“Don’t let your habits become handcuffs.”
– Elizabeth Berg
I have a lot of bad habits. Like most bad habits, they’re self-destructive. However, they’re not the kind of nasty compulsions people visualize when they hear bad habits. There’s no smoking, excessive drinking or drugs.
It’s not biting my nails or chewing my lips (even though I do both of those) or wearing my underwear two days in a row. While those are definitely things I wish I didn’t do, they’re not something I need to quit right away. Those are all physical additions I need to stop…but overtime.
The nasty habits that I need to quit right away are more mentally harmful. They’re the habits that keep me up at night and distracted during the day. They’re the habits that wear down my self-esteem and my inability to enjoy a moment. They’re quickly tearing away at the fabric of myself and if I don’t quit them soon, I’ll be a prisoner of them forever.
1. Getting your self esteem from others.
If you’re relying on your happiness and approval from those around you, you’re doomed to a life of fear. There’s no greater prison than caring what other people think. Once you can stop worrying about what others are thinking about you, you’ll start caring more about what you think of yourself. This is the number one solution to regaining your sanity.
“The way people treat you, is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you.”
2. Constantly attacking and putting yourself down.
So you made a mistake, who doesn’t? So you put your foot in your mouth, who cares? There’s a passage from a woman who recently learned about entropy that will explain to you exactly why you’re supposed to mess up.
The other day we learned about entropy in physics class, about how things are always going to naturally become more and more disordered. How everything is always becoming increasingly chaotic because there are infinitely more ways things will go wrong that they will go right. How a burning piece of wood in a campfire will never unburn because the likelihood of all the particles in the smoke and gas to go back to being the solid it once was is so much smaller than the likelihood of just letting them disperse throughout the night sky. How spilled milk will never unspill because it’s just so much easier for it all to leave a mess on the ground than revert back into the cup where it belonged. I mean, to me it seems like entropy is just the scientist’s catch all term for saying ‘things will get f**ked up because there are a million ways for something to go wrong and only a couple ways for it to go right,’ and now it’s just written into our textbooks and the laws of the universe and we’re left to say “ok, this is how things are going to be”. Honestly though, it’s a little liberating, because now I can look back at the way we didn’t work out, the way we left a mess on the ground just like spilled milk, and say ‘Hey, it wasn’t us. It was entropy. The universe was against it the whole time.
3. Thinking that others are better than you.
No one is you and that is your power. Remember that. Remember that every person you’re wishing you were more like is wishing the same about someone else. It’s a vicious cycle of comparison that only keeps everyone in a state of inadequacy. Once you realize that you hold skills, traits and features no one else does, you’ll stop comparing and start living the real you.
“Comparison is an act of violence against your authentic self. “
4. Expecting things to not turn out well.
The minute you plant the seed of doubt is the minute it starts to grow into a reality. The more you think things will turn out wrong, the higher chance they will. But what if you expected the best from every situation? What if you manifested the best life and the best case scenario all the time. You’d be surprised how the universe will start working in your favor.
“Don’t believe every worried though you have, worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate. ” – Renee Jain
5. Living in the past.
What’s the point? Seriously, what is the goddamn point? The past is past and there’s nothing to change. I know it’s hard but there’s no use dwelling there, even for a minute. The sooner you stop going back, the quicker you’ll start believing in the future.
“Don’t regret anything. Remember there wasn’t anything else that could have happened, given who you were and the state of the world at that moment. The only thing you can change is the present, so learn from the past.”
— Helen Fielding
6. Fearing the future.
Why fear something that hasn’t happened yet? The best way to stop fearing the future is to embrace the present. When you start living in the moment (and I know it’s hard and will take work) you start understanding there’s really nothing to fear. Start reminding yourself that and start getting excited for the future.
Moving forward is the only way to survive.
– Tahereh Mafi
7. Being afraid of change.
Change is the spice of life. Your life would be stale without it. Of course it’s scary to think things will never remain the same, but it’s more scarier to think that you will be the same thing for the rest of your life. Just remember, jumping in is the worst part. Once you get used to the water, you’ll love. Every experience is exactly like that. Whether it be with jobs, relationships, or just daily routines.
“If everybody feels fear when approaching something totally new in life, yet so many are out there “doing it” despite the fear, then we must conclude that fear is not the problem.” – Susan Jeffers
8. Saying yes when you want to say no.
Why are you doing things you don’t want to do? Make a pact with yourself, tell yourself that you no longer are going to do anything you don’t want to do. Life is too short. Your hours are too numbered. You don’t have time to waste on other people’s feelings. Once you fully realize this you won’t mind disappointing someone, because at the end of the day, you won’t be disappointing yourself.
“No might make them angry, but it will set you free.” – Nayyirah Waheed
Want more like this? Sign up for the morning newsletter.