My old roommate/dear friend once told me that the title of my book should be, “The Problem is You: A Book on Perspective.” And really, I like the sound of that sometimes! We all can think of a person or two who make their own lives miserable, whether it’s as simple as complaining all the time, or as horrible as making the same destructive mistakes over and over. Most of the time, unfortunately, these people are so busy blaming everyone and everything else for their misfortunes that they don’t realize it’s really themselves who are to blame.
And honestly, sometimes that person we know is actually us.
The thing is, the way we choose to think about things has much more of an impact on our happiness than anything that happens to us does. It’s easy to let life happen and simply react to it. Learning how to check yourself and readjust your thinking or actions can be one of the most rewarding lessons. It’s okay to realize you’re being the problem in your own life—we are human, and making mistakes is kind of our forte. But mistakes don’t have to be a bad thing if you simply choose to learn from them and better yourself.
As I have caught myself being my own self-saboteur a time or two, here are my tips for learning how to stop being your own worst enemy:
Recognize YOUR role in your happiness or lack thereof.
If you’re consistently unhappy, everyone is annoying to you, and nothing ever goes your way, there’s a really good chance it’s your perspective that’s the problem more than anything else. Or maybe you had a rough childhood or are going through a series of tribulations that seem like they’ll never end; it can be easy to seek solace from those pains in self-destructive behaviors. However, I know so many people with the worst of circumstances and the best of attitudes—it truly is all about how you choose to deal with it. I think the quote below by Cheryl Strayed says it all.
Practice changing your thoughts.
Just like you have to keep exercising a muscle to keep it strong, you have to keep practicing positive thoughts for them to come naturally to you. Important note: Thinking positively does not mean ignoring an unpleasant reality; it simply means you accept it for what it is and make the best of it. If you’re so busy focusing on how much a situation sucks, all you can see is how much it sucks. If you instead focus on how to move forward or learn from it, you’ll see more positive aspects and opportunities to improve the situation.
Practice changing your habits.
It’s hard to call something a mistake when you keep doing it over and over, but it also isn’t easy to change something you’re so used to doing. Remind yourself daily that every little step towards the change you’re wanting is a success! If you can drop your bad habits overnight, great—but if you’re anything like me, that’s a bit harder than it sounds. Be patient and trust yourself that someday this will just be another obstacle you overcame.
Most importantly, love yourself through it all.
Being upset with yourself can be constructive because it motivates you to do better, but beating yourself up is counterproductive. Love yourself enough to change. Love yourself enough to realize you deserve better than what you’re giving yourself. Having this self-love as the foundation of your thoughts and actions is much more motivating than criticizing yourself every step of the way. There’s no need to hate yourself for who you’ve been; life is made of phases, and each of them hold a purpose.
Whatever it is you’re struggling with, remember that you hold all the power to make it better and get through this. Life is meant for learning and growing, and every phase we go through teaches us a little bit more about ourselves. There will always be times where we catch ourselves being our own worst enemy, but what matters is that we always return to being our own best friend.
As always, please never hesitate to contact me for any reason at all. Life is easier when we lean on each other 🙂