Don't Let Tobacco Make You Settle for Less in Your Life

Nicotine addiction teaches us a lot of things...most of them are not good.

Don't settle for less in your life. Cultura RM/Daniel Allan/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

Smoking changes us, and those changes happen gradually, over a long period of time. In fact, the personality shifts we experience due to nicotine addiction are so subtle, most of us don't realize our cigarettes are responsible for them.

Anxiety Can Eat Away at Self-Esteem

Anxiety is a common problem among smokers. We often think that the mounting tension in our lives is the result increased pressures and responsibilities.

We think of anxiety as a  "natural" part of aging. So, many ex-smokers are surprised to learn just how closely linked addiction is to anxiety and how that influences self-esteem over time.

The anxiety that comes about from smoking is a multi-faceted problem.  Addiction beats us down on a number of fronts, teaching us that we are "less than" on an almost subconscious level.

Nicotine Addiction Teaches Us a Lot of Things - Most Are Not Good.

Nicotine teaches us to hide behind a smoke screen. When something stressful happens, what do we do? Light a cigarette so we can think the issue over, of course. More times than not, by the end of the cigarette, we decide let whatever it was go. Sometimes that's the right thing, but not always.

Smoking teaches us to avoid, and avoidance breeds tension. We teach ourselves  to settle for less by not dealing with life head on.

Smoking teaches us to believe we are weak. What long-term smoker hasn't felt a deep longing to quit, while at the same time, powerless to do it?

As much as we hate smoking, it's hard (next to impossible) to think of life without our cigarettes.

At the same time, there is that nagging worry in the back of our minds that we're killing ourselves, one cigarette at a time.

This fear puts smokers in a constant state of subtle turmoil. It is an awful way to live, but we settle for it.

Nicotine addiction does that to a person.

Avoidance and feeling powerless are ingredients for poor self-esteem and anxiety.  

Most smokers don't realize that because of cigarettes,  they've incorporated mistruths into their lives that can have a profound effect on their sense of self. But most EX-smokers will tell you that this is how it goes after a long affair with nicotine. Once they quit, life changes for the better dramatically, and in ways they would never have anticipated.

From one ex-smoker:

"The blinders finally came off and I quit smoking. Why? The tension in my life created by smoking had become unbearable. That's what it took for me to quit and to stick with the recovery process until I was free. And so I began my journey to freedom.

"That journey has taught me a boatload of lessons, some of them hard, but worthwhile nonetheless. One that stands out at the top of the list sounds simple, but the impact on our lives if we take it to heart is profound. It is this:

"Don't settle for less in your life."

Smoking is a way of settling for so much less than we deserve. It's self-destructive behavior that tends to trickle down to other areas of our lives. Once we quit smoking, positive changes start to happen.

Smoking often makes us less health-conscious than we would be otherwise (another source of anxiety). We think it won't make much difference whether we exercise or eat healthy, because we're  poisoning ourselves multiple times a day.

Once we quit, making the most of what we have by living healthfully becomes a positive focus in our lives. 

Don't settle for less.

Relationships sometimes shift as well.  You may find that those that are unhealthy and don't serve you are easier to let go, while others are nurtured more. As smokers, we tend to tolerate more than is good for us at times, but not anymore.

Life is too short to waste it on people who beat us down and don't help us thrive. 

We just can't settle for less.

Quit meters show us the amount of life saved, but they can't properly indicate the quality of life saved. You have to read between the lines of your quit meter to see that one, but it is there, and it's one of the best benefits of quitting smoking.

It's proof of a new way of living...of not settling for less.

Smoking cessation brings the value of our lives into sharp focus. It will give you the tools and the belief in yourself to make changes successfully in any area of your life that you choose.

One day at a time...it works. Persistence and patience and time -- they're your path to a smoke free future and a better way of life.

Don't settle for anything less.

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