1. You are more aware of what you don’t want than what you do.
You spend more of your time worrying, ruminating and focusing on what you hope doesn’t happen than you do imagining, strategizing and planning for what you do.
2. You spend more time trying to impress people who don’t like you than you spend with people who do.
You are more focused on growing into the kind of person who evokes the envy of your supposed enemies rather than the kind of person who is beloved by their family and friends and prioritizes them no matter what.
3. You’re putting your head in the sand.
You don’t know basic facts about your life, like how much debt you have, or what other people in your field are being paid for similar work. When you get into an argument, you run away until you forget, rather than talking about what’s wrong and coming up with a solution. In other words, you are in denial, and so any hope of healing is futile.
4. You care more about convincing other people you’re okay than actually being okay.
You’d rather post photos that make it look like you had a great time than being concerned about whether or not you actually had a good time. You put more effort toward trying to convince everyone you’re doing well rather than being honest and connecting with people who could help or support you.
5. Your main priority in life is to be liked, even if that comes at the expense of being happy.
You think more about whether or not your actions will earn you the approval of “people” (who are “people,” by the way?) rather than whether or not they will actually make you feel fulfilled and content with who you are.
6. You’re more afraid of your feelings than anything else.
If you get to the point in life at which the scariest, most detrimental thing you face is the fear of whether or not you will be able to handle your own emotions, you are the one standing in your own way – nothing else is.
7. You’re blindly chasing goals without asking yourself why you want those things.
If you are doing “everything you are supposed to be doing” and yet you feel empty and depressed at the end of the day, the issue is probably that you’re not really doing what you want to be doing, you’ve just adopted someone else’s script for happiness.
8. You’re treating your coping mechanisms as the problem.
Instead of trying to incite war on yourself to overcome your over-eating, spending, drinking, sexing – whatever it is you know you need to improve, as yourself what emotional need that thing is filling. Until you do, you will battle it forever.
9. You believe in doubt more than you believe in hope.
Negativity bias makes us believe that “bad” things are more real than good, and unless we keep that inclination in check, it can leave us believing that everything we fear to be true is more real than the good things that are actually true.
10. You are trying to care about everything.
Your willpower is a limited resource. You only have so much in a day. Rather than using it to try to become good at everything, decide what matters most to you, focus your attention on that, and let everything else slip away.
11. You are waiting for someone else to open a door, offer approval, or hand you the life you have been waiting for.
We grow up with the illusion that success is what’s handed to people who are most deserving, talented or privileged. When we arrive, however, we realize it is constructed by those who find an intersection of their interests, passions, skills and a market gap. Sprinkle on a little bit of persistence, and the only way to fail is to give up.
12. You don’t realize how far you’ve come.
You are not the person you were 5 years ago. You really evolve as your self-image does, so make sure that it’s an accurate one. Give yourself credit for everything you’ve overcome that you never thought you would, and everything you’ve built that you never thought you could. You’ve come so much farther than you think, and you’re so much closer than you realize.
13. You are waiting to find the hot, rich person your parents always wanted you to marry…
… Rather than becoming a hot, rich person and marrying the love of your life.