Does anyone out there just have a habit you can’t seem to kick? Biting your nails (guilty as charged here..), swearing (and 2 for 2), or maybe it’s a different type of habit. A habit that’s much more harmful and less cathartic.
For example, I also have a terrible habit of criticizing my every move. Talking meanly to myself in my head, and sometimes even out loud, because I know that will hurt me more to actually hear it. Sometimes I intentionally stress myself out to the point of functioning on autopilot because I just can’t bear to be alone with myself. All habits. All much more debilitating than chewing on my fingernails.
I see my every flaw. Every mistake I make, or even “mistakes” I only THINK I make haunt me. I can replay conversations from years ago and that ONE hurtful comment is the only one that I focus on. Could have been a lovely conversation, beautiful weather, then all of the sudden, have you gained any weight? Are you bloated? Are you tired, or are your eyes always that bruised? Are you mad? Because you’re not smiling and so you look really mad. What size are you wearing now anyways? A 16? 18?
Every single negative word is burned in my brain. On my bad days, one of my habits is to replay them all. Mostly in order from what hurts the least to what hurts the most. Because by the end, I need to have convinced myself that nothing has changed. Why do I do this? Habit. I am used to feeling bad, let down, and like the greatest disappointment in the lives of my parents, friends, lovers and extended family.
In high school I had a problem, a habit, of self harm. I didn’t know how to put my anxiety/fear/depression/anger into words and deal with it in a healthy way so I cut. It’s not something I am proud of, but it’s something that led me to be the woman I am today so I can’t leave it out completely. I feel like even though I haven’t cut in years, and I have learned to handle my pain and anger in a more healthy way in regards to my physical self, I can’t say that I have learned an actual positive way to deal with it. I still hurt myself. But rather than with a knife or razor blade, I use words and thoughts.
This is something I was hoping to outgrow, but so far it seems to be increasing rather than slowing down. I find myself doing it much more frequently than I used too. I don’t know if it’s because growing up and having a job that only takes 50 to 60 hours a week leaves more time for me to be alone with myself, or if I just stress more now that my entire livelihood depends on my job and the money I bring home, whereas in school it was just gas to and from, food, and school payments.
It’s funny, because I didn’t even realize this had become a habit until I was talking to my boyfriend and he kept asking why I always talked about myself so negatively. I had to be honest with him and explain, all I remember are the negative things people say. Whether it’s that I am mean, fat, ugly, dumb, etc..
Now that I am focusing on it I realize I do this A LOT. Every single day. I feel like I am holding myself back from having a full and happy life. I don’t let myself be happy very often because I am constantly afraid of things that I have heard in the past coming back to haunt me. I am currently working on addressing my thoughts when I notice and recognize that I am having them. I am trying to curb them before they sink in too deep and I can’t control them anymore.
Does anyone have any advice for how else to manage this besides even more extensive therapy? Is addressing it and trying to fix it on my own going to help at all? Maybe just recognizing it will make it seem like it isn’t as big of a deal? Or will it make it worse? So many things to think about all rolled into one. I haven’t been at my job long enough to feel like therapy is warranted so I don’t know how I would ask for the personal time to take an hour a week to deal with things. Maybe just talking it out will help me. Until then, try to recognize your own habits. Are they positive? Negative? Are you hurting yourself or helping yourself? If you’re not helping yourself, please stop what you’re doing and reconsider. You are a unique person. Individual and special with talents and gifts no one else has. Even on your “bad” days. You’re still the best you. I’ll try to follow my own advice there.
Until next time, thanks for reading.