7 Ways You Ruin Your Own Life Without Even Realizing You Are

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1. When you refuse to live in the moment.

You ruin your life dwelling in the past and fearing the future.

You ruin your life as you replay the past in your mind like it’s some movie you hate but keep pushing replay. You ruin your life hanging on so tightly to it instead of letting go and learning.

You ruin your life staring at your phone.

You ruin your life being attached to a device thinking you have to share the best parts of your life like a highlight reel, all in an attempt to make someone jealous or have others think you’re cool. You ruin your life caring about the opinions of people who don’t matter.

You ruin your life worrying about likes and views when the important people aren’t connected through your phone but rather the ones standing right in front of you that you’re ignoring while texting.

2. When you think it’s a competition.

You ruin your life thinking you have to be on some track or you’ll fall behind.

You ruin your life thinking you’re competing with someone to get there even though you don’t know where there is.

You ruin your life trying to make others happy when in reality you’re miserable trying to appease them.

Because it’s your life, not theirs and you do have control over it.

You ruin your life the moment you think it’s a competition because when you do that, you’re falling off your own path and allowing someone else to dictate what steps you do take. And that’s when you fail at anything when you stop focusing on you and look more towards others.

You ruin your life trying to keep up with the Jones.

Because even if you do amount to what others consider successful, if you weren’t happy along the journey, getting to the destination will simply lead you with a confusing void you don’t know how to fill.

It’ll lead you to constantly trying for more.

3. When you take other people’s opinions into consideration.

You ruin your life following some standard you think you have to and some path that wasn’t yours to choose.

You ruin your life following people’s advice when they aren’t the ones living, day in and day out with those choices.

Because from the outside everyone is an expert and thinks they know what’s best to do.

You ruin your life thinking someone knows better than you.

The truth is you know what is best for you and the life you lead. Follow that.

4. When you think you have to follow a plan.

Everyone has some generic standard of what you are supposed to do and if you follow that path it’s supposed to lead to happiness.

But the key to happiness isn’t some straight and narrow path but rather the moments you get lost along the way.

Go to college, get good grades, get an internship, get a job, get an apartment, save some money. Only after do you realize you haven’t actually lived your life at all but rather followed some map you thought you were supposed to.

Because when you go against what is classified as normal whether it be the career you choose or how you do the whole life thing, even if it’s right and not in the right order, people are going to judge you for it.

Get your degree then get pregnant but you haven’t gotten married yet and suddenly everyone is rolling their eyes at you.

Drop out of college and everyone thinks you failed. Even though the path you are choosing doesn’t need a college degree and four years of school will just end in debt you’re paying, not the person who is judging you for it.

Quit a job you hate and suddenly everyone is asking you what the next move is and since you don’t have a plan or an answer, suddenly everyone is questioning your judgment.

Be with someone for years but not get married and everyone is wondering why, even though marriage just isn’t something that appeals to you.

5. When you settle.

You ruin your life when you stay in a place you aren’t happy but you’re too scared to quit or leave.

And you know there is more out there. You look at flights and maps of places you’d love to see but how do you explain to people, “I just stopped doing what society expected me to simply to find my own happiness?”

There’s something people fear about the road less traveled but there’s also something people admire about the bravery to do that when they don’t have it in them.

You ruin your life thinking you need to be in a relationship to be happy when in reality you are completely content alone.

And everyone asks are you dating someone yet and you can feel their eyes staring at you when you say no.

You ruin your life feeling guilty for that answer when it’s very well a choice.

You ruin your life by choosing to be with someone just to have that label so people get off your back.

6. When you deny your true feelings.

You ruin your life getting caught up playing some dating game everyone thinks they have to play but you shouldn’t be afraid of caring and showing emotions.

You ruin your life when you repress how you feel because someone along the way has told you it’s not okay to feel that way or feel that deeply. You ruin your life believing them.

You ruin your life by fearing rejection and allowing that to dictate that very same choice that could make you happy if you ever found the courage to say something.

You ruin your life by not taking a chance on someone you know can make you happy. By messing with someone’s head when it’s you who is denying true feelings while they are honest.

You ruin your life by not following your heart.

When you know you shouldn’t be in this city or this company but you’d rather say you have a job and are on some track than admit you chose the wrong one.

7. When you lose track of what is important.

What you have to realize is happiness isn’t defined by what you attain over time or your success but rather the relationships you build to get there.

You ruin your life thinking there are more important things than your friends and family and love. You ruin your life putting your job first. Working those extra hours and missing life events. Working your life away to save but not spending it. Working all the time because there is comfort and security in a job even if it doesn’t make you happy.

There are more important things than work and you’ll lose those people if you don’t realize that.

At the end of the day, those emotional connections are what we need to function.

At the end of the day, it isn’t what you have but who we have that matters. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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