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11 Wrong Beliefs You Can Ditch Today to Live a Happier Life

I recently completed a series of blogs about limiting and damaging beliefs including practical advice on how to ditch these wrong beliefs and live a happier life TODAY! Here is a summary of the series with links to each wrong belief.

Wrong Belief #1: I can control other people’s behavior, thoughts and speech

This common wrong belief stands ready to drain us of all the fun in life. If we really could control other people, then we would have to police everyone in our lives. That is a huge job! And there is always going to be someone who resists our training and our wisdom and who doesn’t agree with our very important opinions, etc. That wrong belief will keep us at the mercy of the behavior of others.

Wrong Belief #2:  I deserve to have mind-blowing sex

This wrong belief can be a source of excruciating frustration, sadness, pain and rejection. Our culture has become so perfectionistic about sex we can hardly just let it be anymore – we struggle to deal with the ebb and flow of sex in our relationships. We have all been wounded by this wrong belief, but with perspective we can be grateful for the gift of our lives, all that we have been given, and remember no one owes us anything.

Wrong Belief #3: The purpose of other people in my life is to make me happy

We don’t have a right to demand things or behaviors from others, as much as we feel entitled to. This wrong belief only makes us demanding and unhappy. Besides, we may be focusing on one thing and forgetting all the other things for which we should be grateful. We’re the one with the problem, not others. Resolve to be happy with things and people as they are, not be concerned if it makes us happy or unhappy. Sometimes it doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.

Wrong Belief #4: I can drink 4 glasses of liquor every night without consequences

Do you think you can drink several glasses of liquor every night and not become ill? Sometimes we think we can do things without incurring consequences. Eventually, something is going to give. The second part of this wrong belief is not understanding how we can get different results simply by changing our actions. Sounds simple but it may involve learning something we’ve never done before.  Start with small changes and be patient. Small can have big consequences!

Wrong Belief #5: I can and should look like I’m 25 years old…even when I’m 45 years old.

We don’t want to be the old person that others ignore so we go to a lot of trouble and spend a lot of money trying to look younger. That belief is just wrong. It works against nature and ourselves. Age brings other rewards besides youth and beauty. Look at the intent. We’re trying too hard to gain approval. Instead, listen more to your own inner voice. Do things because they are enjoyable and interesting, not to compete with others.

Wrong Belief #6: I need to make sure my child is happy

Guess what: it’s not your job to make your child happy. It is your job to raise them to be independent, capable adults. They’ll learn from their mistakes but not because you wanted to cause them harm. And they will be stronger for it. Think how lucky your child is to have a parent that allows them this life opportunity. Think how much more prepared they’ll be for college, their job, marriage, parenthood and whatever else life throws their way!

Wrong Belief # 7: I need to make sure I am happy.

Even if we could, we don’t have the capability of making ourselves happy. Happiness is elusive. Life is sprinkled with happiness and sorrow, even when we think we’re doing everything right. Let’s replace that wrong belief with the idea that we can respond to our own spirit when it prompts us. We do this by listening, by setting up times to experience silence and solitude. Turn off the TV and computer and get to know yourself. Start with your soul.

Wrong Belief #8: If I forgive someone it means I condone their behavior

Forgiving someone is not a pardon. You do it for yourself, not for anyone else. There’s a wrong belief that forgiveness means what happened was ok, that you approved of what happened or that you take responsibility for someone else’s action. You don’t have to fix things and you don’t have to feel guilty for what someone else did. Forgiveness is letting go, removing the bad feelings. It doesn’t take away the hurt. It does start the healing process.

Wrong Belief #9: People Never Change

It’s tragic when a marriage ends … just when it’s on the brink of healing. Often it’s because a spouse –usually the wife – believes her husband can’t change. That’s a wrong belief. Once she understands that men respond to action, not talking, a huge stressor is removed. The problem could be solved by changing a belief, not the external circumstances surrounding the belief. People change when they want to and when there’s a reason. Change is a decision and also a process.

Wrong Belief #10: People have to agree with me, like me, accept me and treat me in a certain way.

Need other people to agree with you? That’s a disaster waiting to happen. This wrong belief can ruin a perfectly pleasant day. You don’t need to dwell on it, you don’t need to talk about it with your friends, you don’t need to strike back or change the other person’s mind. And you don’t need to make the other person turn purple. Everyone’s perspective is valuable, even if it’s different from yours. You’re still in charge of your life. Think your subversive thoughts without anyone having to know. It’s even more fun that way!

Wrong Belief #11:  If I’m not good at something, I shouldn’t have to do it.

Even if you don’t like doing something (like cleaning your bathroom), that doesn’t mean you should avoid doing it. That’s just a wrong belief. It’s a basic life skill. Not knowing how can turn us into idiot savants. Take a closer look at the things you’re not good at. Are you afraid because you don’t know how? Are you avoiding it because it’s not fun? There’s always a workaround. Find a system that will work for you. The more you do it, the more your confidence will grow and your stress level decrease.