A few days ago, I wrote a posted a simple question on reddit. I asked, “What is depressing you today?”
I received a flood of comments; people who are suffering from depression, who are close to losing their jobs, who have lost their jobs and are facing evictions, who have sky high credit-card and student loan debt, people who are feeling suicidal, stuck, hopeless, angry, anxious, devastated… you understand.
With every story, comment, sentiment that I read, I drew one conclusion: we are ridiculously hard on ourselves! In a strange way, that actually comforted me. Because I thought I was the only one who thought there was always something better I could do, some superbly ideal person I can become, something more I can acquire, in order for me to be happy with my life. We put so much pressure on ourselves because we are constantly reminded that there is someone we are supposed to be, other than ourselves, and we cannot live like this anymore.
The modern life has made us socially isolated and focused so much on results and performance, sometimes we do not know whether we are coming or going. It is slowly killing us.
As a result, I decided to write this article, not just for you, but for me to. Here are the 5 most destructive habits we all must stop in 2015!
1. STOP allowing society to grade you.
Easier said than done, I know. But it bothers me when so many of us are very obviously unhappy because of what we believe we lack, what we are not smart enough to do, what we are not disciplined enough to become, who we know or who we do not know, the rewards we are supposed to have attained “by a certain age”, and as a result, the desperate lengths we go through to fulfill all of these expectations. It is exhausting.
Suggested Solution: Start to honestly and consciously re-assess where in the world you got your set of beliefs from. Are they from certain authority figures in your early life who told you what to do, who to be and how to be it? Did you look around and see what road everyone else was on and just decided, out of fear of being alone or being judged, to get on the same road with the rest of the crowd? Has any of that gotten you any closer to the person you know you truly are? Write down what is no longer working for you, and make a firm decision to eradicate it, him, her, or them from your life. You don’t need any of it where you want to go!
2. STOP holding on so much to what is wrong with you, and everything around you!
It is insane how hard we are on ourselves! Many of us have almost totally eroded our self-support system, and by that, I mean our ability to trust, honour and respect who we are to, for, and by ourselves. We have absolutely no belief in our own worthiness. We have been holding on to what went wrong and how we are to blame. Please note that I am not trivializing how difficult some of your situations are. But what bothers me the most is how much we have abandoned ourselves in search of validation in others – which is sad because 99.999% of the time, we do not get it, and even if we do, we are so deep in self-loathing and self-disapproval that we do not acknowledge the little good others have to say to, or about us. We no longer trust ourselves. We are empty.
Suggested Solution: Whoever is making you feel horrible about yourself, you need to 1. move out, 2. see as little of them as humanly possible or 3. let them loose. You do not need that in your life.
Take the time out one day to be conscious of your thoughts. Just “observe” the things your mind tells you. If you knew how abusive and toxic your mind can be, you would have it arrested for domestic violence and torture. It is time you started really noticing what you have been allowing yourself to think everyday. Now that you know this, please do not beat yourself up yet again for it. Simply start to encourage more thoughts that will build you. Know that this is an every day task, and it will take a lot of effort, but with time, you will start to automatically replace a negative thought with one that encourages and uplifts you.
3. STOP looking for validation!
Another one that is difficult, but worth exploring. I am someone who has spent her whole life seeking validation in everybody else but myself. Even now, this is something I struggle with, but am consciously learning to get better at every day.
Suggested Solution: What you say, what you think, matters. Do not be afraid to contradict what someone has to say. I don’t mean in a confrontational manner, but you do not have to adhere to all rules and regulations that have been set before you. Stop working yourself to exhaustion to please your friends and family. Learn how to say “NO”. There is nothing wrong with that word. In fact, you will find it quite liberating. Again, this boils down to valuing yourself FIRST! Then, and only then, will you have the strength to engage with other people’s demands and expectations in a way that is healthy for you.
4. STOP seeing yourself as a victim!
I am saying this with compassion. You have given too much of your power over to someone else: an ex, a parent, your employer, your children, etc. I think this happens because we do not want to see ourselves in a position of power. Either it is because we lack belief in ourselves to take over the reigns in our life, or that we simply do not see ourselves as worthy, and for some reason, we believe someone else can take the responsibility of leading our lives for us and making us happy. And as you have probably found, this has probably produced some disastrous results, like abuse, neglect, and total disrespect, with you being on the receiving end of all of this.
Suggested Solution: Find the respect and honour that you owe yourself. No longer betray yourself by allowing others to hurt you, or by putting yourself down in front of others. This happens when you start to watch how you think, the words you speak, and the things that you do. It takes time, and it takes practice, and it is a lifetime thing. Trust me!