Dr. Kaushik Sridhar

15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy

Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are creatures of habit. Most of us live our lives on autopilot, allowing our old programming, our past fears, excuses and limitations, to run, craft and shape our lives.

1. Give Up the Past
The moment you conclude that you’ve had enough pain and suffering, you can begin working toward a more fulfilling, fruitful life. Learn to let go. Commit to forgiving what lies behind you and appreciating what lies ahead. You can work toward great happiness if you make a promise to yourself to stop fixating on the past. Instead, make the most of the present. If you push to make life to turn out exactly as you wish, you are creating the potential for unhappiness. Learn to think in ways that enliven you and don’t bring you down. If life was painful in the past, use your energy to try to heal yourself. Try to accept what happened and what you confront in the present. Only with acceptance can you create a new, hopeful tomorrow. People think that the moment you choose to forgive someone who harmed you, that person gains from your generosity. In actual practice, the person who gets most out of forgiveness is the forgiver. Forgiveness allows you to achieve peace and tranquility. Don’t concentrate only on what went wrong. Seek what you can learn from your experiences. Look for the positive instead of the negative. Feel gratitude toward those who treated you shabbily. They have shown you how not to act. When you start acknowledging life without reservation, life in turn will accept you.

2. Give Up Your Fears
To experience joy and embrace your life, discard fear. You have a limited amount of time to live. Just before you die, you will realise what you really value. You will recognise that only love matters and that fear has no substance. But you don’t need to wait until death to gain this insight. Every day, you can leave behind yesterday’s fantasies and create a more vibrant life. You can abandon the things you feared and fill your life with affection and happiness. You can give up what no longer benefits you and reaffirm your ability to love. Strive to see the world as a child does. Examine the world with curiosity and affection. You will find that fear exists only in the future or in the past. Stay in the present. Legendary musician John Lennon said that life has two “basic motivating forces, fear and love.” All other feelings are subcategories of those two emotions. With love, you experience happiness, delight, satisfaction and peace. With fear, you feel anxious, sad, depressed and tired. Love and fear can’t coexist. Discard fear and use love to navigate your life.

3. Give Up Your Limiting Beliefs
You shape your life based on the way you think and what you believe. If pessimism and despair dominate your mind-set, your life will follow a similar pattern. If you believe yourself unworthy of better things, life will treat you accordingly. You fashion your life as it exists with your thoughts. You can change your life using the same technique. By altering your patterns of thinking and what you choose to say, you can change aspects of your life.

4. Give Up Your Excuses
You might find that instead of doing things you want to do, you look for reasons why you shouldn’t try them. Are you sure these perceptions about yourself and your capabilities are valid? Examine why you think you can’t do something. Replace those reasons with arguments that will help you concentrate on why you can achieve a goal. Do something every day to help you move toward your objective. Don’t agonize about the exact steps to take. Concentrate on your destination and why getting there is important. Leave the rest to life itself.

5. Give Up Your Resistance to Change
You exist for a reason, and you have something special to offer. Discard your opposition to change to find your special path. You could fail, but life offers you the ability to evolve. Everything you encounter and everything you’ve suffered helps you understand yourself. Being alive requires change. If you fight change, you won’t experience life. Understand yourself and then you can appreciate yourself. Strive to comprehend how you see change and why you try to avoid it. Consider the benefits you gain from embracing change, rather than thinking about potential bad outcomes. Suffering comes from resisting change, rather than from change itself.

6. Give Up Blaming
Only you can choose the kind of life you want. If you persist in blaming, you will lose your sense of vitality. If you abandon blame and accept that you alone have fashioned the kind of life you have, you will gain the ability to do remarkable things. Make a list of all the things for which you’d like other people to accept responsibility and the reasons why. Pardon them all for their failures, and start doing what you want. Make space in your heart for affection and tranquility.

7. Give Up Complaining

Complaining makes you feel deprived. It encourages the illusion that your life can’t change unless the outside world changes significantly. Trust that your perception of the world depends on how you feel internally. Try to understand why you need to complain. Once you have that insight, you can abandon complaining and move to a state of inner contentment.

8. Give Up the Luxury of Criticism

You fashion your life and select the people with whom you associate depending on how you think and what you believe. If you feel troubled and unhappy, you could project those feelings onto the world. You might attract people and incidents that reinforce your negative perceptions. Instead, bring your energy to the effort to add tranquility to your life. That will build your ability to forgive the people, incidents and places that have brought you pain. When you stop evaluating yourself negatively, you gain the ability to see the rest of your life positively.

9. Give Up Living Your Life According to Other People’s Expectations

Don’t let other people’s opinions hinder you from going down the road you think you should travel. Choose the life you want even if it aggravates other people. You can offer others only as much as you give yourself. If you don’t feel peace within yourself, you won’t be able to experience peace with others. Strive to make yourself joyous and to see your life as important. Work wholeheartedly at what you think matters.

10. Give Up Your Self-Defeating Self-Talk

If you think positively no matter how poorly life treats you, you gain the opportunity to elevate yourself. Conversely, if you think negatively, any bad experience will make you feel worse. Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel harmonious, your thoughts are coming from a place of peace and honesty. If you feel that others don’t love you or don’t consider you worthwhile, your thoughts could be coming from an internal feeling of fear.

11. Give Up Control

You will almost certainly feel apprehensive if you believe you have to fight life by yourself. This feeling will intensify if you believe you have to struggle to achieve contentment. Then, you’ll try to maintain control over every aspect of your life. The more you do so, the less in control you will actually feel. Instead, trust in life’s wisdom to give you what you need. Don’t accept every dark possibility that comes to mind. Look to your inner wisdom. Tend yourself as you’d take care of a plant in your garden. Consider your goals as if they are seeds. Spread them widely, provide the right moisture and leave the rest to life. Do what you need to do, and let life take its own course.

12. Give Up the Need to Always Be Right
If you always push to prove the superiority of your viewpoint, you can harm your friendships and undermine the way others feel about themselves. Try to view everything in its proper perspective.

13. Give Up the Need to Impress Others
You probably learned over time that you must work to impress others. Set this lesson aside. Actually put yourself first – ahead of other people and things. Don’t accept the idea that you lack anything other people have. Don’t feel you need to make an impression on other people. Live in ways that make you honor and respect yourself.

14. Give Up Labels

Most people construct their identities using different classifications to separate themselves from other people. They value others and themselves based on their career choices. They prioritise people according to their looks, beliefs and social status. Your internal essence has so much more richness than the typical classifications people use to look at one another. The Earth belongs to you and everyone else on it. No one has any special merit that entitles him or her to more than anyone else. Some people may know more than others. Some have more wealth. That doesn’t mean you should treat them in a special way. It just means that they have lived in different environments and have faced different circumstances. Stop categorising. Treat everyone equally.

15. Give Up Attachment

Human nature has love at its core. As you age, you add layers of “societal conditioning” that mask your identity. You begin to experience life through a prism that highlights fear and gloom. Despite incidents during which you have been harmed either in mind or body, you can choose to start over. Embrace love, let bygones be bygones, and choose to experience joy once again.

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