We all play the “what if” game when we think about what it would take to make us truly happy. What if we had the perfect long-term boyfriend who wanted to marry us? What if we could afford a pretty house instead of our drafty apartment? What if we weren’t someone’s assistant but their boss instead? The problem with that is life rarely turns out the way we expect or want it to.
So if you’re waiting for certain things to happen so you can finally be happy already, you could be waiting forever. Here are 10 harsh truths you need to accept in order to live a happy life. And yeah, the truth hurts, but you already knew that. It’ll help you, too, though.
1. You Need to Work Hard.
I know, that’s not what you want to hear. Even the most career-oriented among us get pretty exhausted and burnt-out sometimes, but just like the last few seconds of a killer workout, that’s when the magic happens. You’ll never regret your hard work when you get what you want – that promotion, a successful freelance business, a grad degree you’re passionate about. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s going to take a lot of hours, sweat, and tears to make yourself a success.
2. You Won’t Start Out as CEO.
One annoying thing that the media loves to say (over and over again) is that millennials don’t want to start in the mailroom and expect to basically run their company ASAP. This may be true of some people, but let’s be real: we all know that we’ll have to work our way up. It’s not a total surprise to us. And yeah, it sucks to realize that we have several rungs to climb on the corporate ladder to get where we want to be because that’s pretty exhausting to think about. But that’s just reality.
3. You Always Have a Choice.
Whether it’s work or love, things don’t just happen to us. Things happen, and we react. We act. We choose. You can decide to accept being treated badly by your boyfriend or your boss, or you can dump him or quit. It’s always up to you. So if you’re unhappy because you claim that people aren’t treating you the way you want to be treated, you don’t get my sympathy, because you’re letting it happen. Even if it’s something as small as not liking the texts he sends you, do yourself a favor and move on.
4. Life Can’t be Good All the Time.
Ever notice that when it rains, it pours when it comes to your personal life? Things seem to happen in twos (or threes, even) and the good comes along with the bad, every time. Work explodes in a good way and you’re busier than ever before, and that’s when you go on a string of disappointing first dates. Of course, it would be awesome if everything in your life could go well at the same time: you’re killing it at your career, you find the apartment of your dreams, and you finally meet the person you’re meant to be with. But life doesn’t work that way. So quit whining and accept whatever good the universe does send your way, and hope that more is on the way.
5. You Can Say No.
We all have that friend or relative who is a total do-gooder and so sweet that they are basically a doormat. They can never say no to anyone who asks them for a favor, and suddenly their schedule is jam-packed yet they don’t actually want to do any of it. These kinds of people love to complain about all the demands on their time, but they could have said no, right? Sorry to break it to you but you can always turn something down if it’s not right for you. You’ll never be happy if you always say yes.
6. When You Get What You Want, You Might Hate It.
The future is always full of possibilities and sometimes when we get there, we’re not big fans. That dream job is worse than the creepiest horror movie, that promising guy is the weirdest person you’ve ever met. Be careful what you wish for, basically.
7. You’re Not Entitled to Anything.
A hard truth to accept is that no matter how hard you work, how talented you are, or how much your entire soul is aching for something, you still might not get it. No one owes you anything. That’s actually helpful to remember, though, because when something doesn’t work out you can shrug and move on because it’s not like you deserve anything.
8. You Will Fail.
Of course, you’re amazing and deserve all the success in the world. But yes, you will fail, at least once (but probably a lot more than that). It’s just a fact of the universe. Thinking that being happy and successful means never failing is the wrong way to look at life. Name one successful person, famous or not, and they’ll have a failure story to tell you.
9. No ONE is That Perfect.
This one hurts, I know, because you’re holding out hope, and hope is a powerful thing that is sometimes super necessary. But guess what? No one is perfect, so of course, no ONE could be, and you’re probably not perfect either. There’s no such thing as a perfect date, either. When someone’s bragging about their fantastic boyfriend on Facebook, you can safely assume that she’s super insecure and that he’s not all that great after all.
10. If it Sounds too Good to Be True, it is.
This is a piece of advice my grandpa always gave my mom and it always holds up, no matter what the situation. Trust your gut, live according to what feels right to you, and you’ll always be happy because you’ll be able to separate total crap from reality.