Two Myths that Make Us Unhappy

29 januari 2018

There are two ideas in our Western society that seem to spread increasingly. The more we get a window into the (edited) life of others (on social media), the more we seem to feel the need to adopt these two myths, that make a lot of people unhappy every day:

The idea that you have to be happy all of the time

No one is happy all of the time. Even the Dalai Lama has his 'off days'. And yet, whenever we don't feel completely happy, we make ourselves even more miserable because of it. The alternative is to accept that life has it's ups and downs, and that you as a person have your ups and downs as well. It's like the tides, they come and they go. But if we fight them, they will become stronger, more persistent.  So - counter-intuitively - the more you accept your negative feelings, the smaller they become, the happier you will be overall.

The more you fight your negative feelings, the stronger and more persistent they become, the less happy you will be overall. Enjoy the moments when you are happy, and allow yourself to not be happy all the time - at least you will be more relaxed.

The idea that you have to control everything all of the time

You cannot control everything, nobody can. No matter how much you would like to. (And I do understand, as a recovering perfectionist, this has long been my personal mantra) If you want to control everything, chances are that eventually you will spend more time and energy on the things that you cannot impact, and not enough on those that you can. I couldn't say it any better than the Serenity Prayer does:

'Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.'

Reinhold Niehbur

Believing in these two myths can feel like a comfort blanket: if only we could be happy all the time, and control everything, all would be right in the world. In reality, they are making life more difficult than it should be. Allow yourself your imperfection, and life will become lighter!

#myth #illusionofcontrol #youcannotbehappyallthetime #lettinggo #recoveringperfectionist

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