We all want to feel well, to be appreciated, and be praised by others for our personalities, work, or looks. No one likes to be criticised, disapproved, and unacknowledged for their efforts, views, or personality. But yet we are never really getting what we want from others in order to feel well. Waiting for praise and acknowledgment that does not come often or from those we seek it from, may increase our unhappiness. Some may think they do not need approval since others are mostly unappreciative and selfish. Yet, there is a sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. It is much worse if we think we are caring for our sense of wellness when we are not. How do you know if you are taking care of your wellbeing? We have 5 ways to help you find out.
1. Justifying your anger
Have you come across a friend who gets frustrated about a news article s/he has read and fumes over it? S/he continues to share why s/he feels justified about being upset about it. Or it could be a rude colleague at work that has caused your friend to be annoyed. Your friend shares the reasons why they have the right to be upset and confront or not confront their colleague. We think that it is okay to share our frustrations with others. But does sharing frustrations with others actually make us happier? Below is a list of possible scenarios:
- Your friend relates a similar experience – Both of you egg each other on and feel frustrated together. You go home to your families who feel your angry vibes.
- Your friend defends your colleague – You become more upset and justify your cause further and become angrier.
- Your friend agrees with you – You vented your frustrations but still feel dissatisfied.
We may be able to release our frustrations when we are ‘winning’ in the situation. For example, we emerge victorious against the perpetrator. But as we have seen so often, whenever we disagree with another, the other very seldom admit defeat. This can also be seen in a large-scale event, such as the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
If you really do care for your wellbeing, you may have considered refraining from being angry in the first place. We all know that anger, especially repeated and prolonged irritation does not bode well for the body.
2. Replaying unhappy thoughts
There are many people who replay random thoughts of unhappiness in the background of their minds without being aware of it. This is actually the function of an untrained mind. When we are unaware, it also means we are having mind wandering or daydreaming.
When probed, those who have repeated thoughts of unhappiness playing in the background often reply that they are aware. But when asked why they continue to repeat these unhappy thoughts of dissatisfaction when it makes them unhappy, they may then start to justify their reasons.
As we have seen in point number one, justifying one’s unhappiness does not necessarily lead to releasing frustrations.
3. Blaming others for your lack of wellbeing
This is another example we can see in real life. When we feel we are right, we share our opinions with others hoping for a change in them. But no matter how right we are and how difficult the other person is, blaming another, even if we are gentle about it, never brings peace.
It is difficult to find a person who is willing to accept criticism. Sometimes, we may only offer constructive criticism to those whom we know are able to self-reflect and accept it positively.
Those who are resistant to change or suggestions may justify their lack of well-being by blaming others. But does this bring wellbeing? If you care for your wellbeing, consider the consequences of blaming others.
As shared in the earlier points, no one enjoys defeat or criticism. They most likely will respond in a way that will cause you more resentment. Even if they do not react to your blame, they may avoid you because you have proven yourself to be unable to communicate openly in a friendly way. This may cause you to feel more isolated.
4. Sticking to your views
There are many people who stick to their views even though they say they are listening to your suggestions. Before you know it, even though they agreed with your plans at work, they have already proceeded with their own strategies.
There are friends in some situations whom you know not to cross the line with. That is because you know they will stick to their views and have all kinds of opinions to your suggestions. Instead of sharing and being friendly to each other’s views, you feel stifled.
Does sticking to our views bring happiness? What do you think? Views are only opinions. They are not our experiences but only a belief. But yet, why do we hold onto them religiously and dogmatically?
Our experiences are our truths. That’s the reason why so many people hold different truths. But to be able to experience life wisely, it makes sense to consider others’ experiences. For example, if we have never gotten burnt from fire before but know the bad consequences of it, it makes a lot of sense to listen to someone who has been burnt. We can learn from others’ experiences and then discover for ourselves if they are right.
Holding onto fixed views may stifle your learning experiences and may not increase your wellbeing. If your fixed view does not help you develop emotionally or psychologically towards wellness, that only leads to a lack of wellbeing.
5. Finding faults
If you tend to find faults with what is around you, that is not the way to care for your wellbeing. Which do you think will lead to wellbeing? Looking for faults in situations or looking for ways to improve yourself or the situation?
If we continually find faults, it points to a mind that is unhappy. A well-balanced and happy person would not keep pointing faults but would also spend time on self-reflection. We do not live alone in the world. The world consists of people, animals, and the environment. Our lack of self-reflection, observation, and greed are reasons for our experiencing a polarised COVID-19 pandemic world and imminent destruction from climate change.
Finding faults with others’ personalities, political systems, or ways of working is not conducive to a cooperative and happy work environment or for the world at large. What happens in the world first takes place in the family and the workplace.
How to care for your wellbeing?
There are various ways to care for your well-being. First, identify if you do any of the five points above. But before you are able to even identify them, you need self-awareness. Meditation helps to calm the mind. If you are a beginner, you can start with guided meditation practices.
Quieting your mind may help bring clarity without repeated unhelpful thoughts playing in the background. You may then start to read self-development books such as Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and practise the suggestions in real life.
Or you can learn to train your mind with an 8-week mindfulness course. Mindful Breath offers Mindfulness-Based Strategic Awareness Training to help you make wise choices while training your mind to make your and others’ well-being a priority. Life is not only about living at ease with ourselves but also to live in an agreeable and peaceful way with those around us.