5 Qualities We Should Improve Before They Ruin Our Lives

4/17/14 11:33AM EST

5 Qualities We Should All Work On Bettering Before They Ruin Our Lives 5 Qualities We Should Improve Before They Ruin Our Lives

Image via Unsplash/Victoria Alexander

When it comes to you, how often do you step back and recognize the things that you could change, the things that you could make better? Because it’s so easy to criticize others on their poorest personality traits, we often overlook the fact that maybe the problem isn’t other people, but rather it’s our own qualities that complicate the presence of harmony in life. Instead of finding things to change that you usually can’t change in life, here are five qualities we could [and should] all work on bettering before they ultimately ruin our lives.

1. Greed

Have you ever thought about the fact that it’s usually the want of something that causes a disruption in harmony and not so much the actual lack of the thing you’re wanting? Pining away for something that you think you need usually only results in feeling like your life is incomplete without said thing. And who can be happy or at peace when you literally think your life is incomplete? The logic behind greed makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make it OK. Every day it seems we want something else, pining for something else — especially when someone else has it and we don’t. The constant hunger for things is just greed in disguise, and it’s a feeling that can snowball out of control until you can recognize it for what it is. Greed, even in the smallest sense, can make you unhappy for your entire life if you’re never satisfied with what you have. Really, it’s when you can realize that you and your life will be perfectly OK without something is when you will be OK with almost nothing.

2. Impatience

Do you have a short fuse? Being impatient isn’t a valid excuse to be an asshole because being impatient isn’t a real flaw you’re born with. Sure, some people are “born” with a short fuse and have the tendency to be impatient, but at some point that tired old story just becomes the scapegoat for why you’re so high strung. Working on being more patient will not only help you better deal with life’s many punches, but you’ll be surprised how less angry, frustrated and overwhelmed you’ll feel in so many everyday situations when you can just chill out a little bit. Also, you’ll probably be less of a jerk to almost everyone.

3. Apathy

Somehow it is so still remarkably easy for people to turn their heads away at the horrific things going on in front of our faces. In 2014 we are still dealing with what should be barbaric issues of genocide, famine, poverty and just plain cruelty to both humankind and other living creatures, and yet we can so easily look away and pretend they’re not there. Why? Just so we can go on living with our privileged lives without feeling guilt. This is a prime example of how contagious apathy is and how it is perpetuating the existence of pure evil in the world around us. We’re all apathetic about something — whether it’s a wide-scale global issue or it’s sparing a quarter to help out that homeless guy. We’re all apathetic because it’s easier not to care than to care and feel helpless about fixing a problem on our own. No one expects anyone to craft a magic solution for world peace and harmony, but apathy is a quality that can only make your and someone else’s life worse. After all, if you don’t care about anyone else, who’s going to care about you either?

4. Pettiness

How many grudges have you held in your life? How many times have you been hurt or angry and vowed never to forgive someone for it? Probably at least once. Pettiness is one of those qualities that gets lost under the larger hood of narcissism, so it’s hard to see that people often act out in a petty manner when they’re just trying to protect their egos. The problem with this habit of “holding the power” and “not giving in” when someone has hurt or betrayed or upset you is that the only person who suffers is YOU. You can be petty and think you’re holding out for as long as you want, but eventually it’ll eat you alive. Eventually it’s habits like these that make us cynical and bitter, affecting every other judgment we make, affecting every other relationship we have. Go on, hold your grudge for 50 more years; you’ll be the lonely, old grouch who can’t trust anyone; no one else really gives a shit.

5. Attachment

Call this one an umbrella for all the others because it is probably singularly the worst quality we all have. Being attached to anything — even to your actual emotions or qualities — can be detrimental to your everyday wellbeing. For example, think about it: The times you feel the saddest are sometimes the times when you look back at the times when you were the happiest — the times that are now in the past. Being attached and bound to emotions, people and things can only cause you unhappiness when those things no longer exist — or when it comes to more negative qualities that keep you from growing and changing (see above). It’s such a simple logic, but it’s probably the hardest to grasp and accept. I’m sure you can name at least one person that you’ve seen render his or her life unworthy of living once everything was “lost.” Humans are strong creatures; we can endure a lot and live without a lot. We just convince ourselves that we need things to be happy, and sometimes it’s even the feeling of once being happy that can undo our sanity. The truth is that things like love, happiness, wealth and people all come and go in life — but life still goes on. If you can learn how to detach from being dependent on things that will inevitably come and go, then that’s one huge step to bettering your life.


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