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Life has knocked me down a few times.
I’ve seen the ugly side of it.
I have experienced loss, grief, sadness, and confusion. I’ve been happy, but I’ve also been depressed. I’ve been down, stressed, and lost. Thankfully, I’ve also been aware.
In the TV series “Raised by Wolves,” Campion asks Mother (who is also called Lamia), “Why do things have to die?” Mother looks at him and says, “It is nature. And nature is flawed.”
I’ve always been aware that nature is flawed. It is a combination of birth and death, happiness and sadness, justice and injustice, satisfaction and disappointment. We love and anticipate the good part but usually loathe the one that cripples us.
I’ve always asked myself, if I can’t change, escape, or control the part that cripples me, whose fault is it? I can’t be mad at life for being imperfect, and I can’t accept one of its cycles while rejecting the other. Because when I do, I cause myself a massive amount of emotional and mental suffering.
I’m slowly beginning to understand that when life knocks me down, I need to get back up. If I stay down, that’s on me—not life.
We usually keep ourselves down by indulging in toxic and destructive behaviors that sabotage our happiness. If we want to be genuinely happy, we seriously need to get out of our own way.
Here are seven warning signs you might be sabotaging your own life and happiness:
1. Believing your thoughts. Not all thoughts are constructive and helpful. Most of them are filled with worry, negative self-talk, criticism, judgment, and shaming. These inner dialogues often make us believe that we suck—that we are unworthy and unlovable. When we listen to them, we set ourselves up for failure.
2. Controlling everything and everyone around you. The need to control comes from the need to feel safe. Being in control might lower our anxiety or our fear of the unknown. While controlling people or events might make us feel safe for a few moments, it will surely make us (and those around us) miserable in the long run.
3. Not taking risks. Life is all about taking risks. When we do, we either succeed, fail, or learn something. But we rarely take risks because we’re constantly afraid of failure. Leaving our comfort zone is never easy—be it a job, a relationship, or a toxic environment. Please understand that when we stay where we are, we eventually become unhappy.
4. Wanting different outcomes. Striving for better results is a good thing, but obsessing over or forcefully manipulating the future is never a good thing. Can you change your situation? If yes, change it. If no, there’s no point in dwelling on what could have been.
5. Catastrophizing. When we catastrophize, we assume that the worst will happen. And it will happen if we keep obsessing over the negative results.
6. Blaming others. Maybe others are at fault; maybe not. What I’ve realized is that it doesn’t really matter. When we blame other people for our unhappiness or dissatisfaction, we keep ourselves stuck in an endless, toxic loop. Blame isn’t effective; taking action is. Instead of being consumed by blame, focus on the solution.
7. Seeking approval and validation. If we constantly seek approval from others for our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and emotions, it means we might not trust ourselves. It’s natural to want to be liked, respected, loved, and accepted, but it becomes problematic when our entire life revolves around the idea of wanting love.
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