“I don’t deserve to be happy.”
Have you ever heard a friend say this? Have you ever said this yourself?
In a world where there is a big focus on the superficial, it’s very easy to neglect your happiness. We live in a world of constant comparison, and sometimes it can feel like you haven’t done enough to feel happy.
This is when you might start thinking, “I don’t deserve to be happy.”
Feeling like you don’t deserve happiness can also result from some kind of trauma that has affected your self-esteem.
Let’s talk about how to own your happiness.
“I Don’t Deserve To Be Happy”: Actually, You Do!
While this feeling is often very isolating, it’s more common than you might think. There are a lot of people battling these kinds of negative thoughts and low self-esteem.
Why Do You Think You Don’t Deserve To Be Happy?
When you have experienced trauma, it often leads to a distorted view of your self-worth. We internalize the bad things that have happened to us and often feel like they are our fault.
However, the bad things people do to us are not our fault. You never deserve to be traumatized, no matter what you do.
It can be very painful dealing with past trauma, but it is an important part of learning that you deserve to be happy.
Trauma, Negative Comments, Guilt, And More
It’s hard to accept how painful dealing with trauma can be, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
While trauma can refer to big, life-altering events, it can also refer to smaller things. It is very common for people to dismiss their experiences and how they might have been traumatic.
Has a friend, family member, or partner said something negative about you? This can lead to poor self-esteem.
A person saying something that negatively impacts how you see yourself can lead to you being overly critical of yourself.
To move past this, you might need to repair the relationship and forgive the person. Other times, you need to remove that person from your life.
A major part of believing you don’t deserve to be happy is your internal narrative. People tend to focus on what they did wrong in a situation, which can spark negative thought spirals.
If you believe you’re a bad person, you can feel guilty when you’re happy. This can lead to you not prioritizing your happiness.
Another major cause of believing you don’t deserve to be happy is survivor’s guilt after a negative event. A survivor feeling guilty is a natural response, but not necessarily warranted.
You are not a bad person for surviving something traumatic. It is important not to let trauma control your entire life. You still deserve happiness.
This is true in the same way that just because someone else has it worse, that doesn’t mean you aren’t also struggling. There’s no such thing as a universal scale of suffering – your emotions are valid and you should be allowed to feel them.
Mental illness can also be a significant contributing factor in thinking you do not deserve to be happy. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can cause negative thoughts.
If you have a mental illness, it is not your fault. You are not responsible for your mental illness. Mental illness is not a character flaw.
You can get help for your mental illness and you should reach out if you are struggling.
How These Thoughts Can Negatively Impact Us
How does thinking you don’t deserve to be happy play into daily life? It can have a huge impact.
If you don’t feel like you deserve to be happy, you are more likely to self-sabotage. This can look like not putting yourself up for a promotion at work or canceling plans with friends.
If you have a lot of bad things happen to you, you can get suspicious of happiness. You might feel like happiness is only temporary, and end up wasting time waiting for something bad to happen.
This robs you of happiness and keeps you trapped in either the past or the uncertainty of the future. This can mean that you end up not living a good life. If you feel like you don’t deserve happiness, it is unlikely that you will be happy.
How To Own Your Happiness
Luckily, there are ways to work on your negative thought patterns and help yourself achieve happiness.
If you’re ready to take back your happiness, read on!
Say Positive Affirmations
When you’re dealing with low self-esteem, positive affirmations can be a real game changer.
You might feel like there is nothing positive you can say about yourself. Don’t worry – that’s normal, and part of the process!
You can start with really small things. Do you like the color of your eyes or the clothes you’re wearing? It doesn’t have to be big, just acknowledge what you like about yourself.
Ideally, you will build up to affirmations about your self-worth and the fact that you deserve to be happy. This can take time, so don’t rush it. Believe in the process – it will pay off!
If you are struggling to come up with affirmations, there are many powerful self-love affirmations available online to help give you ideas.
When we don’t feel like we deserve to be happy, it can feel like nothing good has ever happened to us. Taking the time to reflect on the positive moments in your life can be a great way to start believing you deserve happiness.
Gratitude is an amazing tool and it can help to improve your mental health.
Start small – write down one thing that you are thankful for each day. It could be something as simple as enjoying the sunshine or something bigger like achieving a goal.
Each week on Thankful Thursday, take the time to reflect on your blessings. Your perspective will start to shift and you will be able to focus on the good in your life instead of feeling like you don’t deserve happiness.
You might also want to start a happiness journal through an app like the Do Happy App. This app will help you to focus regularly on the positive things in your life and appreciate the good moments.
Spend Time With People Who Make You Happy
Humans are social creatures, and the right people can make us feel good about ourselves.
Your feelings and emotions can be very dependent on your environment, so it is important to surround yourself with positivity.
Spending time with people who make you happy can elevate your mood, give you a more positive outlook, and boost your self-esteem. When you are around people who make you laugh and enjoy yourself, you naturally feel better.
Take the time to identify who these people are in your social circle, and make an effort to visit them more often. This can create a positive environment that will help you to believe you deserve happiness.
When you don’t take care of yourself, it can lead to a vicious cycle. You feel like you don’t matter, which causes you to neglect your needs, and in turn leads to more negativity. You don’t feel worthy of happiness, so you don’t do the things that make you happy.
You need to break this cycle and practice self-care. This can involve taking a break from your daily routine, treating yourself to something nice, getting plenty of rest, and most importantly, listening to your body and mind.
Self-care is a crucial part of living a balanced and healthy life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple bubble bath or a few hours of reading can make all the difference.
When you take time for yourself and make sure you have what you need, it can be easier to believe that you deserve happiness.
Be Kind To Yourself
This is probably the most important point of all. You need to be kind to yourself and treat yourself with respect.
You can start by being mindful of your thoughts. When you feel negative judgment coming up, take a step back and see it objectively as someone else’s opinion rather than taking it on board as your truth.
This sounds strange but give it a try – when you hear the little voice in your head talk down to yourself, talk back to it firmly but kindly. Remind it that not only do you deserve to be happy, but you are worthy of it too.
The more often you practice positive self-talk and speak kindly towards yourself, the easier it will be to own your happiness.
See A Mental Health Professional
There is a point when your feeling of not deserving to be happy becomes too powerful to deal with on your own.
While these tips are very helpful, you might also need to seek professional help, especially if you are battling depression.
Seeing a therapist can help you get to the bottom of your feelings and provide individualized solutions.
If you were wondering: no, it’s not possible to always be happy. Your own happiness might feel evasive!
However, you shouldn’t feel like you don’t deserve happiness! The simple fact is that everyone does. Say to yourself, “I deserve to be happy.”
You are worthy of a life that brings you joy. Focus on changing things in your life to help you see that you deserve happiness. Take small steps and be patient with yourself. Remember: change takes time but it is possible and it’s worth it!
For more articles on how to take control of your life and own your happiness, visit the a little dose of happy blog.