Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Self-care not only comes from what we start doing, but also from what we stop doing.
Sometimes, self-care comes not from what we start doing, but what we stop doing. Of course, unlearning can be hard work. It requires a conscious effort to move away from instinctive behaviors and be open to new perspectives on things we were taught to reject long-held beliefs and values. However, making these changes is an intentional act of self-love and self-care.
Read on for the importance of learning to unlearn and five habits to unlearn to practice better self-care.
Being accommodating, kind, and helpful are all great personality traits. However, the need to please others comes from fear of not being good enough or fear of rejection. People-pleasing will ultimately inhibit your wellbeing as you continue to place the needs of pleasing others above your own.
Unlearn this behavior by working on your self-confidence. It’s okay to want to help others, but it is important that we help and support ourselves first before positively influencing others.
Looking for Love & Acceptance Outside of Yourself
Often we enter a relationship, friendship, or jobs to provide emotional fulfillment. This results in a cycle where we exclusively look for happiness in people, objects, and external factors. Looking for love and acceptance outside of yourself leaves your happiness and wellbeing in the hands of others.
Unlearn this behavior by consciously detaching your emotions from external events and practicing unconditional self-love. This will allow you to make better long-term decisions for yourself and your wellbeing.
Busyness = Productivity
Are you keeping busy to avoid your feelings? Keeping yourself constantly busy - agreeing to commitment after commitment - can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship with your emotions.
The most productive people “own their day” and do not take on work to distract themselves from personal life or feelings. They work to maximize their schedules to allow for time to focus on personal care and loved ones.
Unlearn this behavior by not placing labels on your emotions. There is no such thing as a bad emotion; Anger, sadness, guilt - all makes us human and, are natural reactions to life experiences. Also, remember, you can’t outrun your emotions. Busyness is a distraction and will only offer temporary relief and prevents you from practicing healthy self-care.
Asking for Permission
From an early age, we are programmed to ask for permission from "authority figures" in our lives. Asking for permission to go to places, wear clothes, or perform a specific action influenced how we navigate our experiences as adults today. For example, we ask our partner or managers things like, "Do you think it's ok for me to do that?" or
"Are you sure I can talk about this?" Asking for permission can represent how we connect our self-worth to our ability to try new things or pitch ideas or our fear of failing.
Unlearn this behavior by learning to trust yourself and your choices. You do not need to ask for permission to express yourself or to try something new.
Yes, having high standards can help you accomplish our goals. However, if your standards and expectations are high and unobtainable and serve as the basis on which you judge yourself, being a perfectionist will ultimately be your downfall. This behavior leaves you open to an unhealthy self-criticism cycle and can evolve into depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Unlearn this behavior by accepting that you will make mistakes and focusing on your achievements rather than your imperfections. Be sure to practice self-compassion when you find yourself focusing on your performance.