Our minds are quirky, contradictory things. As much as humans desperately seek happiness and fulfillment (often beating our heads against the nearest wall in the attempt), our behaviors and thoughts may be simultaneously sabotaging us.
These self-destructive tendencies are a nagging blight on the human condition, ready to rob us of all joy if we pay them too much attention. Like a clingy ex or a pair of mom jeans, they are to be avoided at all costs.
But bad habits can be broken. Once you acknowledge them, that is.
So, here are five soul-sucking patterns it’s time to say so long to. They’re robbing you of happiness as we speak:
Keeping up with the Kardashians/Joneses/Drapers/(insert neighbor’s name here).
Anytime you covet, compete or compare, you’re setting yourself up for misery. You are a unique human. You’re not here to be anyone but you, and you CAN’T be, no matter how much dinero you shell out in an attempt to look like Justin Bieber. Besides, having what someone else has won’t make you happier — that’s your brain lying to you. Your happiness can only be found in what you already have. You’re on your own journey. Make it an epic and unrivaled adventure.
Constantly seeking anything.
Happiness is not a distant destination where the rivers run with cookie butter and the streets are paved with Swarovskis. It’s here, now, in this particular moment. The dreams of your future are just that — dreams. They’re lovely figments of our imagination, but they should never rob you of the present moment. That’s the only currency you’ve got. Always looking to what’s next in a quest for something ELSE is a waste of your precious, precious life.
Obsessing over your (or anyone else’s) physical appearance.
This is one I’ve been guilty of for as long as I can remember. Still am. But I can call it for what it is these days: nonsense. The skin we’re in is just that — skin. A shell. Changing our physical appearance will never fix our internal struggles. Ever. Some of the most gorgeous humans throughout history have also been some of the most tortured. Remind yourself of that little factoid when you’re agonizing over your lack of a thigh gap or receding hairline.
Sometimes, our judgments of others (and worst of all, ourselves) feel like an inherent part of who we are. That driver cuts you off — he’s an asshole. That chick’s ass cheeks are hanging out of her shorts — she’s a slut. You forget to pay your credit card bill this month — you’re a worthless POS. Sometimes, these cognitions come so quickly them seem entirely out of our control. They’re not. It just takes practice to let ’em go. Releasing judgment is one of the crucial steps to spiritual growth. Things and people and circumstances just ARE. They exist, and your judgments of them serve no purpose. Besides, what good has judging others ever done you? It breeds bad feelings and a sense of separation. Not a happy consequence in a world that desperately needs more love, compassion and connection. Next time you catch yourself judging something (yourself included), stop, breathe and let it go.
Ignoring your intuition.
Deep down, you’ve always got the answers. You know it. You just choose to ignore that wise little sage speaking in your head because what he/she has to say is often inconvenient. You knew your ex was the wrong dude for you, but the idea of breaking up was SO painful. You knew that job wasn’t the right fit, but money was tight. You knew you were born to be an artist, but everyone said you were stupid. We’re all guilty of taking the easy, predictable path over the hard, uncertain trek. But only one is the road to happiness. When you’re not sure, LISTEN. That little voice is always spot on. If you ignore it, you’ll pay the price in the end. Better to do the hard thing now than the even harder thing much later.