If you want to be genuinely happy, stop chasing these 13 things

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We all want to be happy, but often our desire for more leaves us feeling unsatisfied.

When we always want something we don’t have, we forget to enjoy what we already do have.

We keep looking forward to the next thing we want, and we miss out on the good stuff happening right now.

This article will explore why constantly wanting more can make us unhappy and offer practical tips for breaking the cycle.

We’ll share 13 things you might want to stop chasing so you can find genuine happiness right where you are.

1. Stop Chasing Perfection

The first thing you need to stop chasing is perfection.

Now, you might be thinking, “But isn’t striving for perfection a good thing?”

Well, there’s a big difference between wanting to do your best and obsessing over being perfect.

Perfection is an illusion. It’s a never-ending cycle that can leave you feeling constantly unsatisfied and unhappy, no matter how much you achieve.

Instead of striving for perfection, strive for progress. Celebrate each step forward, no matter how small it may seem.

Remember, life is about growth and learning. It’s okay to make mistakes – they don’t mean that you’re failing, they mean that you’re trying and learning!

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not about being perfect but being genuine and true to yourself that leads to real happiness.

So take off that heavy coat of perfectionism and breathe freely. You’ll feel lighter and happier for it.

2. Stop Chasing Material Possessions

We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with images of shiny new things, making it easy to believe that happiness comes from owning more.

New clothes, a faster car, a bigger house – the list goes on.

But the truth is, material possessions only provide temporary happiness.

It’s a short-lived joy that soon fades away, leaving you wanting the next big thing.

This endless cycle of wanting and buying can leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled.

It’s important to remember that the best things in life aren’t things.

True happiness comes from experiences, relationships, and personal growth.

Instead of chasing material possessions, focus on creating meaningful experiences and nurturing relationships.

Invest in yourself – learn a new skill, read more books, or take up a new hobby.

These are the things that enrich your life and bring long-lasting happiness.

So next time you have an urge to buy something new, ask yourself: Do I really need this or am I just trying to fill a void? You might be surprised by the answer.

3. Stop Chasing Approval

This one’s a biggie – and it’s something I personally struggled with for a long time. I used to be a real people-pleaser.

I wanted everyone to like me and I was terrified of criticism or rejection. My happiness was tied directly to what others thought of me.

But here’s what I learned: You can’t please everyone. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who disagrees or disapproves. And that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re true to yourself.

I remember a time when I wanted to start a blog about my love for gardening. I was so excited about it but then a friend told me it was a silly idea and that nobody would be interested in it.

I felt deflated and almost gave up on the idea, all because of one person’s opinion.

But then I realized, this was something that made me happy, something I was passionate about. Why should I let someone else’s opinion stop me?

So, I started the blog anyway. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and it’s brought so much joy not just to me but also to others who share the same passion.

The point is, you shouldn’t let the fear of judgement or rejection stop you from doing what you love or being who you are.

Don’t chase approval – chase your dreams, your passions, and your happiness. Be unapologetically you!

4. Stop Chasing the Past

As humans, we have this tendency to dwell on the past.

We replay old memories, hold on to hurts and regrets, and wish we could change things that have already happened.

But the truth is, constantly living in the past can rob you of your present happiness.

The past is a place of reference, not residence. You can’t change what’s happened, but you can learn from it.

Instead of chasing the past, focus on the now. Live in the present and make the most of each day.

Remember, every moment you spend dwelling on the past is a moment of your present – and future – that you’re missing out on.

So let go of what was and embrace what is. Your happiness is here and now. 

5. Stop Chasing Unrealistic Standards Set By Society

Society often sets standards for us – about how we should look, what we should achieve by a certain age, how successful we should be, and so on.

These unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of stress and make us feel like we’re not good enough.

But here’s the heartfelt truth: You are enough, just as you are. You don’t need to look a certain way, own certain things, or reach certain milestones to be worthy of happiness. Your life doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s Instagram feed.

We all have our own unique path in life.

Some of us might take longer to find our passion, some might choose to not marry or have kids, some might choose a career that’s not conventionally successful. And that’s perfectly okay.

Don’t let society’s standards dictate your happiness. Choose your own standards – standards that reflect your values, aspirations, and individuality. It’s your life, after all.

Live it the way that brings you the most joy and fulfillment. After all, happiness is not a one-size-fits-all concept; it’s unique and personal to each of us.

6. Stop Chasing After People Who Don’t Value You

I used to chase friendships, thinking that the more friends I had, the happier I’d be.

I put so much effort into relationships with people who didn’t really value me or reciprocate my effort. It was exhausting and disheartening.

Then one day, I realized that it’s not about the quantity of friends but the quality.

It’s about having people in your life who truly value you, who appreciate your quirks, who listen when you need to talk and stand by you when things get tough.

I started focusing more on these meaningful relationships and let go of the ones that were one-sided or superficial. It was scary at first, but ultimately it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I now have fewer friends, but these relationships are genuine. They bring me so much joy and fulfillment.

They’ve taught me that it’s better to have a few genuine friends than to chase after a crowd of acquaintances.

If you’re spending your energy on people who don’t value you, stop. You are worth so much more.

Surround yourself with people who lift you up, who love and appreciate you for who you are. These are the relationships that will bring you genuine happiness.

7. Stop Chasing the Idea of ‘The One’

Many of us have grown up with the idea that there’s this one perfect person out there who will complete us, the ‘happily ever after’ soulmate who will make everything in life perfect.

We spend so much time and energy chasing this idea that we often miss out on the good relationships that are right in front of us.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as ‘The One’. There are billions of people on this planet and the idea that there’s only one who is right for you is just… well, unrealistic.

Real relationships aren’t about finding someone who completes you, but about finding someone who accepts you completely, with all your strengths and weaknesses.

Someone who encourages you to grow, understands your quirks, and stands by you through thick and thin.

So stop chasing the fairytale and start focusing on building a real relationship with real love, respect, and understanding.

It might not always be rosy and perfect, but it’ll be real – and that’s what truly matters.

8. Stop Chasing Instant Gratification

In today’s fast-paced world, we’ve become accustomed to instant gratification.

Whether it’s fast food, fast internet, or fast results, we want everything now.

We’ve become impatient and often give up if we don’t see immediate results.

Real and lasting happiness often comes from things that require patience and effort.

Whether it’s maintaining a healthy lifestyle, building a successful career, or nurturing meaningful relationships – these things take time.

So when you’re feeling impatient or tempted by a quick fix, remind yourself that the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Stop chasing instant gratification and start investing in your long-term happiness. 

9. Stop Chasing a Fixed Idea of Happiness

I used to have a fixed idea of what happiness looked like – a successful career, a loving partner, a house by the beach. I was so focused on this picture that I overlooked many moments of happiness along the way.

Then I realized, happiness isn’t a destination or a fixed state. It’s not about reaching a certain point and saying, “Okay, I’m happy now. I’ve made it.”

No, happiness is found in the journey. It’s found in the small moments – a good book, a cup of coffee in the morning, a walk in the park, a heartfelt conversation with a friend.

I’ve learned to let go of my fixed idea of happiness and start appreciating the everyday moments. And guess what? I’ve never been happier.

So if you’re chasing a specific idea of what happiness should look like, stop. Instead, open your eyes to the joy that’s already around you.

Happiness is not something in the future; it’s here, now, in this very moment. All you have to do is recognize and embrace it.

10. Stop Chasing Control

Let’s be brutally honest, life is unpredictable. It throws curveballs and takes unexpected turns. And this can be scary.

So, we try to control everything – our careers, our relationships, our future. We make plans and set expectations, believing that if we can just control everything, we’ll be happy.

But you can’t control everything. Some things are simply beyond your control. The more you try to control them, the more stressed and unhappy you’ll become.

So let go. Accept that uncertainty is a part of life. Instead of trying to control everything, focus on controlling your response to things. That’s where your real power lies.

11. Stop Chasing ‘Busy’

In today’s society, being busy is often seen as a badge of honor.

We fill our schedules to the brim and rush from one task to another, believing that the busier we are, the more successful and fulfilled we’ll be.

But let’s face it: Constant busyness doesn’t equal happiness or success. It often leads to stress, burnout, and a life that’s too busy for joy or relaxation.

Slow down. It’s okay to have downtime. In fact, it’s necessary for your mental health and happiness.

Remember, you’re a human being, not a human doing. You don’t always need to be doing something. It’s okay to just be.

12. Stop Chasing Others’ Lives

With social media constantly at our fingertips, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing our lives with others’.

We see their highlight reels – their perfect homes, their exotic vacations, their seemingly perfect lives – and we feel inadequate.

But what you see on social media is not always the whole truth. Everyone has struggles and challenges that they don’t post online.

Instead of chasing someone else’s life, focus on your own. Celebrate your achievements. Appreciate your blessings. Work on your challenges. This is your life, and it’s unique and beautiful in its own way.

13. Stop Chasing the Noise

We live in a noisy world. There’s always something to distract us – TV shows, news, social media, gossip. We’re so used to the noise that silence seems uncomfortable.

But constant noise and distraction can make it hard for us to hear our own thoughts or get in touch with our feelings. It can keep us from truly understanding ourselves and what makes us happy.

So make time for silence. Whether it’s through meditation, spending time in nature, or simply sitting quietly for a few minutes each day, give yourself the gift of silence.

Let go of the noise and listen to your own voice. It knows the way to your happiness.

Remember, happiness is not something you chase, it’s something you choose. Stop chasing these things and start choosing happiness today.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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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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