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Unlearning Things That No Longer Serve You

As we continue to move through life, we change not just physically but mentally too. A big part of this growth is realizing that some of the feelings and principles we once held dear are actually holding us back…and that’s okay! Once you start to realize that certain behaviors and habits no longer serve you, unlearn them immediately, and focus on what does benefit you. The following are some thoughts that we may believe are helping us, but in the long-run, are they really?

Winning is everything

Newsflash: winning is NOT everything. Focusing so much on being successful every time we set out to do something is exactly why it hurts so much if we fail and, let’s face it, we all have failed to achieve something at some point in our lives. And this is not to say that success should not be the end goal because of course, you should put forward your best efforts in everything you do. But if you happen to be unsuccessful, do not be discouraged by what you did not accomplish. It is unrealistic to get everything right each time you try it, but as long as you want to get better, you will get better. So instead of beating yourself up whenever you fall short, treat those failures as lessons and think about what you can do next time to ensure success. As the late great Nelson Mandela once said, “I never lose. I either win or learn.”

It is rude to say “no”

At some point, we have all felt the need to be a people pleaser. After all, it feels good to help someone and even better when they express their appreciation for you and whatever you did for them. But then there comes a day when someone requests your time and effort during a moment where it would inconvenience ( or even worse, hurt) you to help them. And even though it is not your fault that you cannot be there for them, somehow you still find a way to make yourself feel bad about not being able to. There are even some people who would still go out of their way to help despite the inconvenience. While this is very admirable, it can be a dangerous habit to consistently put other people’s happiness and personal needs before your own. This is not to say that you cannot be a good Samaritan but sometimes a one-time thing can easily become a ten-time thing and then a twenty-time thing. Eventually you’ll just end up feeling drained which takes the pleasure out of being kind to others. There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing yourself so don’t ever feel bad for putting yourself first. In fact, a bit of selfishness can actually be healthy because it allows you to truly focus on what makes you happy instead of spreading yourself thin. So, before you say “yes”, stop and consider if you can actually afford to.

My past protects me

When we have a bad experience with anything, naturally it can make us a bit more apprehensive to try it again. While we should reference our past experiences to keep us from making the same mistakes or having the same awful encounters, sometimes we can rely on those past experiences too much to the point where we may end up hindering ourselves versus nurturing our own growth. A common example are the relationships we have with others. If just one of those relationships goes sideways, especially if it was a person we were once very close with, it can make us more hesitant to trust again, so we resist making further connections with others. It seems like we are protecting ourselves when, in reality, we may be keeping ourselves from making new connections and relationships that would actually be beneficial. So, unless you have had an experience with something that has no potential to be positive, use your past as a guide for how you can do that same thing differently so that it benefits you this time instead of simply never trying it again. You may be missing out on something spectacular!

Work Is The Most Important Thing in My Life

You are the most important thing in your life. Read that again, not what you do. The best kind of care is the one you give yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up in being an exemplary employee or student that we end up tabling our own needs because we think the work matters more. But think of it this way: if you are not taking care of yourself, how can you possibly be doing your best work? There is no way that you can be working to your full potential if you are running off of only two hours of sleep and an empty stomach. Often we think these sacrifices are a part of “the grind” when the truth is you should not have to sacrifice so much of your well-being to feel like you are productive. It is not a bad thing to take an off day and focus on yourself for a change instead of your work. Go to the spa, visit some family or friends, take a couple of hours to catch up on your favorite show, get a good workout in, whatever you need to do to recharge yourself! Then when it is time for you to get back to work, you’ll feel more rejuvenated and ready to be productive.

Our Personalities Are Permanent

One of the best things about life is that it is forever changing, therefore we also are forever changing. Lots of times we like to shrug our shoulders and say, “Well, I am who I am. I can’t change it” (especially for those of us who live and die by horoscopes). But the truth is we can develop as much as we want to. All you have to do is embrace your current nature first, acknowledge who you would like to be, and then work at it until you are satisfied. It’s just like learning a new talent. If you really want to learn how to play an instrument, you work at it, take lessons, have some wins, have some losses, and as time goes on it becomes easier and easier to play that instrument until you master it. The same thing goes for us as individuals! If there is a certain trait that you would like to unlearn, then you absolutely can! And on the flip side of that point, if there is a particular trait that you would like to develop, you can do that too. However, if we continue to settle, we may actually be holding ourselves back from reaching our highest potential. Nobody is doomed to be a certain way forever, so do not limit yourself. 

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