If you’re anything like me, then chances are you make things harder than they need to be at times. Generally thanks to overthinking and worrying about things that turn out to be absolutely fine.
I’m better than I used to be, and am working on letting things go and trusting my instincts more and taking action rather than staying still and thinking things over too much.
There are 3 things in particular that I’ve come to realise, and am working on remembering, that can really help make things in life easier and help us feel happier.
1. You can’t control everything, but you can control how you react to everything
I think this is a lesson that we all take a long time to learn and even longer to consistently put into practice.
There are loads of things in life that will happen that we have no control over.
It might be big things like redundancies at work or health issues. Or it might be small annoyances like hitting every single red light on the way to school or finding that the supermarket doesn’t have the one thing you really needed in stock.
We can’t control any of these things, but what we can control is how we react to them.
Our initial reaction is often a reflex response of anger, frustration or sadness, and that’s completely fine. It’s what comes after that immediate response that matters.
We can choose to stay with those negative emotions about the situation or we can take a breath and choose another way. We can choose to see the situation from a place of growth, of love, of learning, of acceptance, or even amusement.
Life becomes much easier and happier if we choose the second option.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other people
This is so, so hard, especially in this time of social media when we’re constantly exposed to other people’s highlight reels.
It’s all too easy to look at the apparently perfect, polished lives of other people and feel that we’re failing somehow in comparison. The thing we all need to remember is that these images we’re seeing aren’t real. They’re not a true reflection of people’s lives. No one has a life that is as perfect as it looks on social media.
The same goes for feeling like other people are further along on their journey than you, or that they have it all together in a way that you don’t.
Remember that we have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors, how hard people have worked, how many hours they’ve put in and how much help they’re getting from other people. And chances are that mum on the school run who looks calm and polished feels just as chaotic as the rest of us, she’s just better at hiding it in public.
If you want to feel happier then stop comparing yourself to other people.
Focus on your own journey, work on improving what you want to improve for you and stop worrying about where other people are in comparison.
3. Don’t worry so much about what other people think about you
Honestly, they don’t think about you half as much as you think they do.
There’s a theory in psychology called the spotlight effect, which basically states that we all have a tendency to believe that people notice us way more than they actually do. We feel as if a spotlight is on us all the time, when really other people are so caught up in their own lives and issues that they often don’t see the things we’re worrying about.
It’s an absolute waste of time and energy to worry too much about what other people think of you.
Wear the clothes you want to wear, follow your passions, have a second piece of cake with your coffee when you catch up with friends. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, do the things you want to do, the things that make you happy. Don’t let fear of what other people might think or say about it stop you from going for what you want.
Because chances are they won’t give it anywhere near the amount of thought you think they will.
In case those three things aren’t enough, here’s one more bonus thought to remember:
Let the little things go
If something is making you angry, or upset, ask yourself that classic question, will this still matter to me in a year’s time?
I’ll bet that the majority of the time the answer will be no.
In which case, just let it go.
Don’t dwell on those little things that just don’t matter. Don’t let small upsets and frustrations ruin your whole day, or week.
Have a rant or a cry if you need to, then let it go and move on.
You’ll feel so much happier for it.