If you genuinely want to be happy in life, start saying no to these 8 things

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Happiness is a choice, but often our choices are influenced by factors that don’t promote genuine joy.

As Lachlan Brown, founder of Hack Spirit and expert in mindfulness and Buddhism, I’ve discovered that saying no to certain things can lead to a more fulfilling life.

In my journey, I’ve identified eight specific things you should start rejecting if you’re seeking true happiness.

These aren’t just standard no-no’s like negativity or toxic relationships. They’re deeper, often overlooked aspects of life that can subtly steal away your joy.

Let’s dive in and explore what you need to say ‘no’ to, for a more joyful, contented life. Trust me, it’s going to be an enlightening ride.

1) Living in the past

It’s a simple truth that we can’t change the past, yet many of us spend an inordinate amount of time dwelling on it. As a mindfulness expert, I can assure you that this habit is detrimental to your happiness.

Why? Because it robs you of the joy of the present moment. It’s like driving a car while constantly looking in the rearview mirror. You’re bound to miss the beautiful scenery right in front of you and, worse, risk crashing.

The past may be filled with regrets, mistakes, or unpleasant memories – things we wish we could change or erase. But clinging to these thoughts only breeds unhappiness.

Instead, I encourage you to say ‘no’ to constantly reliving the past. It’s not about forgetting or ignoring it; it’s about acknowledging it without letting it consume your present.

You’re here now, not then. Embrace the present moment as it is – it’s all we truly have.

2) Chasing perfection

In my journey, I’ve learned that the quest for perfection is a surefire way to invite unhappiness. As a human, you are, by nature, imperfect. That’s not a flaw; it’s a feature.

Perfection simply doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion that only leads to disappointment and self-criticism. When we chase after perfection, we set ourselves up for continuous dissatisfaction because we’re pursuing an unattainable goal.

Buddhist monk and mindfulness guru Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”

This wisdom aligns perfectly with saying ‘no’ to perfection. It’s about accepting your imperfections and understanding that they don’t diminish your worth or your ability to experience joy.

Choosing to stop chasing perfection isn’t giving up; it’s giving in to reality and embracing yourself as you are. That’s where genuine happiness lies.

3) Attachment to material possessions

Buddhist wisdom teaches us that attachment is the root of all suffering. This is particularly true when it comes to material possessions. We live in a culture that constantly bombards us with the message that happiness can be bought, that the next gadget or fashion item will finally make us feel content.

But the truth is, material possessions are fleeting. They break, they go out of style, they get lost. And each time this happens, if we’re attached, we suffer. We feel a sense of loss, dissatisfaction, or frustration.

What’s more, this attachment diverts our attention from the things that truly matter in life – connections with others, personal growth, experiences, and contribution.

It’s time to say ‘no’ to the relentless pursuit and attachment to material things. Realize that true happiness cannot be found in possessions but in living a meaningful life with purpose and love.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy material things; it simply means not basing your happiness on them.

4) Neglecting self-care

In a world that glorifies busyness and productivity, it’s easy to neglect self-care. We often push ourselves to the point of exhaustion, ignoring our bodies’ signals for rest and rejuvenation. But the truth is, this approach isn’t sustainable and is detrimental to our happiness.

Mindfulness teaches us the importance of being in tune with our bodies and minds. It encourages us to take time each day to check in with ourselves, to rest when we need to and practice self-compassion.

So, it’s high time we say ‘no’ to neglecting self-care. Our health – physical, mental, and emotional – should be a priority, not an afterthought. Remember, it’s not selfish to look after yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Commit to taking regular pauses throughout your day to breathe, relax, and just be. It will make a world of difference in your overall happiness.

5) Living with a bloated ego

Throughout my journey, I’ve observed how a bloated ego can become a roadblock to genuine happiness. When we’re ruled by our egos, we become overly concerned with how we’re perceived, we compare ourselves to others, and we’re never truly satisfied.

The ego thrives on superiority and separation. It convinces us that we’re separate from the world around us and that our worth is tied to being better than others. But this is a distorted view that only breeds unhappiness.

In my book “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”, I delve deeper into the concept of ego and how it can obstruct your path to happiness.

It’s time to say ‘no’ to living with a bloated ego. Embrace humility, practice compassion, and foster connection. We’re all part of the same human family, experiencing the same ups and downs. Recognizing this interconnectedness leads to a happier, more fulfilling life.

6) Ignoring the present moment

In both Buddhism and mindfulness, there is an emphasis on the importance of being present. It’s often said that life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. But how often do we actually take the time to stop and truly experience the present moment?

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in thoughts of the past or anxieties about the future. But when we do this, we miss out on the richness of life happening right now.

Ignoring the present moment is like watching life pass by from a train window. It’s happening all around you, but you’re not truly a part of it.

It’s time to say ‘no’ to ignoring the present moment. Start practicing mindfulness, whether through meditation or simply paying more attention to your everyday activities. The present moment is all we really have, and it’s where happiness truly resides.

7) Resisting change

Change is an inevitable part of life. Yet, we often resist it out of fear or a desire for comfort. This resistance, however, only leads to suffering and prevents us from experiencing true happiness.

Buddhist wisdom teaches us the concept of impermanence – that all things, including our own lives, are in a constant state of change. By resisting change, we’re essentially resisting the natural flow of life.

Renowned mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn once said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”. This quote beautifully encapsulates the idea of embracing change rather than fighting against it.

It’s time to say ‘no’ to resisting change. Instead, learn to ride the waves of life with grace and resilience. Remember, change isn’t always negative. Often, it’s an opportunity for growth and new experiences.

8) Always seeking comfort

It may sound counterintuitive, but always seeking comfort can actually hinder our happiness. Comfort zones are cozy places, no doubt, but they’re also where dreams go to die.

You see, growth and learning often occur when we step outside of our comfort zones. Mindfulness encourages us to fully embrace each moment, even if it’s uncomfortable or challenging.

This doesn’t mean you should seek discomfort for its own sake. It simply means not avoiding experiences or decisions solely because they’re unfamiliar or scary.

It’s time to start saying ‘no’ to always seeking comfort. Push your boundaries, try new things, and embrace the growth that comes with it. Remember, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

In conclusion, genuine happiness is not an external pursuit, but an internal journey. It involves saying ‘no’ to the things that hinder your joy and embracing those that foster growth and fulfillment.

While these changes may seem challenging initially, I assure you they are transformative steps towards a more contented life.

For more insights and guidance on this journey, I invite you to check out my book “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”. It’ll provide you with a deeper understanding of Buddhist wisdom and how it can be applied practically to enhance your happiness.

Remember, the journey towards happiness is a personal one. Don’t rush it. Take one step at a time and be patient with yourself. After all, it’s not about the destination, but the journey itself.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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