We all have bad habits. While we can recognize many of the physical bad habits we participate in—eating or drinking too much, for example—our psychological habits are harder to notice, and therefore harder to break. As they often go unidentified, these habits tend to wreak havoc on our own happiness, and on the health of our relationships.
Here are three common ones, and how to change them.
1. Letting fear control you
There are many things in life and relationships that could go wrong. He could cheat on you, she could leave you, he may stop finding you attractive, she may stop loving you. The more we dwell on and fret over the things we fear, the more we come to expect them to actually happen. And when we expect our partner to hurt us, we harm our relationship, and it actually makes it more likely that we will get hurt.
In order to stop this kind of behavior, we need to recognize that, very often, our fears have no basis in reality. When these fears arise, we must learn to disassociate from them and let them pass, rather than believing them, feeding them or lingering on them.
2. Jumping to conclusions
Maybe you consider yourself very perceptive and intuitive, and you feel like you ‘know’ what other people are thinking or feeling. Particularly, you ‘know’ they are irritated with you, don’t like you, or are acting negatively toward you in some other way. Guess what? Without communication, you can’t ‘know’ how someone feels about you or anything else. When we assume that we do, we push away others, keeping them at a distance because of our own insecurities.
The next time you feel this way, consider other reasons the person may act the way they do, before you jump to the conclusion that it necessarily has to do with you. Maybe they had a bad day or maybe they’re not naturally as talkative or friendly as you. The less we take things personally or get offended, the better we’re able to love and understand others.
3. Feeling like a victim
The victim mentality causes us to blame others, or external factors, for all of our problems, rather than finding ways to solve them or make things work. For example, ‘my work is poor quality because my boss makes me work too much,’ or ‘I’m exhausted because my husband doesn’t help me with anything.’
Even when situations are difficult—which they often are—our lives and our decisions are no one’s responsibility but our own. Constantly blaming others for our experiences and hard times limits personal growth and unnecessarily distances the people we know and love.
Practicing gratitude daily by remembering and listing what we are thankful for is a great way to combat this tendency. Another way is to focus on what you can do to change and better whatever situation you find yourself in, rather than focusing on finding fault or blame with others or yourself for the things that happen. We can’t change the past actions that brought us to where we are today, but we can control how we respond to the situation we’re in.
If you recognize yourself in any of these tendencies, that’s great! Becoming more aware of your harmful psychological and emotional patterns is the first step to changing them. Although it takes time and vigilance to change these habits, it’s absolutely possible, as well as healthy for both you and your relations.
-The Alternative Daily