I spent many years trying to create more joy and peace in my life. Trying to change my circumstances and the way the people in my life behaved. It just felt like every time I got close to contentment something else would happen in the world or someone around me would start rocking the boat. It took a long time to recognize that no matter what I did I’d never be able to control what was going on around me. But, I could control what was going on within me. The truth is joy and peace are the fruits of a carefully cultivated mindset. But before I could start reaping that harvest I had to do some weeding out. And that’s when I learned what really MUST go. If you want more joy and peace in your life, free yourself from these 5 joy busters too.
1. People Pleasing
In my efforts to keep the peace and earn the love I believed would bring me joy I found myself pulled in a million different directions trying to please everyone. Which, spoiler alert, can’t be done! All I got for my efforts was exhaustion and overwhelm. And even worse, I felt lost. I didn’t even know who I was or what I wanted any more!
People pleasing is a hard habit to break. Especially if you were a parentified child or raised to be a compliant people pleaser. Fear of conflict and rejection often get in the way of breaking free. It was only when I realized that people pleasing is a form of manipulation that I could really put a stop to it and you can to! Free yourself from people pleasing by reminding yourself that you want to be accepted and loved for who you truly are, not who you pretend to be or how useful you are to others.
It’s very important that we learn from our past. But that doesn’t mean we need to build a house and live there! Being stuck in the past, retracing your choices, beating yourself up for your mistakes, or fixating on how you were wronged will only steal your present joy. Unless you have a time machine there is nothing you can do about it. Allow your past experiences to inform your present choices and relationships, but do not dwell there. Free yourself from perseverating by processing what you’ve experienced (with professional help, if necessary), learning from it, and releasing it.
3. Worry and Hypervigilance
Just like you can’t experience joy and peace by focusing on the past you also can’t if you’re always looking to the future. Especially if you’re doing so with anxiety, worry, or hypervigilance. Now, listen, I get it, being prepared matters. But if you’re anything like me you just might be wasting away some of the best parts of your life worrying about or preparing for the absolute worst.
To free yourself from worry and hypervigilance create affirmations regarding your resilience and strength. You’ve survived your worst day and you will survive whatever comes next. Write yourself a letter about something that came out of left field that you were able to navigate.
Ahhh, Comparison, the thief of all joy! I know it might seem like everyone else has it so much easier or so much more together. But believe me, they don’t. I spent my whole life perpetuating a lie about how perfect my life was. I was afraid and ashamed that if anyone peeked behind the curtain they’d know I was broken and messed up. Point is, things often aren’t as they appear. Which means, you’re comparing yourself to something that likely isn’t even real! I mean, comparing yourself to those around you and those you see on Instagram is no different than comparing yourself to Elsa and thinking something is wrong with you or your life because you can’t build a snowman in summer!
On the flip side, if someone really does have what you’re looking for in life, comparison keeps you from connecting with them and learning from them. It is deeply rooted in scarcity mentality. I can’t emphasize enough how much this blocks your own abundance! Free yourself from comparison by hiding social media accounts that lead to these thoughts. And when you’re ready, reengage. Remind yourself to be grateful for the proof that amazing things do happen and can happen for you too.
Joy and peace are most experienced and appreciated in the small, quiet moments. Unfortunately outside pressure and hustle culture have robbed most of us of this. We spend most of our lives running around frantically trying to live up to ridiculous expectations and never feeling like it’s enough.
Free yourself from this pervasive joy buster by creating clarity about what is most important to you. There is no right way or wrong way to do life. When you live according to your values and priorities you are able to reduce overwhelm and make space for you in your life.
You Deserve It!
You deserve to live the life you’ve been dreaming of. One that’s filled with joy and peace. And you can have it if you simply free yourself.