.
9. GIVE UP YOUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
One of the most difﬁcult things for me was realizing that my opinion changed yearly… Sometimes monthly. I’m a continuing project of growth. It was difﬁcult at ﬁrst because at times I had great passion for what I believed in at the time. Admitting defeat when I attained enlightenment allowed me to embrace each situation. My life only improves… Especially when I follow, “all I know is I know nothing.”
10. GIVE UP LABELS
Be open to everything that’s different and nothing will surprise you. Just accept people as is without judgement. You get insight into their lives and you get to expand your mind.
11. GIVE UP ON YOUR FEARS
This was the toughest. One of my biggest fears was failure. I believe that I failed sometime in 2010 and I decided it wasn’t so bad that I’ll never be able it handle it again. I live being ready for anything. Fear is an illusion, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES
My favorite. I started working out without a new years resolution because I’m so difﬁcult at keeping them. I just went ahead and did it because it was a goal that I’m passionate about setting course. When I meet people that ask abut my exercise, some often tell me that they don’t get time to workout and that they don’t get the right time to cook or they are big boned so they can’t lose weight. I stay quiet and shrug it off because I know that they are only making excuses. Those acquaintances usually aren’t great colleagues. They limit themselves to their true potential.
13. GIVE UP THE PAST
This was the toughest. I always bring up my past relationship because I’m so anal about being a perfectionist (don’t ask how this is even possible). However it took me a couple years to ﬁnally let everything, every ounce of regret and just accept what I have is in the moment and that chapter of my life has closed completely and shouldn’t be reopened to fester the infected wounds. When I did that, I completely enjoyed every aspect of my life. The ability to love without hang ups To let anyone in.
14. GIVE UP ATTACHMENT
When you realize that you can leave the world with absolutely nothing despite all your money, fancy clothes, etc. that you can leave completely naked and vulnerable… back to the grave, you give up attachment.
15. GIVE UP LIVING YOUR LIFE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS
I learned this from a young age and I can say wholeheartedly say: I’m never jealous of anyone. I’m currently living my own life. Dancing to the beat of my own drum and improving what’s valuable for myself. I’ve only one life to live and I only have one shot of making a difference. I’m truly enjoying the journey which isn’t a carbon copy of anyone else. I’ve certainly had others follow what I’ve done and I’ve in turn been inspired by many but it’s the biggest compliment to inﬂuence others but don’t make their lives your own. I get messages sometimes from peers who tell me how they admire that I’m doing my own thing and becoming more and more successful in my ﬁeld. The thing is, something that I may make seem ﬂawless is actually quite challenging but since it’s my dream, the road to get to my goal is enjoyable, I can’t imagine being a copycat is enjoyable… You might as well change your name to that persons’.
Please yourself and your journey will be more enjoyable.