In the journey of personal and professional development, we often focus on acquiring new skills and knowledge. However, an equally important aspect is the process of unlearning certain ingrained habits and mindsets that hold us back. Key among these are the tendencies to seek constant approval, fear of failure, and incessantly trying to prove our worth.

Seeking Approval: It's human nature to desire acceptance and validation. However, an overreliance on external approval can stifle our authentic selves. Unlearning this habit involves understanding that our value does not hinge on others' opinions. It's about making choices that align with our true selves, not just what we believe will please others.

Fearing Failure: The fear of failure is a formidable barrier. It can prevent us from taking healthy risks or trying new things. However, failure is an integral part of learning and growth. When we unlearn the fear of failure, we open ourselves to new opportunities and experiences. We learn to see failure not as a setback but as a stepping stone to success.

Proving Worth: Many of us are caught in the endless loop of proving our worth to others. This habit can lead to burnout and a sense of never being 'enough.' Unlearning this means recognizing our intrinsic value. We must remind ourselves that our worth is not measured by achievements or the approval of others but by our own standards and self-respect.

The unlearning process is not easy. It requires introspection, effort, and often, a change in mindset. But the rewards are substantial. By freeing ourselves from these psychological barriers, we pave the way for genuine growth, happiness, and a life lived true to ourselves.

While learning is crucial for development, unlearning is equally vital. It's a journey towards authenticity and self-realization, one that promises a more fulfilling and genuine existence.

How to Unlearn Negative Habits

Unlearning ingrained habits begins with self-awareness. Recognize when you're seeking external validation, fearing failure, or trying to prove your worth. Once aware, challenge these tendencies:

  • Mindfulness and Reflection: Practice mindfulness to stay connected with your inner self. Reflect on why you seek approval or fear failure. Understanding the root cause is key.
  • Affirmations and Self-Compassion: Use affirmations to reinforce self-worth. Be compassionate with yourself, recognizing that seeking approval and fearing failure are common human experiences.
  • Setting Personal Goals: Focus on personal goals aligned with your values, rather than those aimed at impressing others. This helps reduce the need for external validation.
  • Embracing Failure as Learning: View failure as a learning opportunity. Each failure is a chance to grow and improve.
  • Seeking Support: Don't hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professionals. They can provide different perspectives and support you in your journey.
  • Gradual Changes: Remember that unlearning is a process. Celebrate small victories and be patient with yourself as you gradually shift your mindset.

Madison is a Psychology Assistant; Digital Marketing Assistant at Eckert Centre. She's currently deepening her understanding of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Madison brings her passion for mental health to our community through her writing. As our blogger in residence, her contributions offer a fresh perspective and shed light on the importance of mental wellbeing. We are grateful for her eloquent words and the insights she shares on her journey towards cultivating a "Wise Self." For more insights, information, or to book an appointment, please visit Eckert Centre or reach out to our team at