“Withholding love is a form of self-sabotage, as what we withhold from others, we are withholding from ourselves.” – Marianne Williamson
There is no single more meaningful relationship in our lives than the one we have with ourselves. It’s the one that will last a lifetime, and yet we often find ourselves harming and sabotaging our best efforts. Here are seven ways, which we have of harming ourselves. These are seven common habits that can damage our self-esteem and hurt that essential relationship we build with who we are.
Focus too much on our flaws
We all have strengths and weaknesses. A mistake that most of us make is that we focus too much on the second part. It’s easy to see why. Usually, we are taught to be humble and avoid arrogance. We learn that should not praise ourselves for fear that others will dislike us being too good or too proud of ourselves. Many people also fear that if they focus too much on the good, they will become complacent and stop growing, but this is not what happens in reality.
When we are centered on our flaws, we hurt our self-esteem. We avoid opportunities, because we believe ourselves to be worse than we truly are. It’s hard to recognize accomplishments but it is easy to see the negatives in every aspect of our life.
Instead, a good idea is to leave some time each day to center on what you have accomplished. Praise yourself openly, even if it’s hard. You will find it easier to see yourself as you are, good and bad.
Giving a lot of weight to other people’s opinions
Other people like giving opinions. But this doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. Often, we try to appease those around us through the choices we make. But if we make decisions based on those around us, we might do things that are not as great for our lives.
Ultimately, we will have to live with our decisions, not other people. Ultimately, those around us will care much less for what we do than we will. While sometimes additional opinions can be useful, they should not be our main guidelines for deciding important things.
Ignoring what our body tells us
Your body is always telling you things. When you hurt, it’s for a reason. When you feel tired and sleepy, it’s for a reason. If you are thirsty, hungry, or cold, your body will let you know. We often ignore these signs for the sake of work or entertainment, but it’s also a way we might harm our health.
It’s no big deal to skip a meal or two, but doing it frequently hurts our digestion, energy levels, and even emotional well-being. To combat this, we need to be mindful of our body’s signals and try to provide enough nutrition, rest, and healing as needed.
Staying around toxic people
While other people’s opinions shouldn’t weigh on you, they often do. When people are toxic, these opinions skew heavily towards the negative, not to mention that they often try to manipulate us, make us do things we don’t want to do, or hurt us in some way.
If we stick around them, be they friends, partners, colleagues, or family members, we are not honoring ourselves. We let others hurt us and, in doing so, contribute to the harm ourselves. The right choice is not always to cut contact completely, but it can be to set limits or to reduce the interactions we are forced to have with those who do us damage.
Not taking action
We are always thinking, thinking, thinking. But if we stay in our heads, we might be hurting our emotional well-being and preventing our full potential from developing. You need to do things in the real world. Speak up! Share your ideas! Take steps to make that dream a reality.
Without actionable steps, we ruminate, turning the same ideas over in our minds. That can be exhausting and make us feel powerless. Instead, small steps that bring us closer to our goals can make a large difference on the long run.
Not saying out loud what we need and still expecting others to understand
We all want something, and often, we need to ask other people for that hug, validation, compliment, or anything else. If we speak up, we have a chance to get it. If we don’t, others might never realize what we want and we end up suffering in silence.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. You might get a no, but that’s usually much better than worrying and wondering what will happen. It’s better than feeling frustrated all the time because others can’t seem to read our minds.