It is conventional wisdom that we’re our own worst enemies and despite the cliche, the idea rings true. We often drive ourselves insane striving for perfection in our experiences, relationships and selves, and honestly it just becomes exhausting.
1. Apologizing all the time. Research has shown that women actually do say ‘sorry’ more often than men. We’re all for taking responsibility when you make a mistake — but constantly apologizing for having your waiter split the check or asking a date to hang out on a different night or telling a friend about your problems, does more harm than good. There’s no need to qualify everything you do. Own your preferences and decisions.
2. Saying “yes” to everyone else. Yes, I will meet you for coffee even though I’m exhausted and just want to go home and crawl into bed. Yes, I will edit your resume even though I’m swamped with my own work. Yes, I will go on a double date with you, your almost-boyfriend and his awful friend who’s in town. Stop saying “yes” when you don’t truly mean it. People actually respect you more when you set boundaries.
3. Saying “no” to yourself. A lot of women spend a whole lot of time deciding what we can’t do or shouldn’t do or aren’t good enough to do. Don’t allow your insecurities and anxieties to make your decisions for you — you’ll only end up missing out on worthwhile experiences. So go talk to that group of people you think you won’t fit in with, stay out late against your better judgment every once in awhile and treat yourself to that blowout even if you don’t really need it.
4. Viewing food as the enemy. Women often receive the message that our ultimate worth lies in our looks. Our hair should be smoothed or perfectly curled, our makeup on at all times — but natural-looking — and our bodies bangin’ (read: thin). In the quest to achieve these impossible standards, it’s easy to see food as something to contend with rather than to enjoy. Be cognizant of what you put in your body — after all, it’s the only one you have — but try to do away with the guilt. Savor every bite of that gnocchi with gorgonzola or that Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream or those fresh cherry tomatoes. Food should not come with regrets.
5. Obsessively untagging every “unflattering” photo of you that ever existed online. While it makes sense that you don’t want that photo of you blinking showing up all over your Facebook profile, we probably cause ourselves more anxiety than necessary making sure every image that doesn’t show us in perfect lighting doing something totally amazing goes away. It’s not only just one more way for us to obsess about our looks — after all, people will post what they’ll post and we have little control — but online photo albums have largely replaced physical ones. You may not want to remember the unflattering face you made at your brother’s graduation party now, but down the line you might want to conjure the moment.
6. Judging other women’s lives. No woman deserves to be put down for who she sleeps with, how many people she sleeps with or how she chooses to express her . Next time you’re about to call another woman a “prude” or a “slut” just zip your lips. Even Miley Cyrus and her twerking shouldn’t be slut-shamed.
7. Fearing being alone. There are certain things you have control over — like trying to go on dates, and actively meeting new people — and others which you simply don’t. Finding a life partner (or even a temporary one) is one of those things. You can’t pinpoint when or where or how you’ll meet someone to spend your life with, so stop freaking yourself out over the idea that you never will. And there are far worse things than being alone.
8. Spending time with people out of obligation. Just because you spent every waking moment of your elementary school days with someone doesn’t mean you have anything in common with her now. There’s no need to see every old friend and third cousin who passes through your city. Be intentional about who you spend your time with and allow yourself to let some relationships fade away naturally.
9. Setting deadlines for major life events. Don’t try to meticulously plan out when you should find love or have babies or get that dream job or buy that amazing brownstone. Enjoy the uncertainty of life and allow yourself to be overjoyed when you hit those milestones or pleasantly surprised when you realize you want to skip out on some of them altogether.
10. Being in relationships for the sake of having a relationship. If you’re terrified of being alone, the worst thing you can do is jump into a relationship you don’t really want. Nothing good comes from tying yourself to a person who isn’t right for you simply because you feel the need to couple up