#7: You have low standards for emotional maturity

From financial insecurities to physical abuse, there are all sorts of reasons romantic relationships don’t work out. But if you find yourself stuck in a pattern of relationships that don’t last, there may be some subtle psychological reasons why.

Over the years working as a psychologist and counselor, I’ve observed 10 common patterns that sabotage people’s long-term relationships over and over again.

If you can learn to see them and work through them, your chances of finding a satisfying long-term relationship will increase dramatically.

1. You’re afraid to ask for what you really want

Being a therapist means I hear all the requests people wish they could make in their…


Emotional intelligence is not learned, it’s built

Emotional intelligence is not something you’re either born with or not — it’s a skill you can improve over time.

But when it comes to improving your emotional intelligence, how you try to do it matters:

Emotional intelligence is not something you learn in books, it’s something you build with good habits.

As a psychologist, I work with a lot of people who want more emotional intelligence. But despite all the inspiring YouTube videos they watch, they still struggle with it:

  • They get lost in spirals of worry and anxiety
  • They get judgmental with themselves for how they feel
  • They…


Prove them wrong and your confidence will rise

The annoying thing about confidence is how simple and effortless it looks in people who have it:

  • That confident coworker who has no problem speaking up and expressing their ideas in meetings
  • Your confident spouse who slides right into dinner parties and immediately starts chatting with new people

And while some people may well be more naturally confident — at least in certain situations — it’s always possible to improve your own confidence.

Of course, there are a lot of factors that go into learning to be more confident. But in my work as a psychologist, one of the biggest…


1. Anger is your antidepressant

Anger is a normal human emotion. Which means there’s nothing wrong with feeling angry.

In fact, it’s often helpful: Anger can motivate us to maintain fairness and correct injustices.

But chronic, unexamined anger puts you at risk for two serious consequences:

  1. Aggression. From small sarcastic comments with your spouse to major acts of violence, aggression — the tendency to act out your anger — can be devastating and destructive.
  2. Chronic Stress. While acute moments of anger aren’t harmful, being in a chronic state of elevated anger can increase your overall stress levels. …


#1: I’m a high-achiever so being stressed out is inevitable...

On some level, we all want to be more productive:

  • Maybe you want to work more efficiently in your job so you can get that promotion you’ve been after.
  • But it could also mean you want to stop procrastinating on your creative writing hobby and start putting your work out into the world.
  • Or maybe you want to be more productive bootstrapping that business on the side.

Whatever productivity means to you, if you want more of it, you have to understand what really gets in the way. And more often than not…

Struggles with productivity come from a misunderstanding…


Let them go and watch your natural self-esteem rise

Most people assume that they need to understand the origins of their low self-esteem to improve it.

And while it’s true that unpacking the original cause of your low self-esteem can be helpful to an extent, the more important insight is this:

Whatever caused your low self-esteem in the past, it’s your present habits that are maintaining it.

In my work as a therapist, by far the biggest reason I see people struggle with low self-esteem is that they are caught in subtle mental habits that keep them feeling bad about themselves.

If you can learn to identify and overcome…


2. Create a warm-up ritual

A lot of people think of creativity and discipline as opposites. But nothing could further from the truth…

Creative discipline is the difference between wishing you were creative and actually creating stuff.

Many of the most creative people the world has ever known were surprisingly disciplined in their approach to creation:

  • When he’s writing a new novel, Haruki Murakami wakes up at 4:00 am every day, writes for 4–5 hours, then goes for a run or swims.
  • Beethoven was notorious for composing symphonies while going for walks each day.
  • And Thomas Edison relied heavily on a serious power napping routine…


Let them go and watch your relationship thrive

As a therapist, I hear a lot of stories about very unhappy couples:

  • We fight constantly…
  • I haven’t felt close to him in years…
  • She’s so negative all the time…
  • At the best of times it feels like we’re roommates…
  • I just dread having to spend time with her…
  • He’s just totally checked out and uninterested…

To paraphrase the great Russian novelist Tolstoy:

All happy couples are alike, but every unhappy couple is unhappy in its own way.

So what is it that consistently happy couples do differently than unhappy ones? …


Don’t fight your feelings—change your relationship with them

A lot of people think that feeling emotionally balanced is a matter of luck…

  • Some people just never get very anxious because they don’t have the genes for it
  • Some people don’t get down and discouraged very often because they’re naturally optimistic

And while emotional balance does have something to do with your genetics and temperament, there’s a much deeper truth here…

Being emotionally balanced doesn’t mean you don’t have painful emotions — it means you have a healthy relationship with them.

For example:

  • Emotional balance doesn’t mean you never get anxious. It means that instead of trying to avoid…


#2: Develop an ‘early warning system’ for your burnout

Burnout is brutal.

  • Feeling like you’re under constant pressure to hit unrealistic deadlines
  • Trying to manage increasingly unbearable workloads
  • Having little to no support from managers and higher-ups
  • Feeling chronically exhausted and drained

I could go on and on with the symptoms of burnout, but if you’re reading this, you probably know them all too well.

Instead, I want to give some practical and creative advice for learning to deal with burnout at work more effectively. And the gist of it is this:

The best way to manage burnout is to get better at avoiding it in the first place.

Nick Wignall

Psychologist and blogger. I help people use psychology for meaningful personal growth: https://nickwignall.com

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