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Sabotaging Your Happiness: 12 Ways You Can Ruin Your Life

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You can have everything you’ve ever wanted and more, yet still be dissatisfied and unhappy with your life. But what can you do to change that?

If you feel down in the dumps about yourself, it’s probably because you have habits, attitudes, and actions that are hindering you from being the best person that you can be. In fact, these things can even ruin you and your chances of happiness. Find out how you might be ruining your own life and the things you can do to stop this from happening.

You are ruining your own life…

#1 By being lazy. It’s natural to be lazy, but it can help tremendously if you keep yourself motivated and driven. Putting off things by procrastinating or not going after what you really want because of the effort it entails is the definition of laziness. This attitude holds you back from progress and growth, whether in your career or your personal life.

What you can do: Add structure to your life. Create a schedule and make sure to follow it. Don’t let yourself be sidetracked, and keep your priorities in check. This gives you motivation to reach your goals and make the most out of your day.

#2 By talking about other people. Gossiping is like a toxin. It poisons your mind. It’s often a vice that you know ruins you in some way or another, yet you can’t stop. Sure, you may get some temporary highs out of talking about other people, but in the end, gossip just brings negativity. No matter if what you’re talking about is true or just a rumor, no one benefits from gossip.

What you can do: As it’s been said, “small minds talk about people, big minds talk about ideas.” Be the bigger person and avoid gossiping at all costs. If someone tries to talk about someone else with you, just avoid the topic or smile and walk away. It’s just another negativity that you don’t need in your life. [Read: 12 ways to stop negative people from sapping your energy]

#3 By doubting yourself. While self-reflection and self-critique can help you improve, they can also lead you to self-doubt with the wrong frame of mind. Doubting yourself will always make you hesitate and may even leave you stuck in a rut because you don’t trust your own decisions.

What you can do: If you’re going to make a big decision, like a career choice or moving to a different city, research all you can about it first. Learn about the pros and cons; and for once, trust your judgment! And once you make your decision, then by all means, stick to your guns.

#4 By being afraid. Fear can be crippling. It may lead you to stagnate, whether it is in terms of your career, relationship, or self-growth. While fear is healthy and can even protect you from doing something stupid, it is only helpful to a certain extent. If you are afraid to try, you’ll never know what lies beyond; you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to learn, so you’ll never grow.

What you can do: Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before. That is the only way you’ll get to where you’ve never been and experience things you haven’t before. If things don’t work out, be prepared to pick yourself up and try again, a little wiser this time around. [Confession: I don’t know what to do with my life]

#5 By caring too much about what others think. You can’t please everyone. Even if you’re the ripest peach there is, there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. Basing your actions and decisions on what others may think will just leave you feeling empty and greatly disappointed with them and with yourself. At the end of the day, most of what people say about you is just a reflection of themselves and their own insecurities.

What you can do: Learn not to care about what others think. It’s a matter of practice. If you want to do something but are hesitant because you’re afraid to disappoint a friend, family member, colleague, or even an utter stranger, throw that thought away and just do what you wanted to do for yourself.

#6 By making excuses for others. Ever had someone hurt or take advantage of you, yet you ended up tolerating it because you made excuses for their actions? You make yourself believe that it’s all right to be treated poorly by others, and this can leave you battered and drained in the end. Don’t deprive yourself of happiness for the sake of other people.

What you can do: There will be concerned people around you who may warn you that this person is just using you or taking advantage of you.Instead of validating that person’s actions and mistakes, take time to listen and find some truth in what genuinely concerned people have to say for your benefit. After all, the way other people treat you is their responsibility, not yours.

#7 By making excuses for yourself. Another way you are ruining your life is by making excuses for your own mistakes and shortcomings. While everyone has some room for improvement, it doesn’t help you to make excuses for them. You are robbing yourself of the opportunity to learn and to push yourself to be better.

What you can do: While it’s unhealthy to base your self-worth on what people say, you still need to discern what constructive criticism is amidst all the noise. Instead of being down or being indignant about these criticisms, use these as a launching pad to be better at what you do or to improve your attitude.

#8 By worrying too much. Worrying can also rob you of those moments when you should be happy. Instead of being grateful about little triumphs that come your way, you tend to brush these aside because you are more focused on your worries. You may not be able to see the good things in front of you because you’re busy worrying about something that is not even happening yet.

What you can do: Live in the moment and throw your worries away. A good way to prevent yourself from worrying is to have a plan so you can be prepared for anything that may come your way. When a problem really does occur, deal with it and move on. [Read: 13 happy things you need for a truly happy life]

#9 By choosing the wrong job. Often, people get stressed out by being in a job that they are not passionate about. If that’s you, then you know the feeling: you are just like a drone, a robot, going through the daily grind just because it offers you a steady paycheck.

What you can do: Think about this: the future will take care of itself. Do something that you really love, something that you are passionate about, and watch yourself grow. There are many inspiring stories of people who’ve quit their jobs to pursue their passions. Know that you can be one of them.

#10 By choosing the wrong person. You really don’t know if you’re in a bad relationship because more often than not, you are blinded and in denial. At this point, it’s easier for others to see what the relationship is doing to you, so listen to what they have to say, but know that you’re still the one who has to ultimately decide.

What you can do: Ask yourself: are you really the person you want to be when you’re with your partner? Are you really happy? It can be draining to be in a destructive relationship. It’s a hard choice, but if you find that your relationship is fueling the negativity in your life, you’ve got to put an end to it before it completely destroys you. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

#11 By choosing the wrong friends. You can be around people who influence you to be negative. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. As with romantic partners, there are also friends who can drain you emotionally, physically, and even financially.

What you can do: Stay away from these negative people. You deserve more out of life than to be around negative company who just makes you feel bad about yourself. [Read: 17 bad friends you need to unfriend from your life]

#12 By holding onto your past. Shit happens, that’s a fact of life. Heartbreak, confusion, disappointment, frustration, embarrassment, loneliness, anger—these are all part of life. These moments are meant to teach you and make you stronger.

What you can do: Don’t allow your past to dictate your present. Let it go. Those were moments, memories. Don’t let them ruin how you view your life and your world today.

[Read: What should I do with my life to make it better in no time?]

At the end of the day, you should be excited and happy to be alive. Get rid of all the excess baggage that is weighing you down so you can be more open to the positive things that can *and will* come your way.

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Tiffany Reyes
Tiffany Grace Reyes
Tiffany is a wordsmith who has played with words ever since her letter-to-the-editor was published nationally at the age of 9. Since then her writing has gone f...
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4 thoughts on “Sabotaging Your Happiness: 12 Ways You Can Ruin Your Life”

  1. insulin says:

    I’m a 22 year old guy. Long story short when I was 19 I was with the wrong crowd and one night we broke into our high school. I now have 2 felonies, have been to jail for it and if I fu*k up on my probation 1 more time (I got a dwi last summer, went to jail for that too, so I’m on extremely thin ice with the probation dept.), I have a prison sentence looming. I owe them so much money, I can’t afford to pay it off. (Around $20k). Having a felony has ruined everything and it’s going to be there forever. I want to go to college but I don’t think felons qualify for aid. I just want the constant fear to go away. I want everything to be okay. My worth in people’s eyes is that of a murderer since I have a felony. I’ve never taken a life, but I wonder if it’s time to take mine.

  2. Estranged penis says:

    Damn. You are ruining your life if you are not staying true to yourself. I have lived a fake life for 209 years and now that I am turning 24, There is no turning back. I am facing my life with happiness in mind. I don’t care what people are going to say anymore- no! I am going to step out of my comfort zone and release the tiger in me. I have the eye of the tiger and I will never stop reaching the goal I have set. The goal to be happy!!!!

  3. one call away says:

    Happiness to me means being content with my place in the universe. I don’t have a ton of money or even a job I enjoy that much. I do have a lovely wife and an awesome dog. I don’t live in a big house, I don’t have that much influence in anything super important. I’m just another person. Now I could lie and say “I’m happy because I don’t give a shit about what people think.” I do give a shit, to an extent. I care what my wife thinks about me. What my family and coworkers think. I have to keep things going all the time and can’t really say fuck it because people count on me. I don’t want to be looked at as a shitty husband or lame ass guy because I tried finding happiness through ignorance and apathy. I get my happiness when I feel like I have lived up to the expectations of the people I value. There’s a lot of work involved in being content and living up to expectations. They seem to go against each other. There are brief moments where I day dream that I’m a park ranger in the middle of nowhere mountains. Part of me thinks I’d be happy out there, but I know I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. It’s a lot of work to stay happy. You have to realize where you stand in relation to everyone else, but also rise above the expectations of those you value most.

  4. dont care says:

    It was extremely hard to focus on work inside and outside of class. I could stare at a book for a very long time before I could focus attention to it. These problems started at a very young age. I was recommended medication when I was in grammar school, but my parents decided against it. Once college started everything became much harder for me, especially reading. This became so problematic that got prescribed adderall to help guide my focus. However, as I began taking a normal dose, I found myself to take on personality traits(active with the adderall) that were extremely undesirable. Although some of these are not traits, I soon realized friends I knew who also took adderall and myself, would: talk in depth on subjects that are truly of no interest to others, suffer from exasterbated social anxiety(due to overawareness), reduce investment in social relations(personally I wanted to be by myself most all the time), become very angry over small things(many times meaningless), become victims of racing thoughts(leading to anxiety/anger of a situation through over-thought and rage susceptibility), and lastly develop a lack of verbal creativity/bubbliness/overall comedic potential. I decided shortly after taking time to observe others and myself, these victimized attributes, especially sense of humor and normal anxiety levels, were not worth the benefits. Although I understand I have a problem with attention, especially a disengaged feeling with schoolwork, the drugs symptomatically affect me too strongly for consistent use. Since I’ve stopped taking it I notice I am much more hyper and overall my personality is back to where it used to be before I started taking the drugs. I’ve come to realize that having ADD is just a part of who I am and I no longer want to change that. I choose to just embrace it.

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