We tend to corner ourselves into certain thinking patterns that are neither rational nor productive. These thinking patterns stay with us our entire lives and ultimately hold us back from living the life we desire.
You know what I’m talking about.
The negative thought patterns, the victimizing statements, the self-insults, the can’ts, the resentments.
Resentment, fear, and negativity get us nowhere but down in the dumps. And we easily get stuck there, often waiting for a savior-type to pull us out and abracadabra some motivation into our blood.
But we all know no one can save us but ourselves. No one can go *poof* and make everything all bright and sunny.
If we truly want to be happy most days of our lives, we need to intercept the thinking that impedes our progress.
Here are three big thinking boulders I’ve experienced and observed over the years and one
easy solution to pave a new course of thinking.
Thinking Boulder #1: Everyone’s Out To Get You
We often feel on guard to protect ourselves from potential attacks. But the reality is, people aren’t always out to get us.
I’m not just talking about physical attacks or muggings or anything like that. I’m also talking about our learned defensiveness that we use when we feel emotionally insecure.
Yeah, there’s always a jerk in every crowd and plenty of people who are up to no good, but why leave the house eyeing everyone as if they are hitmen? All that does is create a aura of negativity around us, not them.
We don’t need to be naïve and skip around thinking the world is only made up of rainbows and puppy dogs. Let’s just get to back to neutral on this one, knowing there’s nice people, jerk people, and it all evens out when you look at humanity as a whole. (Also, other people’s behavior has nothing to do with us.)
Thinking Boulder #2: Everyone Is Judging You
They probably are. Not going to lie.
I swear I’m not a cynic, but I know humans well and humans judge others. It’s just what we do. We’re raised in a world of competition and comparison.
But we can’t let other people’s judgments run our lives. It’s way more freeing to let go of the need for other people’s approval. We may never get it, and if we do, it doesn’t really matter anyways. All that matters is how we feel about ourselves.
Thinking Boulder #3: You Aren’t Worthy Of What You Want
Some people are pompous and believe they are entitled to whatever their pesky gremlins desire. True.
But I find that more people are timid and modest and terrified to have all the things they desire in life. For some reason, many of us have become conditioned to believe we are not worthy of our dreams and desires.
Now, I’m not really talking about a brand new car, diamond necklace, VIP treatment, or other materialistic desires. Rather, I’m talking more about mature love, happiness, balance between career and family, creative expression, health, and overall livelihood.
For some reason, we tend to place ourselves very low on life’s priority list and subsequently victimize ourselves and brew a boiling pot of resentment in our minds.
Let’s Bust Through These Boulders
To every problem, there is a solution. And the solution to our negative thinking problem resides in our minds.
If you’re not into the meditation thing…too bad! You’re going to do it whether you like it or not. (Don’t you love it when I tell you what’s best for you?)
Okay, okay. I’m not going to make you sit down for three hours in front of a candle until you find your inner god or goddess. But I am going to make you intercept unproductive thought patterns that prevent you from being truly happy.
Now, the method isn’t very sexy. There’s no complicated math, whimsical dance or ritual, and no herb from an enchanted forest blessed by the tears of ancient trees…
It’s simply this:
Whenever you recognize that you are having a thought that prevents you from being happy, stop thinking that thought.
Just stop thinking the thought.
It sounds painfully obvious and can be fairly challenging, especially for those thought patterns we’ve held onto for years and years.
But try it anyways. Practice it every time you are aware of your old, unproductive ways of thinking. If you actually practice this act, I guarantee you’ll get better and better over time.
And before you know it, thoughts that once held you back will no longer exist. And you’ll find yourself feeling lighter, freer, happier.
Welp, you know what to do.
First step is awareness, of course. You actually have to recognize when you’re having an unproductive thought. But once you recognize the first couple, they become really easy to identify.
Second step, stop thinking the thought. If that’s proving to be very challenging (or if you have no idea what I mean), practice intercepting the thought and thinking about something else uplifting. Distract yourself while you develop your interception skills. Over time, you’ll be able to stop your old ways of thinking without filling in the space.
Third step is to begin practicing productive thoughts – new ways of thinking that get us closer to our goals, our desired happiness, and our true selves.
Now, go get ’em tiger ;-)
Your insight is spot on. I appreciate it that you say to practice. Old habits, especially bad ones are hard to break. Another wonderful article.
I’ve just discovered your website and its content of helpful articles. I love your writing style, and your authentic form of expression. Your research offers depth of knowledge, and you can so easily relate these learnings for your reader.
Thanks Rachael :)