We are all working towards becoming the best versions of ourselves, and while that is a beautiful and deeply special journey, it can also be difficult at times. While we navigate relationships, and friendships, and different circumstances in our lives, we can sometimes lose sight of the patterns and the habits of ours that may not be serving us. Things like perfectionism and being unconditionally kind to everyone around you can seem harmless, but if taken too far, they can actually end up hurting you, and hindering your growth. Below we’ve outlined some common habits that you may not realize are toxic — we hope this list helps for you to open your eyes to certain patterns of yours, and encourages you to reflect on healthier habits you could move towards instead.
1. When You Mistake Repression For Being Calm
Being in control of your emotions and appropriately reacting to them in your everyday life is a sign of growth and self awareness. However, when that is taken too far, and you stop allowing yourself to feel your emotions and validate your visceral experiences, as a means of self preservation, you’re actually participating in repression. Keeping your emotions bottled up, not communicating, or numbing yourself to experiencing them at all, is a toxic trait because it ends up hurting you more in the long run. You aren’t actually moving through your journey, or acknowledging all of what is happening inside of you — you’re just pushing it further into yourself, and that will only make things worse.
2. Romanticizing Being Alone And Your Independence Too Much
Learning how to be alone is special. Fostering a sense of autonomy, and independence in your life, is also special. However, sometimes our alone can become too comfortable of a place, and we end up closing ourselves off in order to protect the safety we have created within our lives.
Running away from certain experiences or relationships as a means of protection just keeps you blocked off from the people and the things in life that are trying to find you. No, dependence is not good, but chronic independence is also not the most nourishing way to approach life. You can ask for help, you can express and be vulnerable with others, you can invite other human beings and dreams and goals into your world without having to worry that they will destroy the foundation you have built, and so on. To assume that you have to be alone in order to be happy is a toxic approach to your journey here because human beings need connection — it’s just a matter of waiting for the good ones.
3. Striving For Perfection In Everything You Do
Perfectionism might seem like something that should be glorified, but it is actually a toxic mindset. Perfectionism has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles because being too focused on doing everything correctly and within a very structured and strict boundary often causes you to beat yourself up for forgivable, and often very human, mistakes. Human beings need to practice self-compassion in light of mistakes — it is only then that you come to understand and connect with the fact that your journey and growth as as an individual isn’t always perfect, but it is real, and being able to navigate that in a tender, and understanding way, is how you are kinder to yourself within it.
4. Being A Night Owl And Skipping Sleep
Sleep is so deeply important for you. Sleep, especially REM sleep, is actually when you deal with a lot of trauma and healing — your brain literally rewires itself and heals itself during these cycles, and by not taking the time to allow for your brain and your body to rest, is so much more harmful than you may realize. Being able to stop, and to allow yourself to decompress, and to focus on something that is good for you in a way that isn’t instantly gratifying you, is also a way you can learn healthier approaches to your well-being. Seeing the value in something like sleep, even when so much more in this world is asking for your attention late at night, or when you’re extremely busy, is a way you can show yourself that you are someone worth investing in, too.
5. People-Pleasing At Your Own Expense
Being a kind, and compassionate, human being is a beautiful way we can learn how to foster unconditional and pragmatic love in our connections. However, people pleasing often goes beyond genuine kindness, and that can be a toxic approach to relationships because it teaches us that other people’s wants and needs hold more importance than our own. When you move throughout your life constantly putting others before you, it makes you vulnerable to being taken advantage of by those who may not have your best interest in mind, and it can also leave you feeling burnt out and resentful in your connections. At the end of the day, it is important to remind yourself that you need to nourish and take care of your own wants and needs, and set boundaries with those in your life so that you aren’t always pouring from an empty cup.