Being happy should be simple, but with all these insane rules and social pressures that we put on ourselves, it's actually kind of hard. Isn't that so sad? I think it's the worst, personally. A little #LifeHack, though, is that there are things you probably do every day that make you unhappy. Here, are 23 little things you can and should give up if you really want to be an overall happier person.
1. Streamlining your life and apartment until you're left with a beautiful home filled with literally nothing.
Do you know what makes me happy? All the random shitty trinkets I've gathered over the years. Most of them are really tacky and not at all ~cool~ or remotely adult, but that miniature gold top hat I wore to a costume party once reminds of me a really fun night and I refuse to throw it away, thanks.
2. Any man who says things like, "if you just changed this tiny thing, you'd be so much better!" or expresses any interest at all in "fixing" you.
As soon as boys outgrow their play tools and PS2s, they start tinkering with things of consequence—like other human beings— and it's actually the worst. Never keep around a boyfriend who promises to help you "get over" your parents' separation or that body image issue you've had for years. These things sound well-meaning, but all he's gonna do is slap some duct tape on the problem and then rip it off with violent force when you two break up. You don't need that. Not that you have to do all your personal growth alone, but this is what great friends and family and therapists are for.
3. Trying to pretend like you're Martha Stewart Jr. and can perform impossible tasks like folding fitted sheets and make perfect meringue.
OK, so (1) Martha Stewart spent time in prison, is she really your idol at this point? And (2) this woman gets paid so much money to fold fitted sheets and make desserts that require eight hours of preparation time, and there's a reason for that. Don't be Martha Stewart, just be your own woman.
4. Finding yourself.
ICYMI, finding yourself is bullshit, and hey, look, if you look down right now and see a body that belongs to you, boom! You've just found yourself! Congrats! Trying to find yourself is usually just a sign that you know what you want and are too scared to just do it, or in other words, it's a waste of time.
5. Doing everything yourself because you're an independent woman who doesn't need any help with anything.
I personally used to be all for the idea that nothing worth doing can't be done totally alone without any help, but that's insane. People need other people; there are 7 billion people on this planet for a reason. We need each other, like, all the time, and that's totally OK, and doesn't make you weak or dumb.
6. Constantly comparing yourself to other people like we're all permanently stuck in a dog show but for humans.
Yes, everyone is pretty judgmental (especially the people who are all like, "OMG, no, I don't judge! No judgment!") but rarely does another person's snap judgment of you actually matter. Like, the guy who just saw you pick your nose on the sidewalk is probably never going to see you again, and the worst thing that could really happen with this is he has a funny anecdote to tell his friend later. Forget it.
7. Pretending like you're always happy because haha, FAKE IT 'TIL U MAKE IT, amirite?
There are some cases in which "fake it 'til you make it" is good advice, but feelings are never best left faked. If you're sad, feel sad. If you're super excited, feel excited. Don't just put on a happy face and be like, "It's fine, no, like, really, it's fine," when actually you feel like there's an earthquake happening in your brain.
8. Hanging on to old friends whom you don't actually like but ugh they were so nice to you in high school and you used to be, like, so close.
Having friends only out of obligation is shitty to them, because you're being unfair and probably a little rude, and shitty to you, because spending time with people who make you feel anxious and annoyed is just bad practice. There's nothing wrong with two grown adults going their separate ways on totally amicable terms. We don't all have to like each other (thank god).
9. Following anyone you dislike even a little bit online, because let's be real, that's a hate-follow and reading their garbage tweets is only making you super bitter.
OK, I GET IT. It's fun to hate-follow people and send their tweets to your friends and be like, "Hahaha, look at what this idiot put on the Internet!" But this isn't helping you on your path to happiness and greatness at all. It's only wasting time, because in the seconds you spend copying that tweet link, you could be writing your own fire tweet.
10. Not eating sugar or carbs or anything else that's delicious and great.
Unless you have diabetes or are celiac, and have a real medical reason to avoid certain foods, eat whatever you want. If you know that you're personally much happier when you eat healthy, then by all means, eat your leaves or whatever. But cookies and bread are so good, oh my god, so good. Don't deprive yourself of such delicacies as dinner rolls.
11. Also juice cleanses, which only make you cranky and not happy at all.
We have teeth so we can chew on solid foods. Babies, poor babies, do not have such a luxury and are stuck with liquids. Are you an infant? Are you a real-life infant, reading the Internet right now? No, you are not. (If you are though, please email me, that's incredible.) Eat real food like a real adult. Ban juice cleanses.
12. Doing anything you're iffy about because your friends are doing it and, like, maybe it'll be a little fun.
So your friends wanna go to out nad walwal on a Wednesday? Hey, guess what. Don't go! Just don't do it. Don't willingly walk into situations you know are only going to leave you hungover and mad.
13. Caring about how many likes you get on Instagram because sometimes the best pic is a dumpster pic.
When has anyone ever confronted you IRL and been like, "Hey, so did you ever recover from the shame of that Instagram that only got eight likes ?????" For some reason, it's fun to post dumpster pics of greasy pizza on Insta sometimes. Embrace this freedom. The Internet is an endless landfill.
14. Planning your weekends around the hope that some guy you like will ask you to hang out.
This is a great way to end up sitting on the couch all weekend, eating stale Oreos, and filling the day with empty tasks like painting your nails and other such things that take up a lot of time but are really just ways to distract yourself from the phone screen that hasn't lit up in 12 hours. Saying no to plans with friends because you wanna be free when he finally calls is a hard habit to break, but it will make you feel so much better. Plus it's fun to say no to boys, like, "lol sorrryyyyyy I'm busy."
15. Drinking your coffee black to seem cool when you actually like it with 13 sugar packets and half a cup of cream.
Probably you saw some executive in a movie frantically order a coffee, black, before heading into an important fictional meeting and then you were like, "Damn, yeah, same tho." But drinking coffee with sugar in it does not make you weak. Take your coffee how you please and maybe your mornings will be a little bit more bearable, knowing you have something to look forward to.
16. Skipping dessert because "it's only Tuesday" or whatever.
Sometimes Tuesday is the hardest day of the week, and you just really need a brownie or cookie or something to take the edge off. Do it! There's no rule that fun can only occur on the weekends. Fun (and dessert) can occur anytime.
17. Trying to impress your haters, like you give a shit about their garbage opinions.
It's so tempting to try and woo your haters into admitting defeat, but this is just never going to happen. The better you are, the more these people are going to dislike you. Forget about them. Do not keep your enemies closer than your friends. Keep your enemies a million miles away from you.
18. Striving to be better than your exes.
I have this very fucked-up desire to create a personal newsletter that only goes out to men I've dated and lists all my accomplishments. But it would take me a few hours to set that up and even more hours to maintain (I have a lot of accomplishments) and that's just a waste of time. Scorched earth policy here. Also trust me, they're aware how much better you're doing than they are without you fighting to prove it.
19. Ordering a drink that makes you look hard AF at the bar, like whiskey, when you really just want a ~*~cosmopolitan~*~.
The person who invented all the sugary drinks we all love invented them because they are good. Whiskey can also be good. But come on. Cranberry juice with vodka in it is basically a popsicle that gets you drunk. How can you turn that down.
20. Waiting in a 15-person line at the women's restroom when there is literally no one using the men's restroom.
LOL, manners. LOL, social norms. If there's not a dude in the men's room, just use it. Also are we really still doing gendered bathrooms? Consider this a strike against The Man. A silent protest, if you will.
21. Wearing painful shoes just so you don't look uncool.
Most of the things that are deemed "uncool" are actually great. Why? Because popular people are sociopaths who want to watch the world suffer at their expense. Embrace your dad look. Wear running shoes instead of the heels that always give you a blister. It's all fine and good, and you'll be happier in the long run.
22. "Saving up" your vacation days.
You have vacation days so you can take vacation, not just couch-cation. Save a little money, and go places. See things. Experiences can be better than things.
23. Not wearing certain things because someone told you that your body is an inverted triangle or whatever and you really shouldn't wear that style of dress.
Wear literally whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy. No one is going to stop you on the sidewalk and be like, "How dare you wear that fluttery blouse when your body would look better in things with defined waists." Do you sense a pattern here though? Basically just do whatever you want and don't let other people tell you what's best for you. That's dumb anyway.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.