As the old, cliche saying goes, "the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.."
With any recovery, big or small, this first step is typically the most difficult. I mean, it makes sense. Sometimes, the most toxic habits or people are right in front of us. Yet, they can be the most difficult to see. And they can be the most difficult to see because we're so used to them.
How can we recognize the toxicity in our lives if we're constantly surrounded by it?
We can't. Not over night, anyway. But slowly and surely, toxic habits always reveal themselves.
Sometimes it takes your best friends screaming at you to stop.
Sometimes it takes a self-help book for you to open your eyes.
Sometimes it takes those feelings of utter despair. I mean, toxic habits don't exactly make you feel good.
While everyone's got a different kryptonite, some toxic habits are more common than you may think. You're never alone, and it's time to help each other out.
Here are 10 toxic habits a lot of people my age, myself included, need to be mindful of:
1. Searching for validation in the wrong places.
Not only can it be harmful to search for validation in the wrong places, such as social media, but it can also be harmful to seek validation from the wrong people. We seek validation because we want to improve our confidence. We want to be seen in the best light possible.
But you have to validate yourself before anything else. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in a cycle of seeking validation from temporary people: boys who make you cry, toxic "friends," acquaintances online who rarely say hi in person. Why should these people get to determine how worthy you feel?
2. Texting with the hopes of getting a specific response in return.
There's nothing more disappointing than getting your hopes up. And while we don't want to live life constantly expecting the worst outcome, we shouldn't be making up scenarios in our heads. It can be really toxic to think too far ahead or assume that people are going to reply with a certain answer.
Not only that, but it's toxic to text people, again, for validation. While it's OK every so often (a little affirmation, anyone?) you don't want to get in the habit of texting solely for a specific reaction.
3. Sabotaging your own relationships by thinking negatively.
Chances are, we've all gone through a relationship or two that have drastically affected the way we behave in our current relationships. While our experiences have conditioned us to think or act in certain ways, it's important to remind ourselves that every relationship is different. You should carry the things you have leaned about yourself to new relationships, not the negative thoughts that your ex planted in your head.
4. Prioritizing the wrong people or things.
If you've seen your boyfriend the last four nights in a row, and can't remember the last time you hung out with your friend group, then you may want to shift your priorities around! Of course it's tough to balance all the aspects of life, but it's important to at least try.
What you prioritize is completely up to you. For me, I know my health and well-being take precedence over things like school or work, in certain instances.
5. Comparing yourself to others.
It is nearly impossible to all together stop comparing yourself to others, but try making small steps to limit this toxic habit. Photoshop is so insanely common that comparing yourself to people you see on Instagram is irrelevant! It's easier said than done, but you have to remind yourself of that. People only put forward their best content, so you really don't know what is going on behind the scenes.
6. Falling in love with ideas rather than reality.
Again, this is easier said than done, but it's important to be practical about certain aspects of life. Are you in love with this person standing right in front of you, or just excited by the idea of being in a relationship? Are you in love with that job, or just the possibility of moving to the big city? Are you set on buying that house because you really love it, or are you in love with the idea of being successful?
7. Turning to your phone during times of boredom.
Our phones give us access to whatever we want, so it's easy to reach for it when we feel disinterested in just about everything. But breaking this habit can be so beneficial! I take the train to work, so I have a lot of free time. I used to aimlessly scroll through my phone, but one day I decided to bring a book, and it's the best thing I could have done. I forgot just how much I love to read until I finally started up again.
8. Preaching what you *don't* practice.
This is tricky - because we all do it. I mean, it's easy to give advice from an outside perspective.
However, you don't want to constantly be giving advice to people if you know for a fact you would not follow that advice yourself. A good way to shift this habit is to give advice based on your personal experiences. "This is what helped me..." "When I was in this position it was best to..." "I've never gone through this, but a friend of mine got through it by..."
9. Turning the conversation to be about you.
Talking about yourself is important in order to open up in relationships, seem more personable to others, and advise other people when they're in need of guidance. It's healthy to talk about your day or vent about a struggle, especially if someone asks!
But there's a difference between talking about yourself and constantly interrupting others or changing the topic of conversation to be about yourself.
10. Downplaying your worth.
Being humble is a wonderful trait to have, but there's a difference between being humble and completely downplaying your worth! If you know you're skilled at something, there's no need to follow it up with something negative. "I'm a great listener but..." "I'm definitely qualified for this but..." no more buts!