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10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

Life is a challenge. Whatever way you may look at it, there will always be obstacles that are meant to make you a stronger and better person.

In the midst of all these obstacles, it is incredibly easy to go down a road of self-pity — where you truly believe that the world is against you. And, because so many people are in “self-pity” mode, it might seem like the acceptable way of living.

Sadly, self-pity mode ruins people’s lives. When you are in that mode, you become self-destructive because your headspace is always filled with negative thoughts that you think are the norm. Naturally, because you think it’s the norm, you are seldom aware that you are ruining your life.

In 2007, my life changed forever when I understood the power of thoughts – positive or negative. In fact, my life changed so much that I started a company called Wealthy Mindset® in 2009. The pay-off line for the company was “Wealth begins with your Mindset.”

I’ve gone on to work with hundreds of people through Wealthy Mindset® and RunForWealth, a blog I use to publish content on how you can “Run A Fulfillng Life Race.”

As a result, I have studied and experienced, personally and in others, the impacts of positive and negative thoughts.

In this post, I hope I can share common negative thoughts that can potentially ruin your life. I am also going to share some solutions that will help you replace negative thinking so you can start re-shaping the direction of your thoughts.

1. “Life is unfair” makes you a victim

Nobody ever promised us a roller-coaster in life. And yet, every time life deals us a temporary blow, we are quick to express how unfair life is.

Life is very fair, provided you shift paradigms completely.

Most of the blows you will receive in life are meant to help you reach your destiny. Use them to be the best you can be.

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Non-toxic thought and action: Life is fair and I must use the obstacles in life to learn and grow.

2. “It’s everyone else’s fault” makes you irresponsible

Ever come across people who are never at fault?

All the negative vibes and occurrences in their lives are the result of everyone else. To them, shifting responsibility is the easiest option. If it isn’t their partner or spouse, it’s the boss. If it isn’t the boss, it’s the friends. If it isn’t the friends, it’s the colleague or the neighbor.

Non-toxic thought and action: I need to take full responsibility for all my actions and outcomes in life.

3. “I grew up underprivileged” prevents you from being a futuristic thinker

We will never start on the same base. And that does not mean life is unfair.

Just because someone has a better starting base in life doesn’t mean they don’t have problems and challenges that come with the “advantage.”

The reality is that we all have obstacles to overcome – regardless of where we start in life. Quite frankly, where you start is insignificant. Your life journey and where you end up is what counts.

Non-toxic thought and action: Life is a privilege and I will navigate through my obstacles regardless of where I start.

4. “Failing equates to failure” limits your breakthroughs

You will fail in life. Be it at school, work, or in business – you will attempt to do certain things and they will fail.

Sadly, we don’t know what our ration of failing is. It would be pretty cool if we did. But, we don’t, and that’s the reality of the matter.

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Regardless of your failing, you need to learn from you mistakes and keep trying. Tough as it may be, at times, this means you need to abandon a particular career, project, or business venture completely and try something new.

Ultimately, you need to remember that you only become a “failure” when you stop trying. Failing comes with the territory to success.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will learn from my mistakes and failures but I will never stop trying.

5. “Live life like there’s no tomorrow” destroys you

As cool as this may sound, it’s a ticket to self-destruction. No one wants to live a boring life. But to live like there’s no tomorrow is just plain stupid.

Your today was determined by what you did many months and years ago. Your future (tomorrow) will be determined by your actions today.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will live responsibly every day because my future is determined by my current lifestyle.

6. “I don’t have the right contacts” limits self-investment

Knowing the right people in the right places is like gold.

What we often neglect to appreciate is that gold goes through an entire refinery process of heat and pressure before it yields it’s optimum value.

Likewise, your gifts, skills, talents, integrity, and character need to go through a rigorous process of tests in life before you can rely on contacts.

Contacts and knowing people in the right places means nothing if you can’t add value to people’s lives through your skills and talents. Equally important, your contacts mean nothing if you lack integrity or character.

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Refine all the above and contacts will take you to places you never dreamt of.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will invest in myself first and refine my skills, gifts, talents, integrity, and character and the right contacts will help me get to higher heights.

7. “If I could win the lottery one day…” creates an overnight success fallacy

I know you are probably asking: “how on earth can this be a negative thought?”

The thing about gambling, and the lottery in particular, is that it plants a seed of “overnight success.” There is no such thing as “overnight success.” It takes many years to succeed. Life is a process of inputs and outputs.

Sadly, studies have also shown that most people who win the lottery end up in a worse-off situation. Why? Because they have not learned the necessary skills required to keep what they have won.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must work hard and smart and life will reward me appropriately and abundantly.

8. “People are gossiping about me” negatively impacts your focus

It is quite sad to see how many people walk around paranoid about who is having conversations about them. As a result, they have low self-esteem. They second-guess themselves and spend most of their energy “watching their backs” for “enemies” or potential moves of “sabotage.”

Here is the crux: people will always talk, whether you do good or bad. Forget about what people are saying behind your back and focus on doing you.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must focus on living my life fruitfully, regardless of what people say behind my back.

9. “I am not good enough” blurs our gifts, talents, and skills

We all have gifts, talents, and skills. Our responsibility is to identify those and continuously work on improving them so we can add value to other people’s lives.

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For anyone to say “I am not good enough” is complete hogwash. The primary problem is that many people spend a lot of energy trying to achieve in areas they are not gifted or talented in. We have become so competitive that we often neglect to stay in our lanes.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must identify my skills and talents and stay in my lane of destiny.

10. “It’s impossible” prevents us achieving extraordinary goals

Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, once said: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Achieving great success is not about “pie in the sky” hype. It takes some goal-setting, systematic hard and smart work, and then having the faith required to allow your ordinary efforts and inputs to become extraordinary achievements.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will set life goals and develop the faith required to make my hard and smart work become extraordinary success.

In conclusion, most of society is stuck in “toxic mode.” As a result, most toxic thinking is deemed to be normal.

I really hope that this article will help you identify subtle toxic thoughts that can ruin your life. More importantly, I hope the suggested “non-toxic thoughts” can help you escape that mode so you achieve abundance and success in life.

Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via imcreator.com

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Peteni Kuzwayo

Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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