Breaking Free from Toxic Habits: 8 Lessons I Learned in My 20s

Looking back, I can vividly see how these habits colored my 20s; they were deeply ingrained in my daily life. Yet, I hold no resentment towards that decade, nor do I assign blame to anyone or anything. In fact, I’m incredibly grateful that I have moved beyond those toxic habits. Allow me to share with you the ten habits I happily bid farewell to, as I embarked on a new chapter of personal growth and self-discovery.

Embracing Authenticity Over Seeking Approval

  1. Striving to be the Epitome of Attractiveness, Fun, and Interest

As social beings, it’s only natural to yearn for acceptance and to impress others. However, there were times when my desire to be perceived as the best in every aspect became excessive. I now realize that this urge stemmed from my own insecurities. Rather than seeking validation externally, I have learned to embrace my authentic self and allow genuine connections to naturally unfold. I’ve also become mindful of stepping back when I notice that urge creeping up on me.

Letting Go of Self-Blame

  1. Relinquishing the Burden of Taking Blame for Everything

Oh, the torment of constantly blaming myself for every small misstep! If someone didn’t respond immediately, I would immediately assume I had done something wrong. A mere look of disapproval would send me into hours of introspection, wondering if I had upset them. The words “we need to talk” would trigger an instant panic attack.

Although I occasionally experience a flicker of that familiar self-blame, I swiftly dismiss it. I now understand that if someone has an issue with me, they should communicate it directly. I am always willing to listen and make amends. However, if they remain silent, I no longer carry the weight of their unspoken concerns.

Cultivating a Clear and Serene Environment

  1. Liberating Myself from the Cluttered Chaos

In the past, I would boast about thriving amidst clutter, associating it with creativity and self-expression. Yet, despite my claims, I often found myself frustrated and annoyed, unable to locate simple things like car keys. The introduction of minimalism into my life brought about a profound transformation. Now, I enjoy a clear and organized space where everything has its place. My creative identity remains intact, but without the burden of unnecessary disorder.

Prioritizing Self-Care

  1. Honoring and Nurturing My Body

While I would spare no expense on high-quality skincare products and cosmetics, I neglected essential visits to the dentist or doctor due to perceived budget constraints. However, I have come to realize that my body is my true home in this life, and caring for it is paramount. I now understand that the money saved on food today may be spent on medical bills later. This shift in perspective extends to various aspects of self-care that we often overlook throughout our lives.

Transforming Self-Talk into Self-Appreciation

  1. Abandoning Self-Criticism for Self-Compassion

They say we are our own worst critics, and indeed, I used to be just that. Constantly pointing out my flaws and fixating on what was wrong with me, rarely offering positive or encouraging words. Today, I approach self-talk with kindness, treating myself as a supportive friend who appreciates and patiently believes in my abilities. Words of encouragement such as “You can do this, love. I believe in you” have become my mantra.

Free from Toxic Habits

Responding with Calmness

6. Overreact and Embracing Inner Calm

In the past, I would often find myself caught up in angry outbursts, unnecessary drama, and even public displays of frustration like honking my horn in traffic or yelling in public. Strangely enough, even as I overreacted, I felt a sense of detachment from my own behavior, as if I were watching myself from a distance. While I could have chosen to let go of that anger, I stubbornly clung to it. However, that is no longer the case. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as the epitome of calmness, I have certainly learned to curb my tendency to overreact.

H2: Practicing Empathy and Reserving Judgment

  1. Rejecting Hasty Assumptions about People and Situations

There were times when I would make sweeping generalizations and pass judgment on others based on limited information or experiences. I would declare that anyone who engaged in certain behaviors must be unintelligent or foolish. However, through practices such as yoga, meditation, and contemplation, I have come to understand that I cannot fully comprehend all the complexities of my own life, let alone the lives of others. I now strive to reserve judgment, realizing that true understanding requires walking in someone else’s shoes for more than just a few steps.

Embracing Nuance and Complexity

  1. Adopting a Balanced Perspective instead of an All-or-Nothing Mindset

In the past, I would hastily label someone as incompatible or wrong for me at the first sign of behavior I didn’t like, completely disregarding their multifaceted nature. Now, I recognize that individuals are not defined solely by their worst or best habits or actions. Just like myself, they are complex beings with moments of strength and weakness. By embracing a more nuanced perspective, I have learned to appreciate the shades of gray that exist within every individual.

As I bid farewell to these toxic habits, I have embarked on a journey of personal growth and self-acceptance. While I’m far from perfect, I’m proud of the progress I have made. By embracing authenticity, letting go of self-blame, creating a serene environment, prioritizing self-care, cultivating self-appreciation, responding with calmness, practicing empathy, and embracing nuance, I have laid the foundation for a more fulfilling and balanced life. May these lessons continue to guide me as I navigate the path ahead.