Though no one builds negative personality traits intentionally, there are several people walking through life miserable, angry, and resentful because of them.
Most likely, these people never agree that the misery, anger, and resentment they feel is their fault.
They’ll rather look to the external to seek solutions and distribute blames rather than changing the negative parts of their personality.
This is why countering the negative aspects of our character depends on how well we can look through our lives and habits with a fine-toothed comb and courageously admit what things need changing about us.
That said, here is a list of 10 negative personality traits that often makes people miserable in life.
One negative trait especially common with people who have an unbalanced life is a lack of self-control.
When you are an impulsive person, you cannot allow space between periods of high emotion and periods of important decisions.
The danger of being too impulsive is that the most important decisions we will need to take in life are always going to trigger an emotional response.
Decisions like whom to marry, or whether or not you should leave a job you feel is unfulfilling, need to be considered with a clear head. People who are too impulsive end up making grave mistakes like marrying or hiring the wrong person because of their looks or physical appeal.
If you want to have a balanced life, you must learn to separate periods of high emotional entanglement from periods for important decisions.
Learn to step back when you least feel like it. Question yourself in periods of deep emotion and try to understand why you feel the way you do.
Balancing your life like this will give you a greater feel about what you need to do at the right time.
Another defining trait of people who lead a life they hate is finding reasons to do only what’s convenient for them.
Here’s the interesting thing about excuses: They all seem valid.
If I tell you that the reason I’m angry, miserable, and resentful is that I lost someone close to me when I was 15, it seems valid. But chances are, there are lots of people who came out even stronger and better after being hit by dire circumstances.
On the other hand, the good thing about excuses is that you can also use them to get better.
How? Instead of giving reasons to be mediocre, poor, and lazy, tell yourself why you are supposed to be in a better place because of your circumstances.
You’ve probably heard success stories that only came after people hit rock bottom. Meaning, the same circumstances that gave others a reason to give up were what made them rise.
Understand that giving excuses will only create lapses in your future. The habit will only comfort you today, but it inevitably makes things harder for you in the future.
Find excuses to do better, not worse.
3. Negative Perception
Events in life are neither good nor bad. What we call good and bad are merely labels we place on our experiences by ourselves.
The thing is, your experience of life isn’t determined by your circumstances; it’s determined by your perception.
Imagine these two scenarios: A young man moves to a new town where everything is strange. He immediately gets demoralized because he knows no one, doesn’t understand their language, and doesn’t like the food.
On the other hand, a lady moves into a new town and gets excited because she thinks it will be amazing to meet new people, taste something different, and visit all sorts of strange places.
Though these two people are in the same situation, their experiences will be opposite.
Develop a positive eye towards your experiences in life. It changes everything.
One of the most important personality traits needed to grow in life is flexibility.
A flexible person can adapt to any situation and do what’s needed.
Being flexible means you are not chained to any past models of living. It means you can observe your circumstances and make well-informed choices based on what’s apparent.
Rigid people, on the other hand, are always struggling to let go. They attach themselves to their ideas and views of life.
They make decisions based on what they already believe, not what should be done based on the reality in front of them.
The repercussion of this is that they never grow. Their unwillingness to try new things makes them unable to change themselves, even for the better.
Understand that life is always changing. Those who are always improving themselves are those who are ready to pay attention to life and update their views when there is a need.
It is human nature to trivialize what’s readily available.
In fact, most of us evaluate the significance of a thing by how hard it is for us to get it. If it’s easily available, we assume it’s not that important.
Vital aspects of our lives like family, health, good friends, etc., are often ignored because we don’t have to struggle to have them. We obsess over the lives of celebrities on their social media pages, some drowning in envy because they wish their switch lives with them.
But the habit of using availability or scarcity to determine what is important or worth pursuing will only set you up for misery in the long run.
Why? It’s an endless loop.
A better alternative will be to look at things you already have now and imagine how things would have been if you never had them. Learn to appreciate what’s available when it’s available.
You don’t have to lose a thing before you appreciate its value.
6. Aversion to Boredom
One negative personality trait that makes people miserable is the dread of boredom.
Why? Life can never be exciting all the time. People who always go after novelty discover sooner or later that they are chasing a mirage.
There are going to be times in life where your ability to handle drudgery will determine how far you will go. You must learn to understand that sometimes life can be slow.
Relationships can sometimes feel boring. Your job isn’t going to feel exciting all the time, or at least not as you had imagined.
The bottom line here is that being able to handle the slowness of life with understanding and poise is one of the most remarkable traits required for balance in life.
When things go fast, and there are celebrations and excitement, enjoy the time. When you get into something new, enjoy that feeling of novelty.
On the other hand, when there is drudgery or boredom, don’t be too quick to suppress the feeling. It’s a part of life. Sit back and learn to master yourself in that boredom.
Balancing life like this will give you more mastery over yourself and life in general.
7. Not Taking Responsibility
This is a subtle negative personality trait.
How? Those who are always distributing faults will find well-crafted explanations as to why nothing is their fault.
The problem with shifting blames is inhibits emotional maturity.
You remain a baby emotionally and intellectually because growth requires the ability to face one’s self and look at one’s shortcomings dead in the eye.
When you can acknowledge your role in the chaos in your life, then there is the hope of making tangible improvement. Taking responsibility gives you a focus, it means you have a direction to channel yourself towards improvement.
Learn to look within yourself anytime things don’t turn out the way you wanted. Ask yourself what you could have done to make things better.
Looking at your experiences this way will make you a much more solid person.
8. Pursuing Positive Experiences
Paradoxically, the pursuit of only positive experiences is in itself a negative personality trait.
One of the central ideas in Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, is that the more we pursue negative experiences, the less happy we become. He explained that the best way to have a balanced life is to accept one’s negative feelings.
The fact that we love positive experiences is understandable. We’ve come to associate feeling good with living a good life.
We feel if we feel down, depressed, anxious, sad, broken, betrayed, bored, or bitter, even for a moment, there’s something wrong with us. This mentality makes us always look for more excitement, because this way, we can prove to ourselves and others that our lives are really great.
But living in this manner isn’t just impractical, it’s also exhausting.
Learn to accept your feelings. Don’t label them, listen to them. Be comfortable watching them come and go. There’s nothing bad in feeling down sometimes.
9. Not Accepting People as they Are
Most of the things we are going to do in life are going to involve others.
Often, our moments of extreme emotions are triggered by our interactions with others.
Those who don’t know how to be flexible with their ideas and uphold those of others usually get into all sorts of unnecessary friction in social situations.
As easy as it is for us to think that the ideas in our heads are the best and that the values we uphold are the most correct, we must learn to accept people as they are if we are going to exist in peace with them.
As the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer put it in his Counsels and Maxims, “Intercourse with others involves a process of leveling down.”
10. Approval Seeking
We all care to an extent about what others think about us.
It is human to want people to think well of you. But what’s not normal is to want everyone to like you.
People who care too much about approval end up being pushed in all directions. They easily get emotionally exhausted because humans are quite erratic. Trying to please them is impossible.
Approval seekers don’t have an internal stable evaluation of themselves, and as such, they have to get approval externally to feel good.
This however is a negative personality trait that brings all sorts of emotional turmoil and confusion in the long run. A better alternative is to know yourself.
Refer less to others when you think about your value and worth.
These 10 negative personality traits have been exhibited by everyone at some point or the other. This doesn’t mean we are all miserable losers. As Goethe once said,
“Everyone has an aspect to their nature which will of necessity give offense if they were to express it openly.”
No one’s perfect. Simply use the knowledge to improve yourself and develop better habits.
This post was previously published on Medium.
You Might Also Like These From The Good Men Project
Join The Good Men Project as a Premium Member today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: iStock