Steph Barnes
June 22, 2017 8:38 am
RT Features

As if life isn’t hard enough, there are always little setbacks and the occasional serious roadblock. And what we don’t always realize is how often, we’re the one causing them. While we definitely understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to approach life, there are things we can all do to prevent unnecessary setbacks, including those that could potentially ruin our lives. Okay, maybe “ruin” is a strong word, but what else do we call it when, despite our best intentions, we make choices that could possibly throw our whole world off track?

Luckily, the signs you could be ruining your life are usually very much present — you just have to know how to spot them.

So, what are the signs? How are you ruining your life? We’re glad you asked. In order to help retain your sanity and keep you from making irrevocable mistakes, we’ve put together 11 ways you might be ruining your life without realizing it. Once you know what to look for, we’re confidently you’ll take the steps to lead your very best lives.

1Saying “yes” when you really mean no”

Possibly one of the worst feelings in the word is obligation. There will be moments where you’ll be asked to do something or go somewhere, and you just won’t feel up for it. And hey, that’s okay. Obviously, there are some obligations you can’t get out of, but it would serve you well to learn the difference between things you must do and things you’re merely agreeing to do. So do yourself a favor, and stop saying “yes” when you really want to say “no.” Doing things solely out of obligation will leave you miserable.

2Constantly reducing your accomplishments

For some reason we’ve yet to fully understand, we’re constantly minimizing our accomplishments, a habit more commonly seen in women. A woman will go to work, do an incredible job, then share her accomplishment by saying “So, I just did/wrote/created/sold this thing…” What is this thing? What is it that you’ve done? Why are you taking away from how truly badass you are at what you do and the fact that you deserve the recognition for a job well done? Stop refusing to stand in your power!

3Picking a movie/TV series over the book version

We’ll admit, this is an obvious exaggeration. You won’t ruin your life by watching movies and TV shows. In fact, we love movies and TV shows. But don’t forget to pick up a book or two in between binge-watching sessions. Even if going all-TV won’t ruin your life, it’ll for sure f*ck up your eyes.

4Settling for mediocre love

Let’s face it: Sometimes in life, due to circumstances beyond our control, we might find ourselves having to settle just a little bit (and hopefully temporarily) in certain areas — but love should never be one of them. Now, we’re not saying you should have unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships (people are human!), but if your love has stopped bringing out the best in you, or if you’re no longer inspired, or if you are no longer challenged, or no longer feel unconditionally accepted for who you are, then you’re settling. And settling for love simply because it’s there or because you’re afraid of being alone will ruin eventually your life.

5Seeking validation outside of yourself

Have you ever taken a selfie you loved, posted it to your social media account, and then it didn’t get as many likes as you thought it would, and a part of you started liking the picture a little less? We’ve been there, and what we’ve learned is: There is more to life than the likes. If you’re constantly seeking the approval of others, instead of allowing yourself to bask in your own “muchness” and your own approval, your life is definitely not as full as it could be.

6Allowing the past to stifle your future

Stop it right now. The past will forever be the past, and there is nothing you can do to change that. Stop allowing past mistakes and past hurt hold you back from pursuing whatever it is you want for your future. Your past does not dictate who you are or what you deserve. If you decide to dwell in the shadows of your past, you will absolutely ruin your life.

7Not taking the occasional risk

And speaking of your future, in order to create the one you want, you’ll need to take an occasional risk. You are in the prime of your life, stop overthinking everything. Be brave. Take a chance on yourself and on your dreams. You are extremely strong and capable, and your dreams are extremely worth the gamble. Remember: You’ve gotta risk it to get the biscuit (the “biscuit” being the person you’re trying to become and the life you’re trying to create for yourself).

8Comparing yourself to someone else

It has been said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and we’re inclined to agree. Look, we all compare ourselves to others. It’s unavoidable. But it’s a habit that’s very worth breaking if you can manage it to any degree. By comparing yourself to others, you’re essentially robbing yourself of happiness. We’re all doing this life thing at our own pace. You are exactly where you are supposed to be on your journey, and if you’re not, you’ll get there. Social media has made falling into the trap of negative comparison easier than ever. Every day there is a new “goals” hashtag making some people feel less than they are. You are enough. Just keep pushing.

9Trying to live up to your family’s expectations

Expectations are tough, especially when they’re linked to the people we love the most — our families. If you’re not careful, you could spend the rest of your life trying to make other people happy by killing yourself to live up to their expectations. Maybe your parents sacrificed a lot for you; maybe you feel like you owe them. But you absolutely can’t focus on creating your parent’s dream. What is it that you want? Figure it out, and then do exactly that. Because at the end of the day, you’ll be the one stuck in an unhappy (possibly ruined) life.

10Refusing to let go of toxic people

Clinging to people who aren’t enriching your life in one way or another could possibly ruin your life. Surround yourself with good, positive people, and watch your life improve.

11Explaining yourself to people who don’t matter

There is no need to justify every choice you make to people who probably won’t matter a year from now. If you want to move across the world and sell seashells, that’s your choice, and you don’t have to justify that. If you want to quit your well-paying job as a lawyer to invent a new yogurt flavor, you don’t have to justify that either. Follow your passions fearlessly. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for wanting what you want.

The world is your oyster! Go forth, do the things that make you happy — and try not to ruin your life.

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