Take a moment…
And picture the people you love more than anything.
Perhaps it’s your parents, best friend, partner or children.
You’d do anything for them right?
If they were in pain, you’d comfort them.
If they were ill, you’d care for them.
If they were in danger, you’d protect them.
But what if I told you that there are ways that you may be hurting them…without even realizing?
What! That’s right, I said it.
You see, there are many TOXIC but seemingly small habits that many of us have…
And they are often the very reasons that our relationships fall apart.
But sadly, we often either underestimate them, or we aren’t even aware of them.
So…if any of these 21 habits below feel a little too familiar…
Then take this time to really challenge yourself.
Just remember, our relationships are so precious. They are the oceans in which we find meaning and happiness in our life.
Are you ready to filter out any toxic habits you may have?
Here are 21 very common but potentially toxic habits that can really hinder our relationships;
1. We listen to people – but don’t really listen
Often when we listen to people, we don’t really try to understand them. More often we listen with the intent to reply. As people, we all want to be listened to, to feel understood and to feel worthy of someone’s undivided attention.
2. We believe that two wrongs make a right
We justify getting angry or doing the wrong thing just because the other person did it too. Or because they did it first. The truth is, two wrongs will never make a right. Instead, we should be showing love, humility and forgiveness every chance we get.
3. We expect too much from the people we’re closest too
Think about it…if your best friend said something unkind to you, you would feel INCREDIBLY hurt. But if a stranger, or someone else said the same thing, you’d probably let it go after 5 minutes.
We often forget that our loved ones are not perfect. They will have bad days where they are not the greatest friend. They have their own struggles and weaknesses. Instead of getting upset when they don’t meet our expectations, we should feel honoured to have them in our life – and accept them as imperfect beautiful human beings.
4. We get easily offended by people
If someone tries to give us constructive criticism – it’s easy to immediately get annoyed and think “how dare they say that about me”, instead of considering that they might have a good point. However, we all have parts of ourselves that we could challenge and grow.
We should always take the time to consider what people say, before taking offense. Otherwise, we might find that we constantly become easily annoyed, irritated and even angry. Which brings us to the next point…
5. We blame other people for our bad mood
We often feel like other people are the cause of our bad mood. But the truth is, we can choose our response. We can choose to respond in a grumpy, irritated manner, or we can choose to respond with patience and grace. We can challenge our emotions and take responsibility for the way we feel and act towards other people.
6. We wait to be loved before we love back
Love should be unconditional. If we are all always waiting for the other person to make the first move, then there won’t be any love going around! If you want to feel more love in your relationships – then take action and LOVE those people.
“Love the feeling – is a fruit of love the verb” – Stephen Covey
7. We commit to things that we don’t plan on seeing through
For example –“sure, I’d love to catch up sometime. I’ll call you soon to make a date – and you never do”.
Slowly but surely, if you do this enough times to someone, they will begin to withdraw from you. Not because they don’t want your friendship, but because they don’t feel valued and are afraid of getting hurt.
8. We take people in our life for granted
We often EXPECT or believe that it is our RIGHT to have the friends or family we have. We forget that it is actually an honour. Try to remind yourself every day how blessed you are to have the relationships you have.
9. We view our opinions as facts
It’s in our human nature to always want to be right. So instead of challenging our thoughts and opinions, we often accept our opinions as facts.
In the heat of an argument for example, we jump to conclusions and we act on them. We get angry when we really shouldn’t, we judge people inaccurately and we are often blind to our own faults.
10. We often judge people too quickly
It’s never been so easy to judge people than in today’s society. Judging has become the norm. We value people based on their looks and abilities. Try to challenge yourself to see the true value in people.
You never know – if you judge people too quickly – you might miss out on meeting one of the best friends you’ve ever had.
11. We say that we have forgiven someone, yet we are still bitter inside
Forgiveness is not easy. To truly forgive means to not hold a person’s mistakes against them. It means putting it completely in the past…and letting go. That takes courage. It takes courage to show love to someone that hurt you.
It might help to remember that to forgive someone does not mean that you agree with their actions.
12. We make excuses for our actions
When we make excuses for our actions, we are justifying them. We are saying that what we did was OKAY. It was okay to get angry because… It was okay hold that grudge because…
Instead of excusing our behaviour, we should accept it and take responsibility for it. It’s okay to make mistakes. We are beautifully imperfect human’s beings living in an imperfect world.
13. We rely on other people to make us feel good
We can become a burden when we rely too much on other people to meet our emotional needs. Everybody has enough struggles of their own. Of course, it important to have people in our lives to help us feel good, but we should also take responsibility for our own feelings.
How we think will dramatically impact upon how we feel. The decisions we make will impact on how we feel. Before expecting others to go out of their way to make us feel good, we need to take responsibility for our own choices and actions.
14. We put up walls to protect ourselves
Did you know that true betrayal is the ultimate abandonment of a relationship for your own benefit? In other words, you build up enough walls around yourself until there is no way for that person to come in. We need to let people in. Even if they have hurt us in the past. We need to forgive them. Otherwise, we are basically abandoning the relationship.
15. We choose our relationships based on how they can benefit us
What makes a relationship great is when you have an attitude of giving. When we look at the people around us, we should always ask ourselves “how can I give to that person?” and “how can I show them love’?” That is what makes a relationship truly deep, meaningful and fruitful.
16. We expect other people to feel loved in the same way we do
Did you know that we all have different love languages? Your love language and the love language of your partner for example, could be as different as Chinese and English!
There are five love languages including; acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, receiving gifts and physical touch. If you want the people around you to truly feel loved, you have got to learn how to speak their love language.
17. We use manipulation to get what we want
Have you ever brought up a situation in the past to get what you want? In other words, using guilt to get your way? Love keeps no record of wrongs. Getting in a habit of using manipulation will only start to decay your relationship.
18. We keep all our feelings bottled up inside…and then suddenly we just EXPLODE!
We have a responsibility to assert and express ourselves. If we bottle up all our feelings, chances are, we’ll slowly begin to feel bitter inside and anything that a certain person does or says will eventually annoy us.
Just remember that it’s not fair for your partner, friends and family if you don’t give them a chance to improve themselves. If you don’t express yourself and tell them what annoys you, how are they supposed to know? It’s not always as obvious as it seems.
19. We expect other people to have learned the same lessons we have
Sometimes something can be so obvious to us, and we just can’t understand how other people don’t understand. It can be frustrating. The truth is, we all go through different experiences and we learn different lessons in life.
Rather than letting this frustrate you, try to be graceful and patient. This is also the best way to influence other people and to get them to start seeing things your way.
20. We stop going the extra mile for people
When was the last time that you went out of your way to show love to someone? For example, buying someone a gift, sending them a nice message or taking them out on a nice date?
Weird huh? You’re probably thinking….”That’s strange, I can’t really remember when the last time was”. Why not be the friend that really makes the people around them feel special and loved…no matter how long you’ve known them. Never seize to go the extra mile and to truly show love to the people around you.
21. We don’t apologize enough
“In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes” – John Ruskin
If there is one thing that can destroy a relationship, it’s pride. Nobody’s perfect. We all most certainly make mistakes. And our actions will most certainly cause hurt to people at times. But apologizing is painful! It is beyond painful! And many of us cannot build up the strength to do it often enough.
But if you can learn to overcome this one big milestone, you’ll watch your relationships flourish. You’ll move past arguments within record time and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to take advantage of this magic word more often.
Take your relationships to a new level
Well, there you go…
21 habits that can really take its toll on our relationships.
The truth is, we have a LOT more control over our relationships than we realize.
Just by changing our actions and ways of thinking, we can bring our relationships to a whole new level!
Rather than feeling frustrated everyday by the people around us…
We can enjoy deeper, more fruitful, more loving, happier and more fulfilling relationships.
And we can know with confidence that we are doing our very best for the people we love.
So I challenge you, from today onwards, do some honest reflection. And figure out the areas that you could improve on!
You’ll truly be amazed by the outcome.