Self love has become a big term in recent years, and I’d like to think of it as a reaction to the epidemic of poor self image that the media and unrealistic societal standards have created.
Though you may not even notice it yourself, there are certain habits that can lead to this heavy feeling of negativity in your life. In fact, many aspects of our personality and emotional makeup form throughout our lives to create the psychological habits we fall into, like the thoughts that infiltrate our head on a regular basis that keep us from doing certain things, feeling positive about ourselves, and seeking out new adventures.
Happiness is actually just an emotion, one that is always fleeting. While most of us understand happiness as having a good life and feeling good, it’s more important to think of this as obtaining long term peace in our lives. A feeling that is always comfortable, effortless and there. Where we don’t need anything outside ourselves to make us happy, because we already feel peace. We can still experience and enjoy anything we choose, but the NEED for the emotion of happiness is not there.
With anything discussed below, ask yourself why you are in these mental states and how they might be serving you. It isn’t helpful to simply judge, despise it and move on, these things are showing us something about ourselves, our programming and our beliefs. Love them, use them as a tool and then let them go.
Here are seven habits that can ruin the happiness you deserve in your life:
1. Being Jealous
It seems easier said than done, but eliminating jealousy from your life can be one of the most liberating feelings in the world. Think about how you feel when you choose to resent others for their happiness and accomplishments. It creates negative energy for you. But if you choose to be happy for them, there is no room for the bad vibes. Rather than trapping yourself in misery, choose freedom in support, which will ultimately lead to happiness. Research supports this, linking jealousy to aggression and low self-esteem.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
— Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2
Overanalyzing seems to be one of those things we do best. We overthink about how others feel about us, how we feel about ourselves, and so much more. These overwhelming thoughts tend to lead to a lack of self worth, causing us to feel like no matter how much we do in life, we will never amount to who we are supposed to be. Overanalyzing creates fear and anxiety that we didn’t have when we allowed ourselves to simply just be; to live.
As Psychology Today explains:
In an extensive programme of research, Professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, now at Yale University, has shown that this response style is characteristic of—and often perpetuates—depression. For example, a large-scale community study found that individuals who reported ruminating more frequently—e.g., almost always thinking “Why do I have problems other people don’t have?”—when feeling down, sad or depressed were more likely to have elevated symptoms of depression a year later than people who reported thinking these statements less often.
3. Not practicing gratitude
When we lack appreciation, we allow ourselves to feel unsatisfied with our lives, which only keeps us searching for more fulfillment. To truly harbour gratitude, we must start on a fundamental level; that is, being grateful for our very existence itself. When we shed our layers of materialism, we are left with this beautiful realization that life is a gift in and of itself. Then, all of those secondary successes seem even more wonderful, but not necessary to our happiness. Research has found that gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.
4. Feeling Helpless
Thinking that we have less control over our lives than we actually do is a learned behaviour. This mindset, in which we believe there is no point in bothering to try things, because the world is somehow working against us, or has our plans figured out, has been linked with depression. But the more we believe we are the beholders of our own worlds, with endless abilities, the more we escape the things that make us unhappy and seek the things that do, whether that be leaving a dead-end job or finding a loving partner.
5. Living by the myth of arrival
“Once I get enough money, I’ll travel the world,” is an example of believing in the myth of arrival. The problem is, when we use obstacles to keep us from doing things we want, we allow them to accumulate, to the point that we never actually get where we desire to be. It keeps us from finding happiness on our own terms. We become so focused on the destination that we have no idea how to begin, or navigate, the journey. Even more concerning is the realization that, once we do travel, once we do lose weight, once we do get the car and the house, that our unhappiness is still there simply because it is more fundamental than that. It is something that must be addressed by looking inward, not outward. In his book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar calls this reasoning the “arrival fallacy.”
6. Not forgiving people
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. “
There is a common misconception that forgiveness entails forgetting something happened altogether, or saying that what happened was okay when it wasn’t. But forgiveness is really about permitting yourself to be free of the resentment that being wronged by someone else creates, or the guilt that doing something yourself that goes against your morals causes. In fact, forgiving yourself is just as meaningful as forgiving others. Research has found that unforgiving people tend to be hateful, angry, and hostile, which ultimately leads to anxiousness, depression, and neurosis.
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