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13 Thoughts That Are Butchering Your Happiness

13 Thoughts That Are Butchering Your Happiness

Sometimes you might feel like you’re the only one who gets down on themselves. We all have those intrusive thoughts that are so negative they paralyze us. You aren’t alone. These kind of thoughts can make us feel powerless because they are slowly butchering our right to happiness. The good news is we gave those thoughts power ourselves. That means we can take back control and begin clearing our minds of the negative thought wasteland.

Here are some ways to fight 13 very common negative thoughts that hold us back :

1. “I’m not good enough.”

This is our inner-critic talking smack and bullying us. He’s always on duty, patrolling our minds. Around every corner, he’s there to tell us that we’ll never be good enough at anything we try to do. We’ve all been guilty of believing that we fall short on some sort of prerequisite to life. Our mind was designed to make judgments for survival purposes. The trick is to acknowledge when a negative judgment is taking place and redirect our thoughts. Instead of focusing on our weakness and shortcomings, we need to shift our perspective to trying to do our best. All humans start somewhere. No one will ever be perfect. It’s important to concentrate more on our strengths and forgive ourselves for ever believing we weren’t good enough – because we are just fine.

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2. “I wasn’t born with the talent to do that.”

You’re right… you weren’t. No one was born knowing how to do handstands, or draw comics, or launch a rocket into space. For most of us, it takes knowledge and skill. There are a few people who have certain activities that just come more naturally to them. However, most of us will have to spend a great deal of time and effort on skill mastery. While this thought might be correct, it’s still a limiting belief. If there is something we really want to do, we must work at it longer. We weren’t born knowing how to do anything—it all takes practice and patience.

3. “It’s too difficult.”

This is a very common thought that creeps up to protect us from stepping outside of our comfort zones. Anything that we are not used to doing is going to make us feel uneasy and frustrated. If we aren’t being challenged by something in life, we don’t grow. We don’t reach our goals. We get bored with life. Sometimes, we need difficult moments in life to overcome, so that we can appreciate the journey and become the hero of our story. Bragging rights are cool too.

4. “Its just not the right time.”

There is never going to be a so-called “right time”. The conditions will never be perfect for what we desire to do. This thought only delays our dreams and goals from happening. The right time to start is exactly when we feel the hesitation. We can begin by taking slow and steady steps to whatever it is we are trying to achieve. No one achieved anything at just the right time. Delaying what needs to be done is a detrimental luxury we have today that our ancestors didn’t have once upon a time. Think about that!

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5. “I’m too old now.”

If you’re over the age of 25, you’ve probably thought this before. How sad is that? We constantly see people much older than us working towards their dreams, but when it comes to us… we’re just too old. That’s nonsense! If you’re working towards something that brings you happiness, you’re never too old! When you’re doing something you love to do, you can do it until the day that you die. End of story!

6. “People don’t like me.”

This thought shows its ugly face when we personalize other people’s actions. We aren’t mind readers—we can’t possibly know for sure that someone’s body language really means they dislike us. People’s behavior has so much more to do with their own issues—not us. We can reclaim our power over this negative thought pattern of assumptions by getting comfortable with who we are and being true to ourselves. When we genuinely like who we are, we stop caring if someone truly doesn’t like us.

7. “I’m not smart enough.”

This false idea goes back to the “I’m not good enough” thought pattern. This is just another one of those false  judgments we have about ourselves. We are what we believe we are. If we firmly believe we aren’t smart, then we will live our lives doing only simple things to get by. Sometimes, we need to test ourselves and our abilities. We are all capable of great things—we just have to start believing it. We don’t have to be “smart enough” to start working towards our goal. The big secret is: we learn along the way. No one goes into a task operating at a genius level immediately.

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8. “I’m too busy.”

We ought to really be asking ourselves if we are really “too busy”, or if we really just don’t have the energy. Everyone is busy. Saying that we are too busy to do something often turns into a big excuse that we just accept as truth. Chances are good that we aren’t too busy. The truth is– we either don’t want to do something or we are low on energy. A way to overcome this excuse is to schedule a task that we think we don’t have time for (like exercise) into our daily routine. If it’s scheduled, there is time for it. We must learn to differentiate between being “too busy” and avoiding something we don’t want to do. It’s more socially acceptable to say, “I’m too busy”; than to say, “I don’t really want to come to your birthday party”. It’s just difficult to know where do we draw the line sometimes.

9. “It’s just my luck.”

When something goes wrong, we can catch ourselves thinking that we must deserve this. There must be some sort of dark cloud looming over our heads, casting down trivial accidents like stubbed toes, coffee spills, and parking tickets. As the day goes on, we continue to hold on to any problems we’ve gathered during the day and then add them onto new problems that crop up. It becomes a snowball effect of “just my luck”. Our whole day is ruined. We could have easily combated this by shrugging off the situation and saying, “Oh well”. Bad stuff happens sometimes. If we find ourselves ruminating on all of the negative things that happened during our day, it certainly steals our happiness. Reflecting on positive experiences instead will help us notice the good things in our day more than all of the crumby things. “Just my luck” can then go from being a negative thought process to a positive one.

10. “They’re better than I am.”

Says who? We tend to think this idea about ourselves when we compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths. Our self-worth ought not to come from comparing ourselves to our neighbor. Remember that our neighbor has flaws in areas that we are great at. This type of negative thinking will always bring us crumbling to the ground and steal away our treasured happiness. Everyone has different skills, talents, achievements, personalities, etc. The beauty of life is that we work with others to learn from them. We can turn jealousy and envy into curiosity and inspiration with a simple shift of perceptive.

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11. “I can’t do anything right.”

Failure and all-or-nothing thinking can make us feel like total losers. So we messed up on something in our lives?Big deal. It doesn’t mean that everything is ruined and we’ll never have a second shot. Falling down is a huge part of living. Everyone is going to have it happen to them—a lot. It’s staying down in the failure zone that is very detrimental to our self-esteem and is a cowardly decision. Getting back up and practicing resiliency will help mend our self-worth, regaining power back into our lives.

12. “I should be…”

If you know a little bit about psychoanalysis, you know that the superego is the “should” society places upon us. These are the rules and regulations of how society believes we must behave, and how we ought to live our lives. These demands are often very oppressive and sometimes irrational. When we are told that we “should” be a certain way, but we don’t want to be, we may feel overwhelming guilt over the conflict. We all deal with this constant battle between what our culture believes we should do and what we often want to do instead. Rigid, unbending demands are not at all fun for most people. When we find ourselves getting caught up in these “shoulds”, we should take a moment and decide if this is something we really want to do, or is this something we feel obligated to do in order to be accepted as a worthy individual?

13. “I’m all alone.”

It’s safe to say that we’ve all felt alone before (both physically and emotionally). This tends to happen when we’re going through a trial in our lives, or when we isolate from others. We might feel like no one knows what we are going through—that our feelings and tribulations are completely unique. However, we’d be wrong. Everyone has been through their fair share of tribulations. We can get over this negative belief by confiding in a compassionate friend who will support us when we feel like we are suffering and don’t know what to do. Sharing problems with a trusted ally gets us back to our happy place quicker than trying to do it all alone.

Featured photo credit: Sad woman at the beach in sepia colors. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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