10 Ways You’re Holding Yourself Back From Living Your Best Life

Life is too short to miss out on opportunities for success and joy, but many of us end up sabotaging ourselves without even realizing it. Ask yourself if you have a habit of doing these things. If so, you might be your own biggest obstacle on the way to your best life.

  1. You’re clinging to one-sided relationships. Whether romantic, platonic, or familial, one-sided relationships are toxic and draining. By refusing to sever ties with people who aren’t putting forth the same effort that you are into maintaining your relationship, you’re expending valuable emotional energy on others (including you) who actually deserve it. Ending a relationship with a partner, friend, or family member is hard at first, but if they’re taking more than they give, you’ll be a lot better off in the end.
  2. You’re letting “what could be” ruin what could be. Why assume that a negative outcome is the only possible outcome? Refusing to take risks just because they might pay off poorly means that you’re also refusing to take opportunities. Before deciding not to make that big move to another city or talk to that cute guy at the park, ask yourself what the best possible outcome would be and see if that risk suddenly becomes worthwhile.
  3. You worry too much about what others think of you. Social media has conditioned us to constantly feel like we’re performing for other people, but even without it, a lot of us are still too focused on our impression on other people. Developing a good reputation is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. You’ll be a lot happier if you place your own opinion of yourself over that of others’.
  4. You focus too much on the future… Don’t let your dreams and goals ruin your current happiness. You may have big plans that require you to save money and turn down more “fun” opportunities, but tomorrow is guaranteed for no one. Be smart about your future, of course — just remember to enjoy every moment as it passes too. Don’t make your present self miserable for the sake of future you’s happiness.
  5. … Or the present. On the same note, indulging too much can really screw yourself over in the future. Being smart about spending and lifestyle choices can pay off big time down the road, and taking care of yourself means planning for your health, success, and happiness both tomorrow and ten years from now. Striking a balance between making yourself happy now and making yourself happy in the future is tough, but it’s crucial to a better life.
  6. You don’t let yourself be vulnerable. Opening up to people is hard. However, you should have at least a couple people in your life you can speak to about the tougher things life throws at you. Being tough may seem like it will protect you, but it also sets you up for a lot of emotional problems down the road. Whether it’s a friend, partner, or a therapist, make sure that someone in your life is around for you when you need to let down your walls. No matter how hard it is at first, it’ll get easier with time.
  7. You’re not taking care of your body. Your body is precious because it houses your mind and soul. If you’re not treating it right, who else will? No one is perfect, but just by staying hydrated, eating the right foods most of the time, and being at least somewhat active, you can prevent a lot of health issues and feel your best for as long as possible. Taking care of your body is a huge part of self-love, and you deserve it.
  8. You’re settling for less than you deserve. Look at your job, your love life, your social circle — is this all what you want? Is this the best you can get? Don’t feel like you’re stuck with subpar situations or people. Aim for what you believe would make you happy. We can’t always get what we want, but there’s certainly no harm in aiming for what we believe we deserve.
  9. You view yourself in a negative light. Would you let someone talk about your friends the way you talk about yourself? Many of us are way too hard on ourselves for both our interior and exterior qualities. Make an effort to speak more positively about yourself, even if you normally rely on self-deprecating humor to make other people smile. You deserve love and kindness, especially from yourself.
  10. You’re in denial about what you want. Convincing yourself that a subpar situation is what you truly want can be dangerous when it comes to your pursuit of happiness. If you want to see the world, don’t let your significant other tell you that you’ll be content in a small town for the rest of your life. If you have higher ambitions, don’t stay stuck in a dead-end job because you think you should be happy there. Following your heart instead of your brain isn’t a good idea, but the two should meet in the middle if you hear your heart starting to speak up.
Diana is a writer and waitress living in Tennessee with her "fur family" (two cats and a ferret). When she's not working, you can find her hiking, cooking, or taking really long naps.