Let me ask you a question: Are you happy?
Or do you worry too much what other people think or say about you? Beat yourself up for the plunders of the past, endlessly replaying “what if” scenarios in your mind.
Regretting what was and aching for what could have been.
Do you lay awake at night agonising about the future? The fires you fight, the financial problems, dysfunctional relationships and stressful jobs.
I know you are doing your best. But it is never enough.
You feel anxious and depressed. Forever waiting for that perfect person, that sum of money or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally appear and make you happy.
Other people have happiness in their lives. So, why don't you? You've tried everything. But you never get a break. You never feel peace, contentment and joy. You are never truly happy.
So, what is wrong with you?
Do you want to know the heart-breaking truth?
In our industrialised societies today, we generally accept it as reality that life equals suffering. They are eternally tied. You cannot have the one without the other.
Furthermore, enduring happiness, everlasting love and unimaginable wealth are for the chosen few. The special ones! The ones that matter!
You aren’t important, famous or influential; were never introduced to the “right people” or hit the jackpot. You struggle through life, unsupported and disillusioned.
Hesitating to hope for better health, more loving relationships, stable finances or a fulfilling job. Anticipating disappointment and heart-ache at every turn because the next catastrophic blow is always just around the corner.
And you try to make peace with your suffering. It is what it is. This is reality. Or is it?
Are you living a lie?
Reality is reality, right?
It is called REALity because it is real. Unavoidably, inescapably and inevitably real. At least that’s what we tend to believe. That’s what we’ve been taught from birth.
But it's not true. Your life, your circumstances and experiences - your “reality” - are no more than mental reflections of 4 core human beliefs that you inherited from your parents, their parents and generations before them:
- 1Our worth as individuals is not inherent but needs to be earned.
- 2Life happens to us at random and all we can do is react appropriately and deal with the damage.
- 3We are at the mercy of our thoughts, beliefs and emotions and have no power over them.
- 4Happiness depends on external factors that may (or may not) materialise at some point in the future.
These 4 tragic misconceptions have determined human behaviour, our actions, reactions and decisions for thousands of years. And they still sabotage your life today.
But why can these common beliefs make you so unhappy?
The simple reason why you are unhappy
All 4 core human beliefs convince us that we have no control over our lives. Just take a look!
- 1Our worth depends on how we compare to other people and the extent to which others approve of us.
- 2Life is a string of random occurrences which we are powerless to change.
- 3Our thoughts and emotions are who we are, so changing negative patterns would mean changing the essence of who we are and we are too scared to attempt it.
- 4Happiness depends on whether we find the right person, the right job or the right amount of money and that’s just luck in most instances.
Can you see the pattern?
We take these 4 beliefs as our reality.
But they rob us of any control or power we could have over our own lives!
And if we cannot control what happens to us we feel helpless, anxious and vulnerable. We fear change, the future and the unknown because we cannot predict what random fate might befall us.
We are stuck in an infinite loop of negative thoughts, limiting beliefs and emotional pain which we cannot change. Because we are afraid of losing ourselves if we do.
And surrendered to the fact that the pursuit of happiness is a gamble. And try our best to be grateful for what we have instead.
But we don't have to settle for a discontented, unfulfilling existence. We can live, thrive. Be happy.
Once we discover our personal power.
The 4 empowering beliefs that will double your happiness
If you want to improve your life, double your happiness (at the very least), feel good about yourself, you have to come to the realisation that life as you know it isn’t reality. That your 4 core beliefs are brules (bullshit rules) that have been holding you back all your life, ruining your chances for happiness from the onset.
And once you are aware of the brules, you can work on deleting them from your system, and overwrite them with new, empowering and life-affirming beliefs.
Let’s call these new beliefs the 4 main components of happiness:
Component 1: Remember your worth
Most of us, at least on a subconscious level, feel completely worthless. We believe that we have no innate worth but need to earn our value in society through our actions, accomplishments and desirable attributes.
Our worth therefore depends on how much money we earn, how much we achieve and contribute and what our status and popularity are in our community.
It changes according to our appearance, weight, intelligence and qualification. And it grows if other people approve of what we do and who we are (or pretend to be).
We feel good about ourselves if we are loved, accepted and recognised. We beat ourselves up if we are rejected, criticised or ignored.
We therefore invest most of our time and energy into convincing other people that we come up to their expectations. So they can give us permission to feel good about ourselves through their approval.
This means that we have no control over our sense of worth as it is at the mercy of outside factors and other people’s opinions.
Or so we think...
Because the truth is that you ARE worth. Personified. No matter what.
Your infinite true worth is a basic universal right. It’s an essential truth. An absolute part of your Being.
You might have been told (or told yourself) otherwise for most of your life, but that doesn’t change the fact.
YOU ARE WORTH!
And a good way to remember your true, inner worth is with affirmations to start healing your self-worth. I recommend the following:
- 1I AM worth.
- 2I love and approve of myself.
- 3I am worth exactly the same as everybody else on this planet.
- 4I recognise my own true worth. I am good enough.
If you need some help with healing low self-worth, you can try my "Healthy Self-Worth Starter Kit". It's free.
Component 2: Know that your thoughts and beliefs create your reality
We tend to believe that life happens to us at random.
We fear the next day, the next year, the next letter through the door because we expect bad news. Convinced that our fortunes will never change.
We watch the news and, reminded of the misery in this world, believe that the world is a dangerous place. One of scarcity, suffering and pain and that we should be grateful for every day that we are spared because it might be the last.
So we become trapped in a vicious cycle of fear, toxic thoughts and our daily struggles that reinforce our negative beliefs.
But that’s the “law of attraction” in action!
Because whatever we focus our attention on, we will attract into our life. If we concentrate our mind on positive thinking, we will attract positive energy and experiences. And if our thoughts are stuck in negativity, we will attract suffering, disasters and pain.
Negative thinking, for a lot of us, is second nature. It's a habit we have lived with for a long time. So it will require a conscious effort to change this.
But if you ever want to find happiness, change it you must. So just give it a try and make the “law of attraction” work for you rather than against you.
Affirmations are a good place to start. Here are some that worked well for me:"
- 1I now believe that I deserve the very best in life. Everything is always working out for me.
- 2I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations. I create my own life.
- 3I am the creative power in my world.
- 4I lovingly take back my power. I am free.
Component 3: Realise that you can choose your thoughts, beliefs and emotions
Most of us are hopelessly stuck in the same negative thoughts and emotional patterns.
When something happens, we react automatically, in a pre-conditioned way. We do what we always did in similar situations.
But it doesn’t need to be like this! We always have a choice.
In contrast to common belief, we are NOT our thoughts and emotions.
They are tools. If used correctly, they allow us to solve problems, survive and function in society. But they become a problem when given excessive power.
Make it a habit to watch your thoughts and emotions without judging them.
And know that you have a choice. When you notice negative thoughts and emotions just ask yourself whether you actually need them:
"Do I want to think gloomy thoughts now and feel low or would I rather plan next week’s family outing?"
"Do I need to feel criticised if somebody thinks my work isn’t perfect or can I just use their input to improve what I have done so far?"
"Do I have to be cranky all day just because I didn't sleep well?"
Try it out for yourself! Once you start, you will find that emotional hygiene is amazingly easy!
Don't wallow in negativity or suppress your thoughts and emotions. Why would you want to suffer if you can just let go and avoid the pain. Release them because they don’t serve a purpose. Drop them like a hot coal that is burning your hand.
Just let go! It's your decision, your choice! You are the only power in your life!
A good way to start taking control is with affirmations. Here are some I found helpful:
- 1I create a loving, happy life by choosing loving, happy thoughts.
- 2I make loving choices. I am free to change.
- 3I am always in control of my thoughts.
- 4I forgive myself and choose to love myself.
Component 4: Understand that you can only be happy HERE and NOW
The easiest way to relinquish your happiness is by losing it in the past or projecting it into the future.
Even if you experienced abuse, neglect, loss or rejection in the past, even if you made mistakes and caused suffering; the past doesn't define who you are now. And it cannot obliterate your right to happiness.
Forgive whoever did you wrong, forgive yourself and move on. Live in the now and bring your happiness with you.
Or maybe you tend to reminisce about the good old times, when everything was better and you were happy. And while you idolise your past, your life goes unnoticed. Learn from the past, don’t live in it! Happiness is only gone if you let it!
On the other side of the spectrum, we tend to postpone our happiness to the future, especially if we struggle with our life right now.
"I will be happy when I find love, when I can afford my own house, when I lose 10 kg, when I get the job of my dreams, when the bully next door moves."
We make our happiness dependent on outside factors somewhere in an undefined time in the future. Which causes two major problems:
- The things we hope to bring us happiness may never come. What then? Will we be unhappy for the rest of our lives?
- If we do get what we made our happiness dependent upon, will it actually make us happy? Will it meet our great expectations? What if we end up disappointed? Or what if, by then, something else is wrong and we need to have that fixed first before we can find happiness?
And what if we don’t have a clue how to be happy because we lack practice?
The sad fact is that we may spend all our lives chasing after the people, things or circumstances that we expect to finally make us happy. And yet happiness might always elude us.
Because we believe we are powerless to achieve happiness in our own life here and now. We need to take this power back if we want to be happy!
Happiness comes from within, is unconditional and available in this very moment. The present moment is all we ever have. The past is gone and the future is a ficticious movie in our minds.
Practice happiness now! Practice being happy just because you can!
A good start to practicing happiness now, is by using affirmations:
- 1I am happy and at peace here and now.
- 2I lovingly release the past. I am free.
- 3I live in the present moment, joyous and free.
- 4I easily forgive and happily move forward.
How to start to double your happiness right now
So, there you got them! The 4 main components of a happy life!
Ditch those brules, break the bad habits, incorporate the new beliefs and your life will change. Massively and permanently.
Yes, it's scary!
Your life will be turned upside down, you will change, your circumstances will transform, your thoughts and beliefs shift. You worry whether you will lose yourself or if your friends and family will still like the "new you".
And what if you don’t enjoy the new life you create?
But that are just your fears and doubts talking.
A year from now when you climb into bed at night, the beautiful experiences of another enjoyable and content day replaying in your mind, your fears will be a faint memory of a distant past.
A year from now while you snuggle comfortably into your cosy duvet, grateful for the wonderful people in your life and proud of everything you confidently achieved during the day, you will know that it was worth it. You WERE worth it...and always will be.
So, opt out of negative self-talk and emotional pain. Reclaim your creative power because your life is what you make it. Remember your true worth.
Choose to be happy. And do it now!
Can you please contact me? I read your article on tinybuddha.com.
Hello Eric, I sent you an email.
I am going to apply this information to my life. My life has to get better. For the most part, i’ve always been a nice, positive person. Something happened along the way as i got older. It seems as if my happiness/joy just went away.
Thanks so much for your comment! I also had times in my life where all the joy had left it but it always helped me to remind myself that I had a choice. Did I actually want to be upset, angry or beat myself up? Or could I just let it go and do something I enjoy instead. It takes practice but it has always helped me. Hope you will find your way back to your happy Self soon! x
Hi I’m struggling so much with worry and overthinking. I need help.
Hello, please contact me on [email protected] so we can have a chat about it. Berni
This is a great post, hit me like a two ton wrecking ball. What I valued most about it was it didn’t sound like a self help book, it just sounded like something that was from the heart and a simple truth.
I am suprised you didn’t expand on meditation as a way to live int he moment and be mindful, seems they would go hand and hand in trying to increase our self worth in the moment.
I love your message, let me know of anything I can to help support your blog.
Thank you ever so much, Ben for your lovely comment and offer! And you got me! I did think about meditation as it is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness and calm the mind chatter. But the truth is that I never managed to keep a regular meditation practice alive. I started enthusiastically but after a few days had given up again. I am not even sure why. I assume though many people will have a similar experience. If you can incorporate meditation into your life it is an awesome way to increase happiness. But if you just don’t manage, there is no reason to be upset or beat yourself up because happiness is still in your reach. 🙂
How much is your cost for one on one help and how does it work as far as scheduling payment if required etc.
Hello Sherri, thank you so much for your interest. I will send you an email. Best wishes, Berni
I’m really amazed after reading this post how easily you explained and hit that point.
Thanks for just sharing that. I only use Facebook, how can I connect with you?
I am so glad that you liked my article, Nishant! I have a Facebook page called “The Self-Worth Experiment”, where you can send me a message and find updates on my posts. Alternatively, you can sign up to my free “Healthy Self-Worth Starter Kit” and reply to any email you receive from me. You can also send me a message here. Hope this helps! Berni
I have subscribed to your blog for many years now and read it faithfully. It is so wise, intelligently written and so “spot on”. I have never commented before until today. Today’s post is just what I need to hopefully, finally, move forward in my life.
Thank you so much! I am really happy to hear that you enjoy my posts and they can help you transform your life. All the very best, Berni
So helpful post. Thank you for Sharing!
You’re most welcome!
Very useful tips!
Thank you so much! I am glad you found them helpful.