7 Things to Eliminate from Your Life
1. The responsibility to change people
One of the most difficult things to experience is watching someone you love, go down a hard path. They are fighting the internal struggle to better themselves, but also getting stuck in the cycle of destruction. You want to protect them, shielding them from life’s hardships and save them from themselves. You can clearly see how the toxic situation may turn out in the future, so you feel that it is your responsibility to stop this person from going any further with their destructive behavior.
In your attempt to help your loved one, they may reject your help and entirely cut you off, or they may cling to you for constant support.
But what I’ve learned is that each experience in life is meant to prepare us for something greater in life. In order to learn the lesson life is trying to teach, that person must figure it out for themselves. Forcing your assistance on someone, before they’re ready, or becoming someone’s crutch will only prolong the lesson they’re supposed to learn. I’ve learned that people will only accept help when they are ready to change their lifestyle.
I’m not asking you to ignore desperate behavior or cut someone off emotionally, but be there as a support system and not the main engine. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve tried to “save”, but every time, the people got better when I took a step back and let them figure things out of their own. You can give someone every tool they need to help themselves, the best therapist, every pamphlet at the doctor’s office, and all the self-help books Barnes and Noble has in stock. But if they aren’t ready to change, it will all be worthless. So, give them a little breathing room. People are more resilient than we think.
2. The guilt of taking time for yourself
When you’re suddenly drowning in dinner plans, Friday night outings, and birthday celebrations, its ok to turn down an invite. Trust me, I’d rather be huddled in a mound of blankets instead of a club full of hot, sweaty people too.
It’s common for introverts or ambiverts to feel guilty for taking time for themselves because society mainly promotes an extroverted lifestyle. The world tells you to always be out, spending money, socializing, and having fun with outside your home. But what if your idea of fun is relaxing with a good book with the aroma of your favorite candle filling the room?
Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. You are nurturing your inner needs and making yourself happy. Then, when you’re ready, socialize and give some of that happiness you just filled yourself up with to others.
3. Anxiety about the future
The scariest part about the future is that there’s no guarantees. Will your car work tomorrow? Will you get a job after college? We are promised nothing except what we have at this very moment. So how do you move forward with this realization?
Break down your toxic thoughts. Realize that anxiety is fear of the future, making so you may physically be in the present, but your mind lives in future scenarios you’ve made for yourself. Most of the time the anxiety is fueled by thoughts of lost, failure, and rejection in the future. Because of this you, avoid things you think you could lead to these feelings.
You are not avoiding that actual event, you are avoiding the emotional baggage that could come with it. For example, not speaking up in class because you may have the wrong answer and looking like a failure. Or not asking someone out for fear of rejection.
But here’s the thing, what if you’re successful? What if going to that interview actually gets you your dream job? Or you end up marrying that crush you were afraid to talk to (… you never know). You would have missed out on that opportunity because of something that *could have* happened.
So instead, take back control of your life by living in the moment, saturating yourself with positive thoughts, and transforming nervous energy into motivational energy to help fuel your new optimistic attitude.
4. Fear of being uncomfortable
When I was little, I hated stepping out of a warm shower and because I knew that once I got out, I would feel cold. My mom used to say this one phrase that my little 6-year-old self-hated with a passion. “Not for long”, she’d say. And she applied it to everything. From eating gross vegetables, doing tedious homework, or learning my times tables, “Not for long” was always her go-to response to my complaints. And today I couldn’t be more grateful.
She never tried to ease the discomfort for me, because she knew that the more I did something that seemed tough at the time, I would grow mentally stronger and be able to handle it with ease in the future.
Feeling uncomfortable means you are growing and growth is good. So, don’t shy away from new and unfamiliar experiences. In fact, seek them out! Afraid of public speaking? Read a poem at an open mic poetry reading. Afraid to have a difficult conversation with someone? Set a date and time to have some coffee with them and talk things over.
The more you expose yourself to those tough experiences, the easier they will be and you will be better for it.
5. The desire to fit in
If humans were meant to fit in with each other, wouldn’t we all think, look, and act the same? And exactly what are we supposed to be fitting into? A box, a single mindset, or a “perfect” look that magazines are trying to force down our throats? Your greatest strengths are the unique qualities that make you, you. No one else can do exactly what you do, the way you do it.
The quirks in our personalities can change the world. What talents do you hold within you? Can your love of drawing create a new wave architectural design? Will your passion for research create the new life-saving vaccine? Or maybe your baking skills will make you world famous!
Don’t limit yourself to only reaching the norm, because you were never meant to be normal. Don’t leave this Earth the same way you found it. Challenge yourself to change the world with whatever talent you’ve been given. And promise yourself to never blend in with the crowd, you deserve better than that.
6. The need to buy happiness
In a capitalist society, money equals power. So, to gain more power, corporation pays millions of dollars on advertisement campaigns to convince you that you are not happy without their products.
The average person encounters roughly X ads a day. So, with the constant pressure to change yourself, people begin to believe that they must get a full facelift to be beautiful, buy the newest phone to stay on trend, and only buy a certain brand of jeans to be seen as successful.
Do those products really make you happier? In the long run... no. As soon as the newest product comes out, you are suddenly dissatisfied with what you already own.
You must learn to focus on the basics. Does your current phone still function well? Can you drive your car even if it doesn’t have its own Wi-Fi hotspot? Will last year’s sweater still keep you warm this winter? If the answer is yes, then you know not to spend your money on another corporate scheme.
Save your money for things you really want, like on a vacation or putting down money for your first apartment. Invest in yourself first and don’t put your paycheck in another CEO’s pocket.
7. Drowning in self-pity
There are some people who just love to tell people their hardships. How they just lost their job, can’t afford their rent, or aren’t doing well in school. The problem comes when you see them two months later and they’re still telling you the same story as last time. They have done nothing to try to get out of their situation.
Its ok to talk about your hardships in a productive, problem solving way. But allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity in order to gain sympathy from others will only draw negative attention to yourself. Plus, the more you tell this story to everyone, the more you are reinforcing it in your own mind. You’ll be stuck in the same mental place until you change your mindset.
It’s easy to fall into the self-pity because its comfortable and familiar. You’ve learned how to get people’s sympathy by reciting your perfected sob story. No, you may not like where you are in life. You may hate living a home, feel like you’re wasting away at a crappy job, or trapped in a dead-end relationship. But all of that may is easier than taking a risk on the unknown, your future. So you stay stuck in the same place you’ve always been in, never moving forward.
I say this from experience, not condemnation. For a majority of my life, I was comfortable blaming the world for my stagnant life. I never went out, had healthy friendships(describe your unhealthy friendship), or did anything to advance my life. But one day I realized that I wanted more for myself, and I was the only thing hold myself back. Excuses will never make you successful, so don’t get stuck living in one.
To fight the urge of throwing yourself a pity party, set a time limit for yourself as to how long you are allowed to complain about something. Give yourself two days to get over a job lost and a month to pick yourself up after a bad break up. This way, you still release your emotions, but can quickly put that energy into being productive and enhancing your life.