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16 Things You Need To Give Up To Have a Happier Life

Many fail to realize that happiness is a choice. You have to work hard for it and be prepared to give some things up. Why not take up the challenge?

things you need to give up for a happier life

We’ve all heard tales of people who live their entire lives blaming the world for their misfortunes. We’ve also heard stories of how some people go through their whole lives not having really lived. Don’t be a mere statistic in this sad pie chart of life. Whether it’s leaving your unfaithful spouse or switching departments at work, garnering happiness is an exciting process that can only be undertaken by you and you alone. Be sure to take your life into your own hands and do everything you can to be happy.

Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

The thing about being happy is that it doesn’t require much. All the wealth, materialism, attitudes and mindsets that you’ve accumulated over the years mean nothing when it comes to being truly happy. We as humans have been chasing the wrong end of the stick since day one, and it’s time we stopped. You can start by giving up some of the things holding you back from achieving peace, love and happiness.

What you need to get rid of to have a happier life

I’ve paired each tip with a quote from someone who has lived through it, so don’t be afraid to take advice from those who know what they’re talking about. With that being said, here are 16 things that you need to give up to lead a happier life.

#1 Toxic people.

“Surround yourself with people who are going to take you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

Let go of all the idiots who belittle you, want to see you fail, make you cry, stress you out and make you feel bad about yourself. They are undeserving of your time and certainly don’t need to be in your life.

It may be hard to cut some people out, particularly if they’re close friends and family, but sometimes, you have to do what’s best for you. Down the road you can consider building bridges again, but until you can be completely happy with your life, focus on you and not on them. [Read: 10 toxic friends you should avoid]

#2 Competitive nature.

“It is a matter of what you do best, not what the other fellow is going to do.” -John Adams

There’s nothing wrong with doing a great job, but once you start worrying about what others are up to and try to outdo them, that’s when things get ugly. Let go of your competitive nature for a calmer and happier life.

When you’re trying to outdo everyone around you, the pressure and stress of performing will get to you, and it’s only a matter of time before you crack. Not just that, withholding goodwill towards others and hoping for their failure is not a good look on you. [Read: How to stop being jealous of other people’s success]

#3 Yearning for money.

“Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty.” -Leo Rosten

I’m not going to be so ignorant as to say that money doesn’t matter. It really does, and the more you have, the more likely you will lead a comfortable life. However, that’s all it is. Money and comfort give you the illusion of happiness, as they command stuff that you don’t need.

Always remember that no matter how much money you have, you will never have enough, so there’s really no point in giving up your time and beautiful relationships to make any more than what’s going to offer you a comfortable life.

#4 Need to blame.

“Winners take responsibility, losers blame others.” -Brit Hume

You have to give up your need to blame someone for whatever mishaps you meet. From arguing about who left the porch light on to whose fault it was in the breakup, stop pointing fingers at everyone, including yourself. Once you stop worrying about who to blame, you can start fixing the problem and moving on.

#5 Waiting for the right time.

“Don’t wait, the time will never be just right.” -Napoleon Hill

Timing may be everything when it comes to certain things: stuff like crossing the street and getting to the airport on time require precise timing. However, in the grand scheme of things, if you want something, you have to make it happen now.

Don’t wait until the stars and moon and tides and universe align, because it’s not going to happen. All you really need is the feeling that it’s the right thing to do. Whether it’s quitting your job or getting married, now is as good a time as any, because as morbid as it may seem, you don’t know if you have tomorrow.

#6 Obsessive behavior.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James

Control your mind, and give up obsessing over silly things. Worrying about why he didn’t call or why she said that or why he did that or why they behaved that way will never get you anywhere. Obsessing over things that you can’t change is a surefire way to be miserable. You need to realize that life goes on no matter what, so don’t dwell on petty things that you can live without.

#7 Closed mindedness.

“A closed mind is a dying mind.” -Edna Ferber

Another way to lead a happier life is to give up close mindedness and invite in new ideas, people, places beliefs and experiences. When you see the world through someone else’s eyes, you open your mind to life’s endless possibilities. You will find that there’s no one way to do something, but rather, there are myriad options out there. Traveling is a wonderful way to see the world through someone else’s perspective, so plan your great, mind opening escape soon.

#8 Materialism.

“Nowadays, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” -Oscar Wilde

Material wealth is the silliest way to gauge happiness, and you need to snap out of that mindset now. The lonely woman in New York who owns a thousand pairs of $500 shoes is no happier than the barefooted woman in Indonesia with a loving family. The unkind executive who drives a Lamborghini is a waste of space as opposed to the rickshaw puller who gives half his earnings away so that his village can build a new school.

It’s all a matter of changing your perspective on what makes a person wealthy. Once you can understand that, only then will you be happy.

#9 Judgment.

“When you judge another, you don’t define them, you define yourself.” -Wayne Dyer

To lead a happier life, you have to stop judging other people. Why should you care what someone else is doing? The only reason you disapprove is because they’re not living their life according to your rules, and why on earth should they do that?

If your widowed father knows what he’s doing and wants to date a woman half his age, then so be it. If your coworker wants to dress that way, then so what? So long as it makes them happy and puts a smile on their face, you have no right to judge and say that they should do things differently. [Read: 5 lessons to help you deal with judgmental people]

#10 Guilt.

“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are filled with yesterday’s junk.” -Louise Smith

You will never be able to move on and be truly happy in life if you’re being bogged down by the anchor of guilt. Stop thinking about what you could have said differently, what you should have done instead, what if you had been nicer, what if you had been more patient, what if you had made it in time to be at her deathbed.

We are all haunted by guilt. Whether it came about from something that we did or didn’t do, there’s no changing the outcome. Let all the guilt go, and if you are able to, start making amends. You will not only feel better, but you will also realize just how much you can grow from the experience.

#11 Excuses.

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit excuse you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” -Jordan Belford

If you really want to do something, you will get it done. Human history has taught us that anything is possible if you want to do it, so give up making excuses today. They are nothing but hindrances to you living the life that you’re supposed to live.

Whether it’s procrastinating working on your thesis or convincing yourself that you shouldn’t leave your abusive husband, stop making excuses right now. Once you figure out why you’re doing something, you will be able to do anything to get there. [Read: 6 big telltale excuses that get you nowhere]

#12 Fears.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” -Paulo Coelho

Everything from starting your own business to asking a girl out on a date takes courage and gusto. Nothing good ever came out of being afraid. Sure, some may argue that being cautious is a projection of fear, but that’s not true. If you hold on to fear and refuse to take risks, you will never know just how high you can jump.

What’s the worst that could happen? You fail and end up back where you were? If that happens, at least you can say that you tried and you will be much braver the next time you take a risk.

#13 Other people’s expectations.

“You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations.” -Stevie Wonder

Of course there are certain things that you have to take responsibility for, such as providing for your family, being a supportive friend and so on. However, unless you’re the government, you shouldn’t be doing what other people expect you to.

Don’t feel pressure from your parents to get married, don’t let your friends goad you into thinking that your job doesn’t pay well enough, don’t let your spouse tell you that you’re a disappointment. At the very least, take whatever is thrown at you and convert that into constructive criticism. There’s nothing wrong with improving your life, but just be sure that you’re not doing so just to please other people. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser and you don’t know it]

#14 Need for attention.

“I don’t pay attention to the ratings.” -Martha Plimpton

The moment you give up your need for attention, you will immediately be a much happier person. This is perhaps one of the hardest things to give up, because our world is so ingrained in our need to get others’ approval.

Everything from counting the number of likes on Instagram to posting rubbish on Facebook, they all count as attention-seeking tendencies. You should be doing things to impress yourself, and not the 2000 friends and followers that you have on social media. [Read: 16 attention whore signs to watch out for]

#15 Convention.

“Be inspired that it is never too late to break free and attract the life you love, fulfilling your dreams and goals.” -Caryl Westmore

You should give up living a conventional life if you want to know the meaning of true happiness. We live in a world that others have dictated for us. From how we are educated to who we are today, it is all part of a bigger plan mapped out for us by society and those pulling its strings. Break free from the chains that they have determined and choose your own life path.

I’m not saying you have to do something extreme like go live in a bunker-commune in the middle of nowhere. I’m just saying that you should inject something worthwhile into your life. Travel more and pursue your passions. See how other people around the world are living and learn from them. Speak to people who lead unconventional lives, hold unconventional jobs and absorb their passion for living. Life is more than a 9-5 job, having a mortgage, owning an SUV and all the other conventional jazz.

#16 Looking back.

“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. It has nothing new to say.” -Mandy Hale

Your past may define who you are now, but that’s all it’s meant to do, so stop living in it. How are you supposed to move on if you can’t let go of what happened? If he cheated, move on. If she took half of your money during the divorce proceedings, get over it. If you experienced something traumatizing, take the necessary steps to let it go. Sign up for some therapy if you have to, but don’t let the past taint your future. Remember that it’s never too late to start fresh.

[Read: How to let go of the past and be excited by the future]

Just like everything else in life, being happy is a choice and something that you will pursue when you’re ready. It’s only a matter of time before you wake up one day and realize that what you thought was happiness is a mere illusion. Hopefully, that day comes sooner rather than later and when it does, you will know just what to do next.

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Gemma Hsieh
Born in Singapore and raised in Canada to multi-racial parents, Gemma is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the world,...
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