As you age, you start to get more aware of the way the world works. You start to realize how negativity affects you.
The more you learn and work on improving your life, you learn you need to let go of certain negative things in life. Only when you release these negative things from life, you get to grow into the ideal version of yourself who live a more fulfilled and peaceful life.
Isn’t that what we all want?
So let’s see what toxic things we need to release from our lives forever to live happily.
NEGATIVE THINGS TO RELEASE FROM YOUR LIFE
Jealousy creates a void in your heart: a void you can never fill. Do you know why?
When you are jealous of others’ life, you start to compare yourself and your life to other people’s and you can never feel satisfied.
You are always thinking about lack and hating yourself for not having what others have.
That makes you unhappy and full of hatred.
As humans feelings of jealousy are normal. But when it creeps up, practice gratitude. Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have. Learn to trust that you are always exactly where you are meant to be, no matter where you are. And if what others have is something important to you, you can always work for it.
There is nothing you cannot achieve in the world if you put your heart and mind into it. So why be jealous, right?
2. PEOPLE PLEASING
People-pleasing is a toxic trait that is harmful to you.
When you are a people-pleaser it can be hard to say NO to others and you chew in more than you can swallow. You also continue living in a toxic environment since you are afraid to create conflicts and say what you want.
To stop people-pleasing, you need to find out who you authentically are.
What makes you blissfully happy?
What is the life you have always envisioned?
What are the things you stop yourself from doing, thinking about what people would say?
What would you do if you were 100 sure that you will succeed in your goals?
When you answer these questions, you get to what degree you have been hiding your authentic self, and your dreams to please other people.
There is no easy way to break free from people-pleasing. You have been doing it for years, so it is uncomfortable when you start building boundaries.
You have to get comfortable with the new version of you, even though it’s hard. Eventually, you will feel stronger and happier because you are no longer tied to other people’s expectations.
You want to do so many things in life, but what holds you back?
It’s a negative thing you need to release from life.
Do you tell yourself you are too old, or too young, don’t have the knowledge/skills/money/courage/support, etc?
If you look around and look for inspiration, you can find stories of people from all over the world who have achieved seemingly impossible feats from the place they were standing.
And the truth is, they are common people like you and me who didn’t let themselves stop when their dreams looked impossible.
And what is possible for others is possible for you too.
Now, let’s do a small exercise to put an end to making excuses. Take a piece of paper and write down one single thing you want to happen in your life right now.
On one side, write ‘excuses” and list all the reasons your mind tells you why you can’t achieve it. On the right-hand column, write down how you can work around each of the excuses.
You can also go online and read stories of people who achieved the same thing you want. You can also find communities and Facebook groups of like-minded people to ask questions and get inspired.
Being with people who are on the same journey as you or taking advice from people who have already done this will help you to build belief in yourself to overcome the excuses.
4. LIMITING BELIEFS
Excuses are reasons your ego gives you to stop yourself from getting out of your comfort zone and from failing. But limiting beliefs are deeply engrained in your mind and you really trust those beliefs even if they are not true at all.
Examples of some limiting beliefs are:
- I am not good enough
- I can never be rich
- I am ugly
- No one likes me
- It’s possible for others, but not for me
The list can go on and on. Limiting beliefs prevent you from taking action at all.
Do you know how these beliefs came into your mind?
Once upon a time, these beliefs were just thoughts and you started repeating these thoughts to yourself so often that they became real beliefs.
These beliefs came into being because you interpreted them to be so or people fed those beliefs into your mind through their own belief system.
If you had a parent or teacher who criticized you for everything and never appreciated anything good you did, you might develop the limiting belief that “I am not good enough”.
But is it really true?
We all have good and not-so-good qualities. So you are perfectly normal.
The good news is such limiting beliefs can be changed the way you formed it. You can use affirmations to rewire your brain to believe new empowering beliefs.
A new empowering belief could be “I am good enough and worthy of all the things I desire in life”.
Every morning, make it a practice to read the positive affirmations and catch yourself and correct them instantly, whenever your brain comes up with old beliefs.
Regrets are not all bad. Regrets teach us about our mistakes- what should or shouldn’t have done.
Regrets teach us important lessons. But we should be able to take the lesson and move on with a renewed spirit. Staying stuck in the past thinking about what could you have done differently or beating yourself up about those mistakes will never do you good.
You can never change your past. So accept that and move on.
The only thing you can do about your past is to forgive yourself. Forgive the version of you who did not know better. Forgive yourself and take the resolution that you will change your life based on the lessons you learned.
In life, everything happens for a reason. And those things happened because you had to learn those lessons. But it’s when you are stuck in that loop that it becomes a problem and makes you stuck.
6. UNSATISFYING CAREER AND RELATIONSHIPS
Another toxic thing to remove from your life is an unsatisfying career or relationships that are a constant source of stress.
We cling to them because of the fear of the unknown. We are afraid that without the current soul-sucking job you wouldn’t be able to earn a living for yourself.
Your job is a huge part of your life and it is the place you spend most of your time in a day. That means you spend the majority of your life doing this job. Make sure it is a fulfilling one.
While some people take a giant leap of faith and quit, some others build part-time jobs on the side and leave the unsatisfying jobs.
Whatever choice you make, make sure you are not stuck somewhere that makes you unhappy.
It’s the same with relationships. Even though we know we are not treated the way we deserve to be, we stick around hoping for things to change.
You know what? It may never happen!
The following are some signs of a toxic relationship.
- You give and give and what you get back is not what you deserve
- They lie to you and manipulate you into doing the things they want
- They gossip about you when you are not around
- You are not able to trust them
- You do not feel your best when you are around them
This list is not exhaustive. You can read this article for more signs. But I hope you get the idea.
You might have heard the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
I am guilty of making comparisons too. I had the habit of constantly comparing myself to others – my physical body, as well as everything else in my life to people who I thought, were superior to me.
It has only made me feel bad about myself. Then I forget to look and appreciate what I have. I have made a lot of growth and achieved a lot of my goals in the past few years. But when I get stuck in the comparison game, it’s easy to forget all that.
Now I like to think I am exactly how Universe wanted me to be and my life is exactly where I am meant to be. Nothing less, nothing more.
What I try to do these days is to accept. Accept me as I am with all my flaws. I don’t want to be someone else. I am unique the way I am.
We all are. There is no other you in the Universe. And that’s why we are here. We are not here by mistake.
Accepting yourself as who you are after years of shaming may not be easy. But the sooner you start the journey, the sooner you feel better about yourself. Love yourself with all your flaws: physical and character-wise. You will feel content and liberated.
I love to remind myself of the following short prayer from time to time:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
When you accept what you cannot change, you can stop comparing yourself and be happier.
And also, remember everyone’s journey is different. Some people are better at covering their problems so that nobody knows what they are going through.
Clutter affects us negatively. Recently I realized the fact that the lesser stuff I own, the better.
A simple life is easier to manage and there is less stress. A simple life means you spend less energy to clean. And that also means more time and energy for things that really matter.
And less clutter means you are more focused too. So, time to take your priority list out and declutter and donate everything that you don’t use and add value to your life.
Also, think twice or thrice or even ten times, before making a purchase. So often, we buy things only to get that small dopamine rush, and as soon as the excitement dies off, they lie in a corner.
This is huge for me. And I know there would be many control freaks out there like me, who want to relax.
The need to be in control is not entirely a bad thing. It would help if you had some control over your life, or else you will be taken advantage of. But some people, including me, have problems when they have to delegate tasks or when things don’t go exactly as per their plan.
Recently, I went through a big change in my life after which I realized how little control I have over life in the grand scheme of things. Things happen all the time, good and bad, unexpectedly. And some of the things we label as bad can turn out to be blessings in disguise later.
So, why be uptight right?
When I think everything that happens to me is either a blessing or a lesson, I can see why I should release some of the control. I am learning to surrender and swim with the flow of life, instead of preventing unpleasant things from happening to me.
I cannot do it anyway. So why try?
So when some of the days don’t go as per my routine and when I don’t get to tick off all the items on my list, I try to let go.
If I know I have done my best, that’s enough.
10. FEAR OF FAILURE
Fear of failure is another toxic thing you should remove from your life because fear of failure keeps you from trying new things and going after your ideas/dreams.
Sometimes more than the fear of failure, it’s the fear of other people seeing us fail that keeps most of us from trying. We don’t want to be embarrassed and we don’t want to be shamed and that keeps us from trying. But how worthy is it?
When you try to procrastinate on your goals out of fear, you are still failing, right?
You might be saving yourself from embarrassment, but you still will be living a life full of regret. The regret of what could have been and the regret of “what could have I achieved if I had tried”. And that’s not worth it.
For me, a big eye-opener has been the knowledge that in life, there is no failure. Everything is a lesson. You either succeed in achieving your goals or learn a lesson. You are still winning and you can apply the lessons you learn in your future.
These lessons make you a stronger person and make you bold to keep exploring and trying new things.
As I said above, complaining makes you focus on the negatives.
You start forgetting about the positive things and it’s easy to fall into the loop of complaining. When you start complaining, it also brings negativity to people around you. When you complain you are giving out the negative energy and no one wants to be around a complainer.
So next time when you want to complain about being stuck in a traffic jam, focus on the fact that you have a car to drive a car that takes you from point A to point B easily.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, think about the positives, and be grateful for it. It can also help to improve your relationships. Then you might discover your life is better than you thought after all.
12. UNHEALTHY HABITS
We all have different bad habits. For some it is being addicted to smoking or alcohol, for others it could be a fast food addiction or binge-watching Netflix or Youtube videos until the early hours of the morning.
Whatever it is you know they are unhealthy for you because obviously if you have been doing it for a considerable amount of time you would be experiencing the negative effects.
For example, if you want to be a successful writer and if you are watching YouTube videos until past midnight then it will affect your productivity the next day.
You will be deprived of sleep and you will be tired so you won’t be in the best state to write 2000 words daily.
So in order to protect your energy and increase the chances of your success as a writer, you will have to eliminate such bad habits.
13. PHONE ADDICTION
Phone addiction is another negative thing to let go of, as it has affected our well-being considerably.
It is affecting our relationships, daily productivity, and happiness in general. We get the urge to check our phones constantly to see what’s new.
And we are forgetting our kids are growing up every day and we are missing out on the opportunity to enjoy each day with them when time is surely flying by!
All for what? Useless social media updates?
It’s high time to put an end to this addiction and start living life fully. The time to smell the flowers is now!
Perfectionism has its advantages and disadvantages. Perfectionism can help you to work harder and put sincere effort into your work. But then you won’t be confident about your work until you think it’s perfect according to your standards.
Striving for excellence in your work is a good thing. But when you are a perfectionist, you feel the need to be the best or have the tendency to constantly compare your work with others to make sure you are still doing the best.
This constant comparison and never-ending satisfaction can lead to procrastination and other mental health issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc.
I am a recovering perfectionist and I remember how I would procrastinate on tasks because I was uncomfortable to start without having a clear idea on how to do the work perfectly.
If I wanted to write an article or draw a picture, it has to be perfect. This tendency affected my productivity because I would correct my work endlessly until I reached my desired standard.
I wouldn’t leave room for mistakes as I couldn’t stand other people’s negative feedback and I hated being vulnerable.
It was exhausting. And I have slowly ditched this trait and my motto now is “Done is better than perfect”. I should say I am less afraid of mistakes now and therefore feel freer.
Grudges. Do holding grudges ever make you feel good? You think you are doing the other party some damage by holding grudges.
If you forgive, it can mean you lost and they win, right? They might not learn their lesson and repeat the same mistake to you again.
Sometimes people can hurt you deeply and forgiving them is not easy. But carrying it forever in your heart is harder.
Years ago, I heard this quote and it is a mantra for me now.
Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but you deserve peace.
Holding grudges only makes you suffer more. Whenever you are reminded of it, you will be hurt again and feel all negative. You will lose your sleep because you still can’t digest what they did.
You relive the same scene again and again in your mind and you keep hurting yourself whereas it happened only once. Therefore, holding grudges is not worth it.
16. VICTIM MENTALITY
One of my favorite personal development books is “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield.
In the book he says, if you want to be successful, take 100% responsibility for your life. Many of us play victims and give away our power to other people.
I couldn’t pursue my dream of becoming an artist as my dad wanted me to study medicine.
I can’t start a business now as my circumstances are not favorable.
We all are familiar with such scenarios. It’s easy to blame others and circumstances for our failures and missed opportunities.
Always take responsibility for what happens in your life. Other people might be influencing your decisions. But in the end, you are the one who makes the choices.
Even all your past choices were made by you. You are never trapped anywhere. You always have choices. But you have to take responsibility for your life and be in charge.
In order to be in the driving seat of your life, stop complaining and blaming others. There are always misfortunes happening in life. If you are to blame your situations and people, you will always be miserable and unhappy.
Even when misfortunes happen, you always have the choice to view them positively and try to learn the lesson it is offering you.
17. STAYING IN THE COMFORT ZONE
The sooner you step away from your comfort zone, the sooner you’ll realize that it really wasn’t all that comfortable – Eddie Harris Jr.
When everything we want seems to challenge us and make us uncomfortable, sometimes we decide to stay within our comfort zone because we don’t want to feel discomfort.
No one likes it. It makes us nervous, scared, face judgments, etc.
But the truth is, as human beings, we are here to grow. And growth involves pain. Even though it is uncomfortable, it is temporary.
Sometimes staying where you are and living with regret is more painful than getting out of your comfort zone and facing the challenges there.
Staying in your comfort zone is a toxic thing to do as it stunts your growth and makes you miss out on the beautiful experiences you could have had out there.
In the end, a life well-lived involves a lot of challenges, pain, and growth. Staying in the same place for 75 years and calling it life sound boring to me. What do you think?
18. NOT SPEAKING UP
Another harmful thing to release from your life is not speaking up for yourself.
Not speaking your truth maybe is something you learn from childhood because when you spoke your truth, you would have got reprimanded.
Sometimes we believe the wrong concept that speaking our truth is rude. But burying it all inside is toxic for your mental well-being and you would have to live feeling suffocated.
You can learn to speak your truth confidently without being rude. Our words may not be welcomed pleasantly by others but the more important thing is to live a life that is in alignment with your truth.
Free yourself from the cage of other people’s expectations and be bold to live your life. You will not regret it. Even if it turned out to be a mistake, remember, the pain of embarrassment weighs way less than the pain of regrets.
19. TAKING THINGS PERSONALLY
Taking things personally is a negative thing that makes you anxious and stressed in life and therefore letting it go is important for your health.
If you are a person who takes everything personally you always feel offended. You think everything is about you or you are the cause for other people’s behavioral change in a conversation.
And you are also constantly worried about how other people perceive you. You are always thinking about not hurting others because of your actions. It is a case of people-pleasing. You want to seek the approval of others and feel validated only when they respond positively.
One thing you can do to stop taking things personally is to stop making everything about you. What other people do is because of them, and not you.
Sometimes people are worried about other things and if they take it on you, it means they are stressed and it is not something you did. You can try to view things from a different perspective.
And one truth we need to understand is not everyone likes us or accepts us as who we are. We have to do it for ourselves.
And what others think of us is something we can never control. We can do all the right things and still face criticism for one thing we didn’t do.
We need to learn to accept ourselves with all our flaws to seek less validation from others. Then what others say won’t have much of an effect on us.
Judging other people is a toxic thing we need to stop doing as a society. We never know why others do what they do.
We never know what they are facing in life and how good or bad life is for them.
Everyone goes through their own journey and most people put a facade of a smile on their faces because they are not comfortable exposing their life story to everyone. That doesn’t mean everything is alright in their end.
And when we judge most of the time it is about us. We are in fact reflecting a quality we don’t like in ourselves upon them. It is the same when we are judged by others too. People feel the need to judge because they lack self-love and acceptance.
They feel better about themselves when they can put others down. Therefore when you get judged, it’s mostly about them and not you.
Similarly, when you judge others remember it’s about you and not about them.
So, we have reached the end of the list. Let me know what other toxic things you think we need to remove from life in the comments below.
- 7 common things you do that waste your life
- 8 ways to remove negative energy from your life
- How to finally get unstuck and get going with life
- 11 toxic morning habits to quit to stop wasting your day
- How to stay productive during a life crisis
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