When you review the people you’ve let into your life, are they supportive of you or do some of them make you feel bad about yourself every time you talk with them? When things go wrong in life, do you feel like it’s always some else’s fault? When you meet someone, do you find yourself trying to become the kind of person you believe they want you to be, rather than being yourself? These are toxic life choices that will only serve to make your situation worse. And if you find yourself constantly battling the same old problems with the same old results, odds are good you’re making them.
Here are three ways to avoid toxic life choices:
Life is kind of like climbing a mountain. One distracted moment or false step could be deadly! While it’s easy to enter into things blindly, or because we think they feel good at the time, when we’re operating from a lack of self-awareness, things aren’t going to turn out for the best. You’ve got to know yourself and your environment and be aware of the possibilities so you have some idea of how to react no matter what happens. If you walk through life blindly, you’re going to get a lot of bumps and bruises. If you have open eyes, you may have to make some tough choices, but you’ll be able to see True North (and potentially avoid toxic life choices), even when you veer off course.
So many of us spend our time mulling over what we think others want us to do or say. We wonder exactly what we can do to get them to hire us or love us, for example. Then we do those things and get what we think we want (that ring, job, etc.), only to discover it’s not what we thought it would be or it’s not what we really wanted. This is called being inauthentic. If you want to be happy in life, your actions can’t be dictated by your assumptions about what others want or need. They must come from within—namely from your desire to be your best you, not somebody else’s perfect person. Ask yourself what you want, how you want your life to look, and be honest about that in your thoughts, deeds and decisions. If you aren’t so worried about what others want or think, you can avoid toxic life choices.
There’s so much emphasis put on appearances. Is it really important to appear strong, even if you’re not? The truth is, if you don’t ask for help, you won’t get it and asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and vulnerability. But there’s a fine line: If you constantly ask for help, you won’t grow. If you never ask for help, you risk not improving or growing. The solution is to be vulnerable, but be willing to do the work. If you do, you’ll find that the world (and the people in it) will rise up to help you and often in unexpected ways. Remember that others can help you avoid toxic life choices.