Isn’t life challenging enough as it is? You don’t have to make it any worse by doing things you should not do to yourself. Family and Relationships author Maria Robinson says “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Rather than continue making the wrong choices and focusing on the wrong things, you can give yourself a fresh start by avoiding those things that bring hurt and pain. Here are 10 things you should stop doing to yourself from today.
1. Stop criticizing yourself
Give yourself a break already! Everyone makes mistakes. There is nobody in this world who is perfect. Wallowing in the dark pit of regret and self-criticism does not solve anything; it only dampens your spirit and causes physical and emotional pain and hurt. Stop it now. You may wring your hands and loathe yourself for a little while, but don’t do it too long or you will create a problem that wasn’t even there to begin with. Let go once you have fully processed your mistake and replace the self-loathing and criticism with self-reassurance and determination. Tell yourself you will do better next time.
2. Stop believing the negative opinions of others
People say nasty things to each other every day and it has been so for eons. Whether someone says something negative about you out of love or hate, it’s going to hurt to some degree. That said, don’t take things too personally and let negative opinions bring you down. Just because someone says you are “crazy,” “lazy” or “worthless” doesn’t mean it is true. Les Brown says, “Other people’s opinions of you do not have to become your reality” and he is right. Take negative opinions with a grain of salt. You are stronger and more capable than people think and you prove this when you rise up and keep going. Correct what needs correcting and ignore what needs ignoring.
3. Stop focusing on what you don’t have
You can never have everything you want in life and focusing too much on what you don’t have can be a terrible waste of time, energy and resources. Instead of coveting what you don’t have, focus on being grateful for what you do have. Rather than think about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that others are missing. Believe it or not, no matter how bad you think you have it, someone somewhere is having it worse. So, wake up each day thankful for your life and draw strength from a deep reservoir of gratitude for the things you do have that mean something in your life.
4. Stop putting yourself last
It’s not fun being last all the time and you know it. Why put all your energy, time and resources into your job, friends, colleagues and even family until you have nothing left for yourself? Yes, sacrifice, duty, responsibility are all good and important, but if you keep putting yourself last and don’t take care of yourself, you’ll eventually have less and less to give until you have absolutely nothing left to offer. Continue putting yourself last and you will be drained, overwhelmed and susceptible to stress, depression and other health problems. Take care of yourself first. This is not selfishness; it is wisdom for living.
5. Stop spending time with the wrong people
Ever wondered why successful people leave their loser friends behind? It’s because, as Jim Rohn famously put it, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Life is too short to surround yourself with people who bring you down, suck the happiness out of you or have no ambitions whatsoever in life. Surround yourself with people who will uplift you—not those who undermine your worth. Mark Twain notes: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
6. Stop worrying too much
If your problems can be solved, there is no reason to worry? If your problems cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good. The only thing that worrying does really well is aggravate the situation and strip you of the joys of today. Take a deep breath and relax. Don’t let worry paralyze you. If you made it this far, there is no reason why you will not make it in the future. Life always has a way of working things out for the better in the end.
7. Stop trying to be someone you’re not
There is only one you in the entire world—dare I say the entire universe! Trying to be someone you are not or worse someone else you think is smarter or prettier than you is futile. You can only be you and others can only be who they were created to be. You may emulate some good qualities of people you admire, but only to complement (not replace) who you are as a person. Just enjoy being yourself and you will ultimately draw the right people who will love and appreciate you genuinely.
8. Stop having unrealistic expectations
We all want to be happy in life and have every right to purse happiness, but we set ourselves up for sore disappointment when we have unrealistic or unreasonable expectations. For example: don’t expect to be the CEO of your company overnight. It won’t happen. Consider your talents, skills, qualifications and experiences and weigh these against your aspirations and vision for the future. Align everything with the circumstances of your life and set realistic goals and expectations.
9. Stop trying to buy happiness
You can buy a sleek, new Lamborghini, build a mansion on the hill and fly to exotic lands at will and still not be happy. The things that bring true joy and happiness in life are often free. Laughter, love, talent, passion, compassion are totally free. Don’t try to buy happiness or worry too much about whether life is fair or not. Just get on with it and extract happiness from common things around you. Nathaniel Hawthorne says: “Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
10. Stop giving up too soon
Life will throw many trials and challenges you way. That is what makes living so exciting. If you give up too soon, you miss out on the thrills and chills of living a full life. Keep pressing on and be alert and open to encouragement from unexpected places. Good things come to those who persevere. Besides, as Jane Addams rightly observes, nothing could be worse than given up too soon and leaving one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
Can you think of any other thing people should stop doing today?