7 Destructive Needs Keeping You From True Happiness
We all have needs: We need food. We need shelter. We need to feel loved.
But many of us walk around with needs that don’t serve us — needs that negatively influence our thoughts, words, and actions. Unlike food and shelter, these are not true needs. These fake needs make life more difficult, and they distract us from the good things we already have.
They're like road bumps hindering us from experiencing the smooth ride we desire and, unless removed, they’ll completely jolt our respective journeys. It’s time to drop the following seven needs and see them for what they really are: illusions.
Perfectionism doesn’t protect us from the world — it keeps us from finding our place in it.
1. The need to prove your worthiness
A dog doesn’t question whether it deserves a walk, a nap, or some cuddle time. It just knows it’s worthy. Unfortunately, many of us have falsely learned that our sense of worth is connected to our success. So, to demonstrate our worthiness to ourselves and others, we might try to prove it with a career or a relationship.
But your worthiness doesn't come with terms and conditions. It isn’t determined by your monthly income, relationship status, or number of Facebook friends. Free yourself from unnecessary suffering by recognizing your own inherent self-worth. In those moments when you feel unworthy, separate yourself from that nagging voice inside your head and remember that it's not you talking. Calm it by saying, “Thanks for watching out for me, but you don’t need to worry. Everything’s all right.”
2. The need to fit in
We all have a desire to fit in and belong. We bend to conform because nobody likes to be the odd one out, right? But … we’re not all the same. We don’t have the same set of skills, talents, and interests, and that’s a good thing.
Dare to be the misfit, the rebel, or the weird one. Go ahead and wear those leopard pants, admits that you’re a spiritual fanatic, and post that lovey-dovey message on Facebook if you feel like it. Happiness is a natural side effect when one chooses to embrace his or her true self.
3. The need to put others first
There's a reason we're instructed to put those airplane oxygen masks on ourselves before helping those around us. We can’t give what we don’t have.
Tend to your own needs, wants, and desires, and then, when you’re filled up, pass that care on to others. Next time you’re urged to tend to someone else, practice giving yourself at least 60 seconds first. Breathe, read an inspirational quote, or do something else that lifts your spirit.
4. The need to be perfect
Perfectionism doesn’t protect us from the world — it keeps us from finding our place in it. No one is perfect. Instead of trying to be something you’re not, embrace every aspect of that imperfect you.
Silence your inner perfectionist by taking small risks you normally wouldn’t: Hand in something that’s 90 percent finished and ask for input, pose that question you think sounds stupid, or admit that you don’t have all the answers.
Don’t work hard — work smart.
5. The need to complain
We tend to whine and complain about the aspects of our life that aren't going as planned, but grumbling doesn't change anything — it just keeps us stuck.
Whether you’re unhappy with your finances, your relationship, or your self-esteem, you can either accept what is or take action to fix it. If you desire change, remember that it often starts with small steps. These steps may involve making a simple budget, planning a date night, or listing three things you love about yourself before going to bed. Just remember that no step is too small.
6. The need to work hard
My mind used to tell me that I was lazy and useless if I wasn't working hard. But ironically, once I stopped forcing myself into action, I started to perform much better. I was suddenly pulled by inspiration instead of pushed by pressure.
It's important to take breaks, ask for help, and give yourself time to recharge. Don’t work hard — work smart. Allow for a constant flow of inspiration to strike you by reading as much as you write, learning as much as you teach, and listening as much as you speak.
7. The need to be in control
Trying to maintain influence over things outside our control isn’t only exhausting — it’s impossible. While we might think we can shape other people, events and circumstances, we often can't. Trying to do so usually just leaves us feeling disappointed and frustrated.
Rather than working to make things happen, simply allow them to happen. Surrender to what is and focus your attention on the present moment. Hold your tongue when you feel the urge to control someone or something. Distract yourself, meditate, or take deep breaths until you’re grounded, and then take action from a calm and rational place.