5 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Own Happiness

sabotaging yourself, sign says "i can stop"

Self-Care isn’t selfish…Self-Care is survival.

Happy September! The other day I was scrolling through Instagram and came across the hashtag #SelfCareSeptember. I was immediately sold and decided that all of Girl Untitled’s posts for September will embody aspects of self care – primarily the parts we don’t normally see or hear talked about.

I’ve already talked about why self care is so important and ways to start practicing it, but it’s so much more than that. Self-care is a mindset that eventually becomes your way of naturally being. Life may not always be pretty, but self-care provides us with a solid foundation to support us wholeheartedly through it all.

However, as much as we’d love to go at this with full force and perfection, there are a lot of things that hold us back from fully caring for and loving ourselves on a regular basis

And 99% of those things exist within our minds.

One of our most powerful tools for Self-Care is having the mindfulness (and honesty) to recognize when we’re actually sabotaging ourselves.

It’s easy to be an advocate for self care yet continue practicing habits and thoughts that are actually the opposite of caring for yourself. You can give yourself all the bubble baths and positively grateful journal entries as you want, but if you don’t consider your less happy side, you’ll miss the whole point. Loving and caring for yourself means nourishing your entire well-being…key word entire. We can’t claim to love ourselves yet avoid the parts of ourselves we aren’t as happy with. We’ve gotta address those parts too.

You’re not always going to immediately notice when you’re hurting yourself. But by identifying ways that you tend to do it, you’re more likely to pick up on it sooner than you normally would have. Below are just five of the ways you could be unintentionally ruining your own happiness.

Stop feeling like you aren’t there yet & start embracing right now.

We all have goals, and we all have that “dream life” we hope to be living someday. However, it can be pretty easy to be so stuck in that “someday” mindset that we forget how to be happy with right now. “Right now” can be messy if we let it get to us. We have our messy thoughts and feelings, worries, and lists of things to do. It’s easy to not be so thrilled with it. But when you look back at some of your favorite memories, chances are you had plenty of thoughts & worries then too – you just weren’t focused on them then. You were in that present moment, enjoying it, which is why it stands out now.

For our own sanity, we have to learn to accept the less exciting parts of our lives and not torture ourselves trying to be happy. There’ll always be times that we’re upset or just not particularly thrilled with life – and that’s okay. It’s okay to just have a day. Once again, self care is nourishing our entire self, including the not so happy parts. Being patient and kind to yourself through them just makes those happy moments even better.

Stop comparing & start celebrating yourself.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Considering how good we can be at comparing ourselves to others or where we think we should be, I’d say this act alone makes us a regular robber of our own happiness. Social media has made comparison easier than ever before, too. Most people share their best moments online, giving us the illusion that everyone else is constantly having a spectacular time. It’s easy to feel like our lives are missing something when we all we do is scroll through other people’s moments.

You can’t compare your Chapter 3 to someone else’s Chapter 20, though. We’re all going through this life with different backgrounds, characters, and overall plot lines. If you spend most of your time focusing on other stories, you’ll neglect to direct where your own is going. Instead of comparing, appreciate. You can look and even feel a slight pang of envy, but use that as a signal of where you want your own life to be. This life is your story; it’s time to compare less and create more.

You can't compare your Chapter 3 to someone else's Chapter 20, though...If you spend most of your time focusing on other stories, you'll neglect to direct where your own is going. Click To Tweet

Stop judging and beating yourself up. period.

Most of us don’t need a newsfeed of beautiful people to compare ourselves to in order to make ourselves feel like crap. We’re pretty good at doing that on our own. But what good does that do? If you had a friend who constantly criticized you, would you want to be around them much? Or if you had a friend feeling down on themselves, would you rub it in even more? Probably not with either. Yet we tend to talk and think to ourselves in these hurtful, self-loathing ways. It’s not only sad, it’s extremely counterproductive.

If we want to feel good about ourselves, we have to start by speaking and thinking kindly to ourselves. We must be our own source of positive encouragement. It takes practice, and even when we get good at it, we’re going to find ourselves being rude here and there. But we can do it. Changes made purely out of self-care are much more likely to last than any change motivated by self-loathing. Let’s change our narrative.

Stop doing the same old things & start doing what you love.

We only have a finite amount of moments and energy throughout our day. We may think 30 minutes of aimlessly scrolling and an hour of brainless YouTube browsing is fun, but that’s an hour and a half of our day we could have used towards something more fulfilling. I’m guilty of this on a daily basis, honestly, and am trying to get better about it. It’s something to be mindful of.

A good exercise to see if you could make some more room for what you love is this: Make a list of everything you say you love doing. Then, go through it and mark how often you actually do those things. It’s actually almost painful to see how little we do the things we love most. The good thing, though, is that changing this entirely up to us! All we have to do is wake up to it and start making room for these things by stopping wasting our time on the less meaningful habits.

Stop multitasking & Start being presently focused.

We live in a time where multitasking has never been easier…and most of us pride ourselves on being able to slap that “skill” onto our resumes. However, when you multitask, you aren’t able to put all of yourself into all of it. Multitasking may be great with chaotic schedules and heavy workloads – but we have to remember when to turn that switch off. I’m talking social time, personal time, nature time, etc. Sometimes I’ve felt like a certain evening wasn’t so great, but then I’ve realized I didn’t give it my full attention. Half of me was in my phone reading Facebook updates, while the other half was only half-listening to my husband. Not the happiest realization, but it woke me up to how I was messing my own time up! By putting down our phone and focusing on the present moment, we allow ourselves to fully engage in what we are doing and who we are enjoying it with. Be here now.

How are you sabotaging yourself?

Did any of these hit home? Or maybe you have already identified some of your own self-sabotaging habits that weren’t on this list. Either way, awareness is the first step! But awareness alone cannot cure the feeling of disappointing yourself time and time again. Once we become aware of what we’re doing to bring ourselves down, we must take an active approach towards changing those habits to more positively productive ones. From a place of self care and kindness to yourself, remind yourself you’re doing this to make your life a more enjoyable and wholehearted one. With each slip and fall, encourage yourself to keep trying. Embrace the imperfect beauty of your life, always. You’ve got this.