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You Wanted To Break Bad Habits — Here’s Our Advice

Relationships with others are what makes life meaningful. Often times, though, they can be challenging to navigate. To kick off the new year on a healthy foot, we collaborated with Talkspace to find out how to leave unhelpful patterns or bad habits behind. In case you missed the user submitted questions in the app, we’ve recapped the most loved responses from Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D., below.

On Dating

“I keep getting into toxic relationships that I know don’t work. How do I get out of this cycle?”

It’s important to first identify toxic traits of those in your life. How do you feel when you’re around someone in question? If you find yourself experiencing tension, anxiety, or stress — don’t ignore it. Those responses might provide you with valuable info about what to avoid in new relationships.

Something to keep in mind while swiping: We often stick with what’s familiar, even if what’s familiar is damaging. Look out for any obvious red flags when reading someone’s bio; for example, does the person have a laundry list of things they don’t like but a relatively small list of things that they do enjoy? You can tell quite a bit about a person’s sense of optimism and hope based on their profile.

“How do I approach a new match with an open mind when I have limited information to go off?”

When you find yourself making snap judgments about someone’s profile, remind yourself that people are generally doing the best that they can, and sometimes people try really hard to position themselves in the best possible light. That doesn’t make them a bad person. It simply means that they are human. When you see a bio or a picture of someone, be aware of any judgments you have. Then work to consciously ignore the judgment and focus on the possibilities within the person. I’m reminded of a quote: Seek first to understand. I think this can be a good mantra to use against the snap judgements.

On Friendship

“I get so caught up in comparing myself to other people — even strangers on social media. How can I stop?”

Remember that nothing good comes from comparison. The easiest way not to do something is to do the opposite of that thing. So, what’s the opposite of comparing yourself to others? It’s celebrating who you are. Maybe that’s achieved by writing daily affirmations, by practicing gratitude, or by journaling about your self-worth. Maybe it’s as simple as putting on Beyoncé and dancing around your apartment. Find ways to let go of the idea that you’re not enough. By the way, remember that this is a process. Are there going to be days where you still lapse into that habit of self-comparison? Probably. But feel empowered to press the stop button and refocus your attentionon all the worth that you bring.

On Business

“I often get intimidated by my colleagues’ accomplishments and let it psych me out about my own abilities. How can I stop comparing myself?”

It’s not uncommon for people to go through their lives constantly measuring themselves up to others — especially when it comes to their careers. However, this tendency can deprive you of the opportunity to seek mentorship and guidance from people you admire in your industry. Instead of comparing yourself to others and thinking, “I can’t measure up,” or, “I’ll never be enough,” focus on how you can create relationships with others in order to learn and grow from them.

“How do I approach a Bizz match when their background or industry doesn’t feel relevant to what I do? ”

Walt Whitman said to “be curious, not judgmental” — and I think that can be an excellent mantra when looking to meet new business connections. Just because someone doesn’t share your same background, experiences, or perspectives doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t add value to your life. It can be helpful to let go of some of those preconceived notions and focus on giving people space in your life. It’s possible that you might develop an unexpected connection with someone who’s different from you. A connection that might not otherwise have happened if you hadn’t let go of some of those judgments.

By being mindful of our own behaviors and tendencies, we can foster healthy, meaningful relationships that empower us to be our best selves. You are in control of your life story, and if something or someone is making you feel less than amazing — it’s time to break the cycle and leave the bad behind.

Need more inspiration? Check out Tracy McMillan’s Self Love Message