Let Go of 6 Bad Emotional Habits

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All of us have at least one unsavory habit we’d like to break, whether it’s biting our nails or saying “like” too much when we talk. But aside from these physical routines, many of us also fall into more hidden patterns of behavior that are detrimental to others and ourselves.

Bad emotional habits can be thought patterns and actions inspired by feelings of self-consciousness or even stress that really affect our well-being and our relationships with the people who are closest to us. While breaking them isn’t always easy, at least acknowledging these habits can help us do the work to overcome them for good.

The following six emotional patterns are definitely ones worth letting go of.

1. Listening to Your Inner Critic
No matter how self-assured you are, you likely have a voice in your head that pops up every now and then with something negative to say about your looks, your weight, your life choices, your relationship—you get the picture. If you give in to this inner critic, you’ll likely manifest whatever it’s saying: Negative self-talk is demotivating and has the potential to turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Rather than let yourself fall into a pattern of giving this voice credence, combat the negativity by counteracting your critic with positive thoughts or simply using deep breathing to silence its harsh voice.

2. Over-Apologizing
Women especially fall into the habit of saying “I’m sorry” far too often, for no reason at all. Apologies are uttered in various mundane situations, like when scooting past someone in the grocery store to retrieve an item from a shelf or when telling a restaurant waiter about a dietary restriction. There’s nothing to be sorry about, yet the phrase is spoken, almost reflexively. While it’s important to apologize when an apology is due, constantly saying “sorry” puts you in a less-then position that will make those around see you as subordinate, and therefore not as worthy of respect.

3. Being Passive Aggressive
People have a tendency to be passive aggressive as a way to cover up how they really feel since it’s typically more socially acceptable to skirt an issue or hide anger instead of coming right out with it. Rather than being assertive and saying how you really feel, being passive aggressive can also be a form of protecting yourself. But choosing to hide your emotions—saying everything is “fine” when you feel anything but—puts the person on the receiving end of your behavior in a confusing position. Rather than masquerade behind your true feelings, commit to being authentic, even when it’s not easy to do so.

4. Worrying about the Hypothetical
Envisioning worst-case scenarios comes easy for some of us, causing intense stress when we get caught up in an endless circle of what-ifs. Dwelling on potential negative outcomes not only makes us anxious, it also prevents us from seeing the positive in any given situation and eats away precious brain space that could be spent enjoying life as it is now. Habitually worrying about the future will only make you unhappy and fearful of whatever is to come, rather than open to the possibilities that may unfold for you.

5. Always Needing to Be Right
When it comes to interpersonal relationships, this bad habit is one that can really take its toll. Whether you’re clashing with your significant other, a family member, friend or coworker, defending your position at all costs will cost you: The person on the receiving end of your need to be right won’t feel valued or heard and you’ll come off as close-minded and intolerant. Remember that, to quote the truism attributed to Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”

6. Putting Yourself Last
Some of us stretch ourselves so thin among work, family and social obligations that we never take time to check in with ourselves, or even engage in self-care. The idea that you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others is at the heart of letting go of this emotional bad habit: Unless you take care of yourself, you won’t be able to be the partner, friend, parent or colleague you truly want to be. As a result of always putting your needs and wants last, those around you may even tend to devalue you—after all, you set the example by devaluing yourself. Commit to putting yourself first, or at least higher on your list, so you can be the best version of yourself you can be.

7 thoughts on “Let Go of 6 Bad Emotional Habits

  1. Paula

    Number 6 is my demon! When you do and love everyone first and hope/expect the same will be returned, “Expect nothing and that is what you get. Nothing”

  2. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Well, I’ll never have to worry about being passive-aggressive, as I could care less about being politically correct.

    LOL…I call them as I see them.

    Great article !!!!

  3. Jon D

    Number 5 is one of the main reasons I ended my marriage. The need to constantly be right wears down everyone around….


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