What do you want out of life?
Many readers may say they’re not quite sure, or that they want peace first and foremost.
If that sounds like you, there are a number of behaviors and habits that need to be cut out in order to find a peaceful, fulfilling life.
I’ve engaged in many of these habits, and I think we all have. But becoming aware of it and taking steps to move in a healthier, proactive direction is the best solution.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the behaviors that stand between you and a much more peaceful, satisfying life.
1) Repressing how you feel
Emotions exist for a reason.
If you repress them and bottle them up then you create what spiritual teacher Tara Brach refers to as a “trance of unworthiness.”
You divide off a part of yourself and label it as “bad” or “break glass only in case of emergency.”
This isn’t what emotions are for, and even difficult emotions can be channeled into worthy causes and goals.
2) Playing the comparison game
I’m not going to claim we should never compare ourselves to others:
We all do it.
But do your best not to get stuck in comparing yourself to others. Some people are jealous of your life.
You may be an outsider in your own view, but to others you’re seen as an insider.
Don’t read too much into your judgments and comparisons with others.
3) Worrying about disaster scenarios
The worst sometimes does happen. But most of the time it doesn’t.
Spending your time worrying about disaster scenarios is a way to get very stressed, anxious and depressed.
When you find that you’re thinking of worst-case-scenarios, watch a movie, draw something or go work out.
Call up a friend and talk about something else completely. Get your mind off it.
4) Becoming a workaholic
Work is important and earning a living is definitely a key part of life.
But being a workaholic crosses the line into an addiction.
You end up being so focused on work that relationships, beauty and the world around you fades away.
One day you’re old and realize all you did was work your whole life!
5) Fixating on material gain
This relates to the previous point:
Inner peace is all about balance. You do want to have your material needs taken care of and earn a decent living.
But you also want to make sure you’re not fixated on material gain.
It matters, sure. But it’s far from everything.
No amount of money or stuff will make you happy. Find a way to reach a comfortable medium and think of money and possessions as means to connection and growth rather than as fixed objects.
6) Seeking perfection
Perfection doesn’t exist.
And even if it did, it would already be less than perfect by the time you get accustomed to it.
Seeking perfection in your life is an enemy of peaceful existence.
It leads to endless attachment and chasing an ideal that lives only in your head.
Force yourself into the now and look at what’s around you. Perfection isn’t our goal here on earth.
7) Taking setbacks personally
When you experience setbacks and disappointments in life, don’t take them personally.
It’s hard not to sometimes:
When a person breaks up with you and makes it personal…
When you lose a job that hits all your insecurities.
But the trick to not taking it personally is to realize that you don’t have to internalize the narrative or belief they’re trying to push on you.
So your ex said A and your boss said B? Doesn’t mean it’s true, nor does it mean you need to make it a part of your story.
8) Wanting to be liked by everyone
If you want to be liked by everybody, you’re in for a lot of disappointment in life.
People-pleasing is one of the worst habits out there and it greatly disrupts your chance at inner peace.
Your life will be full of stress and worry if you spend it worrying what others think of you and make pleasing them your priority.
Look after yourself first. Don’t be afraid to say no. Be you.
9) Relying on external validation
This ties into the last point as well:
Not everybody is going to like you and not everyone is supportive or encouraging.
You simply can’t rely on external validation for your motivation or sense of wellbeing.
Stop waiting for compliments or appreciation and life will become a lot more satisfying and peaceful.
10) Making yourself responsible for others’ problems
You’re not responsible for the wellbeing of other people.
If you made a mistake or hurt somebody, say sorry and try to make up for it.
But never make the mistake of taking on the burden of the problems of others and making them you’re own.
You can have empathy and compassion without the obligation to suffer on behalf of others. You have more than enough of your own suffering to deal with first.
11) Committing too easily
When you jump in and commit too easily, you create a lot of problems for yourself.
This applies across the board in business, in love and in your daily interactions.
Don’t agree to something too easily or just wing it because it’s easier than being patient or saying no.
Your life will become much more peaceful when you think carefully before committing.
On the other hand, you should also avoid:
12) Never committing at all
Committing to a person, a deal or a place to call home is hard but it’s worth it.
Don’t make the mistake of never committing at all.
Everything in life requires balance, but some amount of commitment is a must.
Just ensure that you’ve done your due diligence and weighed up the pros and cons before dedicating yourself to taking a big step in life.
13) Living in a sedentary way
Life is meant to be lived, and spending too much time sleeping in, sitting around and not exercising leads to misery.
When your body is used to remaining in place too much, you’ll find that you get less and less energy.
You end up feeling exhausted and get in the habit of barely moving.
Make sure to stay fit and keep moving!
This ties into the next point…
14) Having an unhealthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is more than just being active as mentioned in the previous point.
You also want to ensure you’re getting enough restful sleep, breathing fresh and clean air and having an engaging social life.
A healthy lifestyle is about connecting with others and feeling good in your body and your mind.
15) Living in past regrets or nostalgia
The past is important and we can gain many insights and lessons from it.
It’s natural to think of past regrets or sweet times that happened.
But don’t let it consume you.
It will rob your inner peace, and whether those memories are dark or bright, your presence in the present will begin to fade.
16) Being absorbed in future fears or fantasies
Our evolutionary design keys us in to predict and avoid threats and seek out rewards and payoffs.
But the future really is unknown.
Work for your objectives the best you can, but let go of idealizing or catastrophizing the future.
When you feel yourself doing it, head out for a run or take a long shower. Let it go.