Last week, I wrote about breaking through the overwhelming amount of information available to create our own happiness formula. I gave some guidelines on how to do this but I realized that even if you know what to do to create your own happiness formula, we each are prone to have hidden reasons for holding ourselves back. Once we pinpoint those reasons, we can take the steps to overcome them and find our own way to happiness. So in an effort to help, I’ve listed what I believe (from personal experience) are the top 7 hidden reasons you are blocking your happiness. Have you ever been blocked by thoughts like these? Share your story in the comments or any hidden blockers I may have missed. And as you read… remember you are capable of having happiness abound.

1. You care what other people think

I don’t mean you care what strangers think (although they are also occasionally in the mix), but when we make changes in our lives, we often care what those closest to us think. Friends and family know you best and they will notice a change. What if they don’t like the changes you are making or they don’t give you the chances you need because they have expectations from the old you? These thoughts can run undetected through our minds and hold us back from making the changes we need to make to be happy.  

After recognizing that this may be the thought running through your head, how do you resolve feeling this way? Be honest with those you are closest to. Once they understand what you are trying to do, they may give you the chances you need, be supportive, and love you as they always have, unconditionally. If it’s not unconditional… you shouldn’t care what they think anyways. You only have one life and there’s no reason to live it unhappily, especially because those people aren’t living your life, they are living theirs.

2. You don’t like the storm before the calm

You’re making the choice to do things differently because you want to be happier than you currently are, meaning you must do things differently than you have been. This means upheaval, uncertainty, and even a little bit of chaos. Things will get better but it always takes time. Giving up because things are uncomfortable is one of the worst things you can do to undermine and block your happiness. Weather the storm to enjoy the following calm.

3. You’re conditioned to be a certain way

Money is the perfect example here. We often grow up hearing phrases like “money is the root of all evil” and are told fables of how greed is the downfall of men. These phrases and stories have a way of sticking in our brains and shaping our thoughts later in life. We’re conditioned to think that money is bad or we will become evil if we earn a lot of money. So we self-sabotage (also building on the worry of what those around us will think). You must break the habits that have conditioned you for unhappiness. Money isn’t bad and people with a lot of it aren’t necessarily evil either. Hard-earned money is a comfort and when used correctly, it can cause a world of good. Happiness is the same way.

4. You accept that surviving is more acceptable the success

For some reason, we’ve been told it’s more romantic if the artist struggles… as though the art would be less beautiful. And we’ve told ourselves, that success means less if we don’t struggle first. And in a world where 95% of the population is surviving, we’ve also accepted that survival is living. How much struggle and surviving do you have to have before you can accept happiness and success? Stop wasting time with surviving and telling yourself you have to struggle to be anything… you only have to be you and work hard at your dreams.

5. Your sense of identity is in jeopardy

Our sense of identity comes from what we do and who we believe we are. When you make a conscious effort to change what you do to be happier, it can feel like your sense of identity is in jeopardy. As humans, we will do almost anything to protect that sense… even if that means it’s not the best thing for us.

It’s important to remember that you are not, nor are you ever, a finished product. You can change what you do each day and be happier… without losing yourself. If you take every day as a learning experience, you learn from who you are and who you have been. This is not losing your sense of identity, but embracing who you want to become.

6. You worry the rug will get pulled out from beneath you

If things are going well… there’s always the thought that the rug is going to get pulled out from beneath you and somehow things will go back to how they were before. So why try, right? NO. Even if something goes off plan (as will likely happen), it’s a learning experience. It’s a sign that you are living life and there’s no reason to be knocked off track from your goals.

7. You believe you are undeserving

No one is undeserving. You are worthy of whatever it is you would like in life. But reading it here doesn’t mean squat if you don’t believe it. Wherever you got that thought process, whoever told you that you weren’t worthy, however, you’ve been convinced of being unworthy…. it is a lie. This thought is blocking your happiness, your success, your living of life. YOU ARE WORTHY.

Photo by Andrew Ridley