Published On: November 7th, 2023Categories: MSN

These 12 Lies Are Ruining Your Happiness

These 12 Lies Are Ruining Your Happiness

Most of us think and do things every day for reasons we can’t explain. There are beliefs that have been ingrained in us for years that we accept as facts, but they’re just not true. Our worldviews affect every moment of our lives, but they don’t always benefit us. Sometimes they benefit the people who promote these views for their own reasons.

1. You Have to Be Thin

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This is one of the greatest lies ever told. It mostly affects women, but men aren’t immune to this lie. It’s a wonderful and easy way to keep people under control. People who are dieting, fasting, and starving aren’t thinking about how to change their lives or the world. It’s also an easy way for control freaks to spot who’s most controllable, and a great way to part people with their time and money.

There’s nothing wrong with being thin, of course, but thinness is morally neutral. Some people claim they’re not trying to control your weight, they’re concerned about your health, but overweight people live longer, so that doesn’t check out. If you’re trying to overcome a diet mentality, try intuitive eating programs.

2. Other Generations Are Worse Than Yours

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Generational groups, like baby boomers, Gen X, or millennials, comprise cohorts of people born in the same 15-18 year spans. Homo Sapiens have been on earth for 300,000 years, and it’s just not possible to have these massive swings in personality in mere blinks of an eye.

The groups are invented by journalists and marketers as shorthand to write about them, generate data, or sell them products. While times change, and younger people behave differently than older people, there aren’t sweeping traits that fit into these neat buckets.

You can’t help but be less happy when you blame other generations for problems, because it keeps you from being able to solve problems yourself.

3. You Have to Go to College

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College is an incredible experience that broadens the mind and creates lasting memories. Everyone should be able to have the experience if they want it, but it shouldn’t be obligatory. Kids who would rather go into trades, start a business, or teach themselves to code can live wonderful lives without crippling student loan debt. If you’re committed to college, studying abroad can be a more affordable path.

4. You Have to Have Kids

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There are people out there who dream of being moms and dads from the time they’re children. They’re excited about big family gatherings, teaching their kids their favorite sports or hobbies, and making family memories. There are also people who aren’t so sure, who have kids because “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Being childless is the right choice for some people. If you aren’t sure about having kids, one solution is to wait until you are. The worst thing you can do is bring new people into the world if you don’t want them—you’ll create unhappiness for both of you.

5. You Have to Own _______

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Fill in the blank with the most important possession in your friend group, whether it’s an F-150, Golden Goose sneakers, or a house in the suburbs. It’s unlikely that your friends need you to own a consumer good to maintain the relationship. Status seeking behavior will take you away from putting time, money, and effort into what really fulfills you. If you feel especially vulnerable to this lie, try a social media diet.

6. You Can Control Other People

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You just can’t, and you’ll be miserable if you try. No matter whether you wish people were less queer or less religious, less materialistic or less self-righteous, you have no control over it. (You also can’t control how they raise their kids.) What you do have control over is how it makes you feel and your own boundaries. You can’t allow your happiness to depend on other people’s decisions about their own lives.

7. You Have to Have Relationships With People Who Are Unkind to You

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Speaking of boundaries, enforcing them with problematic family members can bring you endless peace. There’s no rule that says you have to spend holidays, participate in group chats, or go on vacation with people who don’t respect your needs. You don’t have to go “no contact” to have a more manageable relationship, but you do have to learn what your own boundaries are, what you want and need, and how to enforce them.

8. Your House Has to Be Perfect

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Social media has really given us insane expectations about how our home should look at all times, but it’s not practical for everyone. You don’t have to live in perpetually perfect aesthetics to have a home full of love and joy. In fact, more often the opposite is true. Perfectionism breeds anxiety and controlling behaviors.

9. Some Countries Are Better Than Others

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There’s nothing more patriotic than the Olympics, where you cheer for your fellow Americans and watch them rack up points as they defeat other countries. But country lines are completely made up and change all the time. A Soviet yesterday may be a Ukrainian today.

Countries are tenuous areas of land under common rule. People aren’t. Thinking one country is better than another leads to weird behaviors like disliking immigrants. Countries are made up. Be nice to people—it will make you a happier person.

10. Guns Make People Safer

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Although Americans make up only 5% of the earth’s population, we own 42% of the guns. Owning a gun may bring happiness in the short term, if you feel more at peace. Sadly, owning a firearm makes you much more likely to die from gun violence. Women especially are much more likely to have their gun used to kill them. Here’s what studies have found:

11. Judging Other People Helps You Feel Better About Yourself

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Judging other people and gossiping about them can feel as good to us as taking drugs. We deflect from our own shortcomings and can bond over shared lifestyle standards. Unfortunately, the adage that says when you point a finger at someone else, you have three pointing back at you is very true. Holding others to arbitrary standards means you have to hold yourself to those same irrational standards. Judging others also keeps you from spending time in reflection or making positive changes. Leave that behavior back in high school where it belongs.

12. You Aren’t Good Enough

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This is the biggest lie we tell ourselves. Other people are prettier or smarter or more likable. Says who? What does prettier even mean? Smarter at what? Many of us experience low self esteem because of the messages we’ve received all our lives from advertising, television and magazine, or our own friends and families.

Feeling bad about yourself makes you easier to manipulate, but it also hurts others, because people with low self esteem are more likely to show negative traits like anger, aggressiveness, or passive-aggressiveness. You deserve to love yourself and be happy. If you aren’t, talk to a therapist (or several therapists, if you don’t find the right one immediately). You are worth it!

Is the US Driving You Insane? Consider These Countries for Mental Health

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Since 2022, the Expatsi Test has helped users find out where they’d like to move abroad to, based on their personal needs. Its data covers everything from healthcare rankings to languages spoken and best places for raising kids. The goal—to boost psychological safety for Americans by navigating to a healthier life in another country.

Over 40,000 people have taken the Expatsi Test in the last 18 months. Here’s their best countries for mental health, based on test data:

Is the US Driving You Insane? Consider These Countries for Mental Health

29 Countries That Will Never Offer Student Loan Forgiveness (Because College is Free)

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Getting buried under student loan debt doesn’t have to be your future. Instead of staying in the U.S. to get a college degree that could take decades to pay off, we’ve found 29 countries with free college for American student expats. But do you have to speak the language in order to get the education?

29 Countries That Will Never Offer Student Loan Forgiveness (Because College is Free)

Jen Barnett Expatsi
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps Americans move abroad. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?

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Banner Affiliates Expatsi 10Disc 1080x1080 1 jpg
Jen Barnett Expatsi
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps Americans move abroad. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?