Have you ever stopped to consider why you feel down on yourself from time to time? When you wake up to the knowledge that sometimes the only thing getting in your way is the way in which you think, it can feel very empowering.
There are 5 main sabotaging thought patterns that will not only keep you feeling stuck but will prevent you from experiencing any form of happiness in your future.
So what are they?
Are you the sort of person who tends to blow things out of proportions and jumps to the worst possible scenario? This thought pattern is called catastrophizing and will make sure you continue to react in either a defensive or destructive way. The worst case of this pattern will result in a range of mental illnesses, eating disorders or even suicide.
By repetitively visualizing dire outcomes to your life events and circumstances you are likely to react in a defensive manner or even find yourself becoming aggressive.
I tend to do this when I am feeling insecure or shameful about my past behavior. One negative thought leads to the next and before I know it I am totally paranoid and feeling worthless, sad, betrayed and lonely.
The good news is that this pattern can be broken by searching for evidence that what you are imagining is true. In most cases, you will realize that you can not find factual evidence that your visualizations are actually the truth.
2. Blaming Yourself
If you suffer from low self-esteem you may fall into the trap of believing everything is your fault when things go wrong in your life. You may point the finger of blame at yourself for not being smart enough in your failing business or even for not being a good enough partner if your relationship is turning sour.
This is a form of martyrdom and if these thoughts are not corrected they can damage you psychologically. This is actually a survival behavior that has been learned along the way whereby you are seeking forgiveness to live your life.
I can sometimes resort to this pattern when my business is not flowing as well as I’d like it to, and I revisit times in the past where my actions resulted in challenging situations.
The way to overcome it is to stop feeling guilty for being you!
3. Feelings = Truth
Another damaging thought pattern is to believe that your emotions are accurate representations of reality. If you feel something then surely it must be true, right? Wrong! It is a dangerous territory to try and justify that you are the way that you are because of your emotions.
Remember that you will become what you believe yourself to be so it is essential that you balance your feelings with critical judgment.
Whenever I feel threatened by people outside of my immediate circles, I can allow emotional reasoning to take hold of my behaviors and they can become irrational, insecure and judgemental. When I am triggered, my mind can leap back into past events to find proof that I am right.
Seek factual evidence which either agrees or disagrees with your emotional conclusions and you will squash damaging reactive behavior.
4. Rules & Regulations
Do you hold a strong set of opinions about what you believe is right and what is wrong? Well if you do, it might become pretty frustrating for you when your life, your own actions or the people around you do not conform to these lofty expectations.
If you end up feeling guilty or shameful if you do not achieve what you ‘should’ do during the day then it is probably time to lift up the oars and find a healthy alternative to these rigid rules and expectations.
I can fall into this unhelpful thought pattern when I am too busy trying to overachieve which may result in projecting these high standards onto those around me. When they do not live up to my expectations I can feel let down or frustrated.
The way to overcome this sabotaging pattern is to let go, focus on what you want to do and not what you need to do and stop trying to control everything around you.
5. Limited Opinions
It is likely that you will be accused of being narrow-minded if you base all future events on past experiences. If you find yourself having an intolerance towards a particular cross-section of the population that will certainly have a detrimental impact on your happiness.
Your beliefs about a certain sub-culture may have been formulated during childhood but it is never too late to start challenging these old programs and become more self-aware.
We can all slip into a judgment of the external other from time to time. This often happens when we feel threatened in some way. I used to think that all psychics were fake until I started receiving accurate spiritual guidance myself and had a reading from a clairvoyant that literally blew my mind.
These judgments will keep you feeling isolated, ashamed and living in fear so when you next catch yourself overgeneralizing ask yourself if you truly believe everyone with that ‘label’ is identical.
It is important to recognize that there are plenty of other negative thought patterns that will block you from happiness but these are some of the most common ones.
Please leave a few comments below to let me know what thought patterns you feel you have adopted over the years and what you plan on doing to release their powerful hold over you.