How odd to be writing about unhappy people in a blog about happiness. Not really. As I see it, if you want to walk a path to a happier life you need to see the habits of the unhappy and not be sucked into their world.
I had my list in my head all day, but as I drove the 8 to 9 hours to our campground for the weekend, I realized I needed to revise what I had planned to write.
HABIT # 1 – NOT HAVING AN “I THINK I CAN” ATTITUDE
Years ago, I taught swimming to preschool age children. Some of the kids were really scared: first because their mom just dropped them off at a swim class with five other kids and a strange person. With the excessively scared kids, I used a line from an old children’s story – “The Little Engine That Could.” As I recall, when he got to this tall mountain he chugged “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” all the way up. As he reached the crest, he began to chug, “I knew I could. I knew I could.” I would have the kids chant “I think I can.” as they kicked or paddled all the way down the lane of the pool.
Today, I was behind the wheel of our Ford F150 pulling Addie II, our 27′ camper. We have only had it a year, but I have never pulled it. This year I had to. I had to face a fear, and I did so with the “I think I can.” attitude. Now I can say, “I knew I could.”
Many times unhappy people refuse to try to do things because they are scared. They sit on the sidelines and watch, wanting to join in, but to scared to say “I think I can.” Then, many times they will try to get their friends to avoid the things they are scared of.
We need to be aware of these people, but we don’t have to forfeit the friendship we have with them. We need to be true to ourselves, and if we want to try something, we need to go for it.
HABIT #2 – LIVE IN THE PAST
Every day that we live shapes the days in our future. We all have a past, and sometimes our past is fascinating. The fascination with the past is what is driving the people who are interested in geneology. What happens with unhappy people, however, is that they dwell in their past. They use their past as an excuse, a reason not to move forward in their lives.
I have a haunting past, not as bad as some but worse than others. If you caught my post on Wednesday, “The Year of the ___” you read about some of my past. It would be tragic if I had let it rule my life, my decisions, and my actions.
If you have a haunting past, you need to get beyond it. It may take a counselor or a psychologist to help you through it.
HABIT #3 – LIVE IN THE FUTURE
Yes, it is important to look ahead to the future, plan for the future, and wonder about the future. I have a number of things planned for my future.
If, however, we consistently look at things with the “I can’t wait for __.”, we miss the present right in front of our eyes.
Unhappy people usually make this even more complex by watching the news and worrying about the “What ifs.” Shell Silverstein wrote a poem about this. He called it “What if.” It’s the “what ifs” that stop unhappy people from changing jobs, moving, and experiencing life.
HABIT #4 – CLOSE-MINDED
Unhappy people rarely are open to trying new things. They are the people who are unhappy about the fact that their spouse isn’t the same person they married. I’m grateful that my husband has grown and changed. In fact, we have grown together.
HABIT #5 – TEND TO BUY INTO GOSSIP
Unhappy people buy into gossip about famous people, about family, and about friends. AND they believe that what they hear is true.