We all have bad habits. They can be learned behaviors, addictions, attitudes, things we’ve picked up from our parents or along our way of life. Much is salvageable. However not all is. When it comes to relationships and growing families, if you’re in it for the long haul, don't take your families for granted. Kick these bad habits out of your home.
1. Selfish acts of kindness, aka being a martyr. We all know this person, it might even be you, and hey, we’ve all been here. But this is the person who does something nice just for the attention or recognition of doing so. Here and there, not so bad, but done on a consistent basis with little to no alignment in authenticity for the act, leads to a lack of trust and safety in the relationship. Why? Because humans are pretty keen on picking up meta emotion - the bigger more powerful meanings behind things that aren’t necessarily spoken - and this type of behavior can’t go on for long without some deep-seated anger seething out of sides. Not only does this prevent people from coming close to you, believe it or not it makes you less trustworthy because your intentions aren’t always clear.
2. Mixed messages or hidden meanings. These are the quiet killers in a family and/or marriage because they’re a slow death and most often so incredibly subtle that you need a lot of evidence to build up before you can make your case. If you walk away feeling stung by someone but you’re uncertain as to why, or the emotion you most often feel is confusion, this could be the reason behind it. On the other end as the mixed message maker, there are potentially a couple of different reasons for your delivery. One, you’re afraid of just coming out and saying what you want to say. You don’t know how or haven’t learned how to say what you mean. Two, you think you’re secretly getting one over on someone. Maybe you’re throwing some shame around or low self-esteem. Or three, a combo of the above. Likely if you’re on the receiving end of this kind of communication you work really hard at giving that person the benefit of the doubt as much as you can but patience wears thin on us all at some point, which is why this kind of communication can be a slow death to a relationship. It can go on for so long, but only for so long. Again this one comes back to trust, in that people don’t really know what you’re intentions are but add to that, that they also feel unsafe emotionally around you and the unstable environment that you may be providing.
3. Ignoring or simply not paying attention. There’s a big difference between being a spectator of your relationships and being a participant of them. The difference lies in what you see and what you do. Love and beauty and joy and gratitude are all around you but you have to actually see them to feel them. This takes spending time with your loved ones, quick pauses and paying attention to small moments. It also takes stepping outside of yourself and looking at life from someone else’s perspective. If you’re not careful here, it can be very easy to become self-consumed, only picking up on annoying, exhausting, and simply put, not good. Unfortunately, this will not bring you joy, it will bring you perpetual negativity, crankiness and disconnection. It will also make those around you, not want to be around you. If you struggle with this one, start by trying to hear laughter first. Then look for it and pay attention to what you see. Look into the eyes of the people who love you, especially when they’re talking. Take it even one step further and show interest in them by asking questions and getting curious. Not sure where to start? Start anywhere with anything, and anyone at truly anytime.