We all have both good and bad mental habits. Mental habits are those habits that run almost imperceptibly in our mental background. They are our tendencies to think and do things in a certain way. When we have good mental habits, they help us to get what we want in life. On the other hand, when we have bad mental habits, they hinder us from getting what we want out of life.

Mental habits are not set in stones. They can be changed. By letting go or changing our bad mental habits, we can change our lives for the better. Sometimes, simply letting go of one bad mental habit can completely transform our lives.

Here are five negative mental habits we should let go to improve ourselves.

1. Seeking Approval

The root reason why we seek approval from others is because we seek acceptance. And why do we seek acceptance from others? Because we have very little self esteem. We do not regard ourselves as good enough. We think our thoughts, values and ideas are inferior to others.

This tends to happen when we compare ourselves with others, and find ourselves lacking in certain things or areas which we regard as important.

It is important to realize that underneath all the external facade, we are all of the same essence. We are no lesser than anyone else. If you think that you are lesser, it is only because you have the habit of thinking so. You have convinced yourself, through your own negative self talks, that you are lesser than others. The reality is that you are not.

You need to recognize this truth so that you can work ourselves out of the negative mental habit of belittling your own worth.

2. Belittling or Criticizing Others

If you have the tendency to belittle or criticize others, you should realize that this is a symptom of your own inner insecurity. People with good self esteem do not often find it necessary to belittle or criticize others. Only those with poor self esteem do that as a way to boost their own ego, whether they consciously know it or not.

This is not the same as pointing out someone’s bad habits or behaviors in a critical but impersonal way where the focus is on the negative acts (bad habits or behaviors) and not on the person doing them.

3. Denials

If you have the habit of denying your own faults, then it is a reflection of your fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Each time you deny, you should make it a habit to find the answer to that question. Most of the time, you will be pleasantly surprise to find out that your fears are unfounded.

Often, we deny our faults thinking that others will not accept us when they know that we are imperfect. Just as often, we will find out that this belief is not true when we truly challenge it.

One big side effect of denial is that we refuse to take full responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions. When we do that, we often end up apportioning the blame to others.

4. Comparing Self with Others

Having a habit of frequently comparing ourselves with others is another symptom of a low self esteem and the need to seek acceptance.

We need to realize that we are not meant to live our lives like a carbon copy of others. We are each unique individuals who have different dreams and goals, and therefore there is no need to compare.

However, you can use other people’s success as a guide and motivation for your own goals in life.

5. Negative Self Talks

All of us have negative self talks. That is to say that all of us have doubts about our own self worth at times. This is normal as we are not perfect beings. The important thing is to realize that we have these negative self talks, and we should make the effort to cut down the frequency of these negative self talks. To do that, we need to bring these negative self talks to our conscious awareness. We need to learn to be mindful of their arising.

When we are able to cut down on our negative self talks, we will begin to feel more self worth and better self esteem.

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