5 Toxic Habits That Prompt Vile Episodes of Self-loathing

Man looking out at the ocean in Cape Schanck

Welcome to the pool of anxiety fuelled frustrations inflicted by none other than yourself. If you find yourself gravitating towards behaviours that prompt vile episodes of self-loathing, make a conscious effort to exterminate these 5 toxic habits.

Falling into the comparison trap

Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt

The tendency to compare yourself to others only feeds your insecurities and forbids you from celebrating your own personal accomplishments. Regardless of however hard that person worked to land that promotion you’ve been aspiring for, you’re instantly riddled with resentment. What’s more distressing is the fact that your own victories, however large they may be, fall short of shutting down the irrational pity party. Nursing this habit with an hour long sulk is quietly robbing you of precious time that could be better spent taking action on your goals. If you continue on with this mentality, success will forever leave a sour taste in your mouth simply because there will always be another person to compare your success to. So stop depriving yourself of moments of joy and focus on your own progression, not your friends, not your nemesis and not your siblings. It’s unhealthy and unwarranted.

Choosing the short-sighted definition of failure

I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work – Thomas Edison

It’s not in the human DNA to accept failure as a natural part of progression. Blame it on whoever released this flawed ideology that failure should be feared and avoided at all costs. Sadly, this naive perspective continues to plague the minds of the human race, fuelling anxiety and a series of other negative emotions. I for one have fallen victim to this flawed perception, but I’m making a conscious effort to erase this habit and you should too. Once you step away from this short-sighted definition, you will discover that your mistakes and shortcomings are simply insight into what works and what doesn’t. 

Dwelling on the past

You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one

Reflecting on the past is a natural and often a subconscious activity that humans regularly engage in. However, when reflection turns into rumination, the problems start to build up and you can find yourself in a toxic whirlpool, unable to appreciate the present moment. The next time you find yourself rehashing or obsessing over past misjudgments, remind yourself that dwelling on the past prevents you from moving forward. While you can’t hit the command z button, much to your dismay, you can view this as a learning experience. Live in the now, don’t let the mistakes of your past sabotage your present and your future.

Chasing the illusion of happiness

It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness – Charles Spurgeon

Chasing the illusion of happiness – more money, possessions, Instagram likes – generates a continuous reel of discontent and disappointment which precludes happiness. This mindset not only initiates a vicious cycle, it triggers a multitude of poisonous emotions, from envy to frustration to misery. If you continue along this path, you will never be content, there will always be another rainbow to chase. Instead of drowning in your own pool of complaints, take a moment to be grateful for what you have. You’ll find that developing an attitude of gratitude is the key to unlocking happiness.

In order to release the grip of these toxic traps and reclaim your happiness, focus your efforts on improving your self-awareness. Self-awareness is a powerful catalyst for change and the key to breaking destructive habits. A deeper sense of awareness will enable you to consciously edit your thoughts when you feel yourself sliding back into a negative pattern.

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