Some Bad Habits I Want To Break If I'm Serious About This Self-Love Thing



I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: self-love doesn’t exactly happen overnight.

If only it were that easy. Imagine waking up one day and just choosing to love yourself. That bit, you can do. The trickier part of self-love is actually acting like you mean it.

I just googled it and apparently in any given day we can have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts. That blew my mind! Fifty to seventy thousand times a day our brain subconsciously makes us think, but most of the time we don’t even realise it.

Habits are kind of the same thing. They start as something new, and then the more you keep doing them, the more automatic they become until one day you’re completely unaware that you’re even doing them. That doesn’t mean that they’re good for you.

My flatmate says “etcetera” at the end of almost every sentence. My mum bites her nails when she’s distracted. My best friend puts her phone down and then forgets where it is. These are, obviously, totally harmless habits. Yeah, it’s frustrating as hell when you’re searching the house high and low trying to listen out for a phone vibrating on silent mode. But it’s still totally harmless.

Recently however, I’ve started becoming more aware of the habits I have that aren’t quite so innocuous. I’ve realised that if I want to take this self-loving thing seriously, then there are a few behaviours that I should, and event want, to stop.

Afterall, as Rupaul says, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anybody else?

Constantly Criticising Myself

To say that I can be my own worst enemy would be an understatement.

If I’m not worrying about the little layer of fat that I don’t like sitting over my stomach then I’m appalled by the newly formed wrinkles around my eyes. And if it’s not the wrinkles, then I’m probably analysing how I shouldn’t have said that thing to that person last night. And if it’s not that, then it’s probably questioning if the way I behaved in this situation or that situation was appropriate or not.

You get the gist. Part of this is just my personality. That and because I have anxiety and OCD, which oh so kindly give me a pre-disposition to questioning basically everything in life.

But come on. I can see it from an outsider’s point of view. If any of my friends were to tell me they come down on themselves this hard, I’d be pissed. It’s seems totally obvious that if you trash-talk yourself this much it’s going to have a negative impact on your self-esteem. So why do I allow myself to do the same thing?

Because it’s habit, and it’s one that I want to stop.

Trying To Be Everything To Everyone

Have you ever gotten out of a situation and then looked back and thought, “How did I let it go on for that long”? That happens to me more than I’d like it to. What I’ve learned is that when you prioritise trying to be everything to everyone else, it can have an overwhelmingly significant affect on your self-esteem.

I am someone who likes to put others before me. I like that about myself. If someone is having a bad day, I want to try and do something to cheer them up. If someone’s relationship just ended, I like to try and comfort them. If it’s somebody’s birthday, I want them to feel loved and appreciated.

Like I said, I like that about myself.

The bad habit here though is when you start putting everyone else before you. No one can be everything. We don’t expect other people to be everything to us, so we shouldn’t expect it of ourselves.

What I’ve realised is that when you constantly put others’ needs before your own, you can not only burn yourself out (emotionally and physically), but you also become more of what everyone needs you to be, and less of what you really are: yourself.

Eating Bad Food (All The Time)

Look, I am never ever going to be someone who won’t eat chocolate. I can’t get enough of it. Chocolate, cakes, biscuits. The same with wine. And gin. Literally bring it all my way.

But as they say, everything in moderation.

You see, food isn’t exactly something I get a huge amount of pleasure from. I never really have. The thing I like most about going out for dinner is being around my friends. I’m not fussed about the latest restaurant or anything like that. Food is kind of just fuel for me.

What that means is that I tend to lean towards eating whatever won’t cost a lot, and whatever won’t take a lot of time to cook. Pasta makes an appearance on my plate multiple times a week.

But over the last few years I’ve really started to notice the impact of what I put into my body. Spots start to appear if I’ve been indulging in a bit too much chocolate; I feel nauseous if I eat pasta for three days in a row; and, being a vegetarian, if I’m not getting enough of something or another, I start to feel really tired.

I know this sounds cliché, and I’ve never really got it before when people have said “my body is my temple”, but I sort of understand it a little bit more now. Maybe it’s something about getting older, but I’ve realised that if I do want to hang around for a while, and do so with a happy mindset, then I need to appreciate the skin I live in, nurture it, and love it.

Comparing Myself To Others

This is the one that people like to point the finger and blame millennials for doing too much. And in my case, it’s kind of true.

I have a very unhealthy habit of constantly comparing myself to other people. When I see that so and so has happened to this person, or learn that somebody else had achieved this and that by a certain age, whatever, it always make me feel like an underachiever.

I’m not convinced this is just a ‘millennial’ thing. Sure, we have social media that doesn’t help with all of that. But there’s all these theories about gay people trying to compensate for overwhelming feelings of shame by becoming high achievers.

Regardless, comparing myself to other people literally always just makes me feel shit. And I want to stop it. I’m not saying that ambition and drive aren’t important, definitely not. But instead of focusing on what we haven’t done, isn’t it healthier to remember everything that we have?

Chances are there’s going to be some stuff you feel proud of. And what’s more, who won out of the turtle and the hare? (It was the turtle, for those who have no idea what I’m talking about).

There’s still plenty of time. Play the long game, there’s no rush. What helps me is remembering that I’m excited for my future because of the place I’m at today, and I’m where I am today because of everything that’s happened to me in the past. Sounds corny, I know. But it works.

Self-LoveNick Arnold