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11 Evil Thoughts That Sabotage Your Best Intentions

11 Evil Thoughts That Sabotage Your Best Intentions

You know that little sensation that tugs you in a certain direction? You know you must take action, whether it’s tackling a new project, changing your situation or sharing your thoughts. You know you’ll be fulfilled once you realize it. But you’re paralyzed.

You hear that little voice telling you all the “good reasons” why you can’t, why you shouldn’t or why you don’t need to undertake that action. It dissuades you over and over. And you can’t stop it.

But if you learn how to recognize it as an illusion, you can dissociate yourself from it, and it slowly dissolves.

Let’s identify a few evil thoughts and find out how to fight those mental blocks that sabotage your best intentions.

1. “I’ll never be able to make it.”

You’re telling yourself it’s impossible to do anything. You feel overwhelmed. You feel defeated way before you even start. Yes, this might be a big task, but cut it into small pieces and you’ll see how much easier it will become. Acknowledge it for what it is, and make it seem less important than it really is.

Say instead: “I don’t like this, but I’ll try to make it happen,” “This is bothering me, but I’ll do my best,” “I’d rather have an easier task, but I’ll try anyway,” or, “I can always ask for help.”

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2. “It’s too late; there’s no use.”

By saying this, you don’t think of confronting your problem and solving it in a concrete way. So you’d rather forget. You’d rather erase all the negative emotions and uncomfortable sensations. You’d rather not act. Is it really too late? Is it really no use? Isn’t there still a window of opportunity? Can you still take some actions on a smaller scale?

Say instead: “It’s not over yet. I can start by doing the easy little things first.”

3. “I can’t do what they expect.”

What exactly is expected of you? Do you actually know what it is? Has anyone voiced it clearly? Do you actually think you’ve been handed over something that others don’t believe you can do? If they handed it to you, it’s because they believe in you and trust you.

Say instead: “I can respond appropriately,” or, “I can do what’s needed and it’ll work.”

4. “I can’t show this. I have to get it right. It needs to be perfect.”

You believe that anything short of perfection is horrible and that even minor imperfections will lead to catastrophe. Why subject yourself to such tyranny? Doing so will only lead you to frustration, depression, anxiety, or anger. Although it’s good to aspire to perfection and push to reach your peak level of performance, perfection doesn’t have to be the only requirement. Besides, do you have a precise idea of what “perfect” looks like? Stop hurting yourself. Stop setting standards that are so high that they can’t be met or are only met with great difficulty.

Say instead: “I’d like this to be of superior quality, but I can only do my best. A few mistakes won’t kill me.”

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5. “I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what to say.”

Here you feel helpless. You think nothing is possible when, in fact, everything is possible. There’s not one good way, but many ways to start doing something. So the real problem just lies in choosing where to begin.

Say instead: “Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere.”

6. “I’ll do it when I find the perfect situation/person.”

When will that be? In a month, in a year or never? The perfect thing/situation might never come if you don’t take action. And it might not be as perfect as you envision it. But you can move toward it. That’s what makes life adventurous.

Say instead: “I’m willing to take risks.”

7. “Even if I try, I’ll make a mistake. I’m not good/smart enough.”

Why set yourself up to fail right away? You see it in your future as if it were already decided. Your future is not a fixed destination; it’s a place you can create out of the choices you make right now. Sure, you might make mistakes, but look forward to them, expect them, and learn from them.

Say instead: “I can adapt to any situation. I’ll do what’s necessary to make it work,” or, “I’ll get better at this.”

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8. “Whatever I do, it’ll always be the same. It doesn’t make a difference.”

You have feelings of despair, discouragement, and numbness. You’ve tried a few times and failed, and you’re afraid of being hurt again. So you prefer to stay still, to be passive, to be unresponsive because you’d rather feel safe and secure.

Say instead: “Let’s try this one more time.”

9. “I’ll take care of it tomorrow/later.”

Will you really? Or would you rather ignore that little voice, that little uncomfortable physical sensation, or that unpleasant feeling? Sure, there are times when you can postpone an activity. But if you do it more than once, when you know it would be in your best interest to take care of it now, you are procrastinating big time. Ask yourself what the benefit will be if you do it now. What will it cost if you don’t?

Say instead: “I’ll do five minutes of this to start,” or, “Let’s cut it up and do one thing at a time.”

10. “This is just too hard.”

You feel you have to put too much effort into your task. But at the same time you’re still making an effort to breathe, walk, and talk, right? So you can make an effort. Yeah, it may be harder, but so what? That shouldn’t discourage you at all. At first, you might have to work a little harder, but things will get easier over time.

Say instead: “This can be easy and effortless.” (Even if it might require you to spend some energy.)

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11. “That’s the way I am. I can’t change this.”

Think about this: what has remaining the same done for you lately? Has it helped you improve your situation in any way? It’s not that you can’t change, it’s that you don’t want to change. Big difference. But if you want to get ahead, you have to change.

Say instead: “I’m willing to make an effort,” or, “I’m willing to change.”

Vanquish Your Demons and Take Action

You view these recurring negative thoughts, these evil thoughts that have been holding you down in the dumps for a long time, as an excessive weight on your ankle that is stopping you from moving and realizing yourself.

But what you hear in your head is not really you. Your true self is in fact the person you could potentially become.

So change your script. Find the strength to be adventurous, dynamic, and solution-focused.

If you feel these evil thoughts paralyzing you, if you feel stuck, or if you feel dissociated, just do one thing. You must decide to let go; you must decide to move on. Allow yourself to make your situation joyful, and allow yourself to love and forgive yourself no matter what.

Because you know how you will feel about yourself once you do.

Featured photo credit: Worried Girl, Woman, Waiting/RyanMcGuire via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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