Posted by Karen Degen on 22nd August 2016
Tags: happiness criteria
Whenever I ask my clients why they can’t be happy I tend to get the same five answers. They have nothing to do with what is or isn’t happening in their lives and more to do with belief systems. Here are the top reasons for I’m generally given for not being happy:
- I don’t deserve it
- It’s not safe to be happy because the happier I am the harder I will fall when something goes wrong
- I’m only allowed to be happy when everyone else is
- I haven’t achieved enough
- I don’t know how
Many people have a belief system that they have to deserve happiness. That they have to be a good enough person before they are allowed to be happy. That happiness is for ‘better’ people than them.
For some people something bad has happened shortly after they were in a really happy place emotionally. They see this as ‘proof’ that bad things always follow good. The better the good the worse the bad will be. None of this is rational of course but it just feels that it is true. They believe (incorrectly) that the happier they are the further they will fall when life throws them a challenge. They prefer to feel average at the most as a form of self protection.
Many of my clients see their role in life as making others happy. When they have done a really good job, or others are happy with them, only then they can feel happy. Of course they are never able to keep everyone happy all of the time or reach their own high standards, so happiness remains something they won’t allow themselves.
Way too many people think that happiness has to be earned. They think ‘When I’ve achieved X and X (and I haven’t yet) then I it will be okay to be happy. They put conditions on their happiness and are very strict with what they are allowed to feel.
Happiness is a learned skill. It is true that many people haven’t yet learned it. They honestly don’t know how to think or feel any differently. That of course is where I come in (and my book Heightening Your Happiness – how you can develop the skill of enjoying your life).
I help people to change their belief systems so they can give themselves permission to be happy now. Have a think about what your ‘rules’ are in relation to happiness. Are they the same as the ones above or do you have some different ones? I’d love to hear what your criteria for happiness is, so do get in touch and let me know.