The difference between who we are and who we want to be is our habits. That instagram scrolling I do in the morning, yep, it’s a habit. The daily workout, it’s a habit too. For better or worse, our habits shape our lives. The habits that have held me back the most were habits of the mind. My unruly thought-life prevented me from loving people well, from achieving my personal goals, and from being the best version of me I could. When I discovered that thought patterns were actually habits, I began to form new mental habits.
From self study, from reading, and from observing clients, friends, and family, I have come up with 7 habits that appear to be the most self destructive.
THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE PEOPLE:
*Continue reading only if you promise to do so without being hard on yourself… or others.
1. Victim mentality
The victim mentality is a habit that keeps us stuck in blame, negativity, and powerlessness. We all do it from time to time, but making a habit of being a victim will hinder you from being your best and taking control of your life.
The victim mentality in the small things:
“I am late because…”
“I couldn’t get the project done because…”
The victim mentality in the big things:
“The relationship failed because he…”
“My parents didn’t provide me with the love/finances/tools I needed to thrive…”
“The education system failed me because…”
Heard those before? I hear them all the time. They make me sad because they are often rooted in truth. Maybe you weren't provided the love you needed as a child. Maybe you are thousands in school debt. Maybe your spouse left you. Those things are tragic and hard and really sad. They deserve to be dealt with in gentleness and grace. Dealing with them is key.
When you are stuck in the victim mentality, the world will constantly be happening to you. You will blame, become bitter, and be unable to grow. Growth requires taking responsibility.
The habit of judgement is a normal, human tendency. We need to make subtle judgements to make good decisions. We naturally notice patterns and use them as intuition. The issue with judgement is that it is often a reflection of an ego unchecked. It is a nasty symptom of other issues like insecurity, fear, and the scarcity mentality.
When you catch yourself making a judgement as yourself:
Is it rooted in fear? Is it just plain hateful?
How can you switch your judgement to something more gentle, like noticing?
You can notice others without making a judgement. You can call a spade a spade without letting your thoughts become negative and clouded. Start to notice your thoughts.
Gossip is like disease.
A good example of this comes from an old favorite song. A friend pointed out that this song had an annoying aspect to it, and that they hated the artist because xy&z. I could never listen to the song again without thinking about her negative words. Although the song wasn’t completely ruined, the negative association made it harder for me to authentically enjoy it. And so it is with gossip. Gossip takes your negative thoughts and infects others with them.
4. Negative self talk
I’m a firm believer that what you think, you become. If your mind is full of thoughts that don’t serve you, your life will be a life that doesn’t serve you.
Tip** Start tracking your thoughts. Do this with pen and paper, in the notes on your phone, or even just taking mental note. What are you thinking about? What kind of things do you say to yourself?
Defensiveness is the habit of living in a fear based mindset. It takes the assumption that others are trying to “get” you and that you must protect yourself.
Defensiveness resists vulnerability, and cannot be seen as weak. It does not admit wrongs or like to be wrong. The habit of defensiveness will make you feel the need to protect yourself, your beliefs, and need to be right to be safe. Instead of being safe, however, it often makes you, and the people in relationship with you, feel alone.
Curious, creative living comes from a place of vulnerability. Related to defensiveness, it comes back to the fear of rejection, or the fear of being wrong. Living creatively is risky business. It takes courage and vulnerability, you must be willing to open yourself up to inspiration. If you are wanting to learn more about being vulnerable, I highly recommend the work of Brene Brown, watch her TED talk here.
6. Avoiding emotional responses
Avoiding self reflection and emotions will only work for so long. I used to be “happy” because dealing with my fear, anger, or frustration made me feel uncomfortable. Today, I know that experiencing my emotions fully and not judging myself for having them is key. I don’t stay “stuck” in the emotion, but I do allow myself to feel and express it.
This habit is self destructive because it will always come back to bite you in the butt. Those suppressed emotions will bubble up or manifest themselves in your body. They will seem gone for a little while, but you will start to see the bitterness, anger, or annoyance when you talk about others. It will be toxic to your spirit and to your relationships. Allow yourself to feel.
We all have dealt with jealousy from time to time. Jealousy is a sense of lack where we see others in abundance. When jealousy goes unnoticed, it turns into a habit.
If you struggle perpetually with being happy for friends or family members when they succeed, you may be jealous.
If you constantly compare yourself, you may be dealing with a jealousy habit.
All of these habits come back to self love and self acceptance.
They are deeply rooted in judgement, fear, and a lack of self acceptance. If you found yourself feeling crappy or down on yourself after reading this, please leave the judgement at the door. The first step in growing is realizing there is room for improvement! You can choose today to take notice of the areas you want to grow, and give intention to your growth.
If you would like help navigating the road to growth, contact me for a free clarity call. It's a 30 minute call to offer you clarity in areas of growth, help set an action plan in motion, and see if you would benefit from life coaching. Reserve your call here.