Every time I start to be, what my husband calls me, Negative Nancy, I like to look back at my time as a college student. I was majoring in Political Science and one of the requirements is that I needed to take (and pass) a class called Western Philosophy. I loathed going to class, not because the professor read off of PowerPoint slides, but because I was not particularly interested in the material. After all, my professor was a Harvard alumnus, a leader in his field, and he was very inspirational. You can tell that he loved what he was teaching.
Now that I look back at that class and all the readings that I did, I can’t help but always think about this one quote by a famous Greek philosopher:
Happiness depends upon ourselves. - Aristotle
The reason I am bringing this up is because I have a tendency of
unintentionally hurting myself by always having this negative mindset everywhere I go. If YOU want to be happy, STOP doing all the things that are making you unhappy.
Do you want to know how to live an unhappy life?
1. Continuously Comparing Yourself to Others
This basically sums it all up. WHY would you compare yourself to others? Do they have the same life, upbringing and ambitions as you? PROBABLY NOT.
I was raised by single mom in a not-so-good area of the city, where I would see gangs hanging out at the corner of the street. When I was in high school, I did not go to a private school. Instead, I went to a public school, where I knew who were the drug dealers. Not because I did drugs (I didn't, I promise!), it was just a fact. When I was in college, I would sometimes be embarrassed of where I came from. I didn't live in a big a house or in the suburbs like many of classmates, instead I lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with my siblings and mom.
I am telling you this story because I still ended up becoming a college graduate, with a GPA close to 4.0, despite the environment I was in. I got a full ride scholarship. I do not have any student loans. I like to say that my mother helped me out a lot to get where I am right now, but I should just take ownership of my successes.
Yet, I still tend to compare myself to others. I can say that is my major flaw. I still am sad (somehow) that I didn’t go to law school, like many of the talented undergrad students that I went to school with. I had the grades after all? How many of my friends have stable and exciting careers (some high paying jobs for 25 y.o). How my husband’s cousin owns a house with his wife and we do not yet.
The thing is we are not walking the same path in life. We are most likely in different stages in our lives. TRUST ME, every one is fighting their own battles. We all have our personal issues. So STOP thinking you are less than every one else because you do not have that 6 figure salary, or you’re not a lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc.
Be proud of what you have accomplished so far and set more goals to be a better you. If you do not change your ways, you will end up being that miserable woman/man that curses at people for no reason.
You can tell by my post that I still have some insecurities, but I guess it’s like that for many, not just myself. I try to not think about it sometimes, so that I do not go crazy. What I like to do is write about what I am thankful TODAY and what I am looking forward to in THE FUTURE.
WHAT I AM THANKFUL TODAY
- My Husband & how understanding and supportive he has been since I moved to the U.S.
- My Bachelor’s degree
- Having no personal debt
- Having family & friends that care for me
- Being healthy (THANK GOD)
WHAT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO
- Getting all my immigration paperwork approved ASAP so I do not have to worry about it anymore
- Find a job that makes me happy to the point that it doesn’t really feel like a job
- Being able to help my husband financially
- Meeting new people where we currently live so I do not feel lonely
2. Trying to ALWAYS Please Others
Remember when you were in high school and you just wanted everyone to like you so that you can be popular? Yeah, that does not work post-high school.
There will always be this one person (or a few) that will hate you no matter what. Maybe they are jealous? Whatever their reason is (valid or not), trying to please everyone will make you miserable.
You should be focusing on YOUR happiness, not everyone else. STOP living for others, you should be living for yourself, you only have one life.
I remember when I used to work at a bank. It was my first job, post-college. There was this girl that happened to be a law graduate, but she worked in the compliance department. She HATED me. Like literally off the bat. She was obviously overworked and stressed all the time. Yet, her goal everyday was to rub her misery in everyone's face. She was definitely the "Negative Nancy" of the office. She would come by my little cubicle, snap at me for no reason, and would go gossip or what high schoolers would say "talk trash" about me.
Wait? What did I do to her? NOTHING! I didn’t even know her. She just needed someone to make fun of so that she could de-stress. I remember being so affected by her. I was stressed everyday I would come to work. Why? Because she was SO negative. I couldn’t focus on the positive things in my life, like having a full-time job.
After awhile, I decided to take ownership of my own happiness. Why should her opinion of me matter?
3. Staying in relationships that DO NOT help you grow
"I think it would be the right move for me to apply to law or business school." "I am thinking about becoming a real estate agent. It could be my plan B." "I am going to volunteer at a homeless shelter, or a shelter."
- NO WAY it’s too expensive, competitive. You will never get in. Your grades are not high enough. It will take you too long to finish. You need money now.
- Why would you go into real estate? It’s only for stupid people. Only people that can’t afford to go to college do that. You have a college degree. You shouldn’t do something that is below you.
- Why waste your time volunteering? You should be working and making more money.
- I am too busy to go out for coffee, maybe next time?
We all have these type of people in our lives. WHY do we keep them? Out of sense of obligations, because you’ve known them for a long time, because they are family?
Trust me — I’ve heard all of these. First off, YOU DO what makes you happy. If you do not try, how will you know if that career is for you? People that devalue you are usually people that are insecure themselves. They try to pull you down. They are negative vampires.
I still have some of these people on my Facebook list. I am
thinking going to erase them from my list. WHY? Because they do not help me grow as a person. They bring negative vibes and tension in my life. I have already a lot of worries in my life — why add more?
Also — I am sure everyone has that type of friends that constantly cancels on you or does not make any effort to see you or catch up with you. If I am ALWAYS the one trying to organize a meeting or outing with you, then there is something wrong in this “friendship”. It’s supposed to go both ways. If you value your relationship, you should at least try to make some time for each other.
People can be rude — even when they think that are not or that they are being honest. Ugh — sorry I just hate these type of people. I just like being surrounded by optimistic people, even when I am not always like that. It motivates and drives me to be a better person.
What do you think? Have you been living an unhappy life? Are you trying to be a better you? Do you have these type of people in your life?