To master our lives we need to master out thoughts. It is not the happenings in our lives that shape our future but how we process such experiences. Our life events are influenced by our thought patterns and beliefs; hence, the quality of our thoughts is the quality of our lives.
Therefore, as important as thinking positively is obliterating negative thoughts about ourselves. It is impossible to succeed, build healthy relationships or find fulfillment if we are paranoid.
I have discussed some of the most common negative thought patterns and the ones I have been able to personally overcome – enjoy!
1. “I’ll look bad if I admit I’m wrong.”
If we’ve misbehaved the other person already knows we were wrong, but not necessarily think we are bad, until we refuse to show remorse.
Admitting we are wrong and offering an apology shows we are not proud of our actions. It causes the other party to see us as a good person who made a mistake. We’ll not only assuage their feelings but assure them that we will try not to repeat the offense or at least begin to work on it if it’s a character flaw.
Survival of every healthy relationship is built on hope and hope is inspired by show of remorse.
If we have a defeatist mentality we are afraid to venture; and if we manage to venture our confidence is shattered once we experience a setback, paralysis and inertia then set in.
‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Lionel Messi was rejected as a youngster by football clubs in Argentina for being too small as a result of growth hormone deficiencies. Many would have given up, but not Messi. Here is his take on the situation at the time:
“I think being smaller than my mates allowed me to be quicker and more agile, and that helped me when it came to playing football.”
Messi managed to find a positive aspect on the situation – and the rest is history.
3. “I give up on love – all (wo)men are the same.”
That we have been hurt by a few people does not mean everyone is the same. Having that “all men or women are the same” mentality is prejudicial to us in two major ways:
– It denies us the chance to find genuinely good people who can help us grow and become better. If we honestly consider ourselves ‘good’, then it follows that there will be other people like us out there.
Life is much more fulfilling and easier when two people are helping each other, sharing each other’s pains, building each other up and showing love to each other – finding this person is worth it.
– Secondly, it stops us from self-introspecting and seeing where we can improve in our behavior towards others. Often, when two immature people go into a relationship they end up bringing out the worst in each other. For example, two selfish people will make each other unhappy; yet each will be convinced the other is the cause of his unhappiness. The result is that they make the same mistakes all over again even in another relationship.
On the other hand, if we desire lasting value-adding relationships, admitting our weaknesses is a good starting point as it makes people more comfortable around us because there wont be unpleasant surprises or rude shocks. They will also find it easier to correct us, and this helps us become better. It also takes humility to admit our inadequacies – and that is a very endearing quality.
5. “Ask for help? Never! I’ll appear desperate and piteous.”
There is no one who is great in any field of endeavor who has not relied on others for support or help. Human beings like other animals are social-beings designed by God to help one another to make their lives and world better, easier and happier.
Hence, if anyone must truly fulfill their potentials, they will need help from others from time to time through out their lifetime. Help comes not only in material form. In fact the best forms of help are usually intangible i.e advices, encouragements, endorsements or recommendations, These truly help us to achieve our own success and not have to feed off people.
Seeking help for the right reasons is very noble – I appreciate(d) and respect(ed) my parents and siblings more when they have had to ask people for favours just to help my development . It only becomes despicable when we become parasites, malcontents or lazy.
6. “Failure will attract ridicule, so I might as well not venture.”
If you are the type who would rather not venture or remain in your comfort-zone for fear of ridicule if you fail, I have bad news for you – and it is that there are only two human states – progression or degeneration.
We might think that we only stagnate if we fail to venture forward, but the truth is that while we remain on the same spot others are moving past us. So there is no stagnation – only progression and degeneration.
Also, passage of time will always turn the status-quo into mediocrity. What is acceptable today will be out-dated tomorrow. Hence. the earlier we started ‘failing forward’ (in John C Maxwell’s voice) the better. Otherwise, our ridicule might be slow in coming but bound to come.
I’ll start with this verse from the bible – a favourite:
“There is he that scatters and yet increases, and there is he that withholds and yet tends towards poverty.” – Proverbs 11:24
Often times we apply logic to what the bible says, and come to the conclusion that what it says is not logical never mind practicable, and that God is not a rigid God. I’m guilty as well *smiling. In fact, I at times think ‘That’s why He is Jesus – I am human’.
But even logic agrees with this: If every time my loved ones or those around are building a house I contribute two blocks, I would have helped in a non-stifling way because it’s not done all at once. So when I am building mine and everyone I have helped lends a hand, the building becomes easier, faster and cheaper.
Of course, not every one we help will help us in return, and that is why giving is not just about expectation of reward, but about finding fulfillment and happiness in putting a smile on others’ faces.
Therefore, if we truly want to lead a fulfilled life, giving is one of the major habits we need to master.
8. “I don’t want to hurt his feelings telling the truth.”
Nothing gives us fulfillment more than seeing a loved one make a change that’s turned their lives around for the better and being able to say we were the catalyst for that change. On the other hand, seeing someone suffer irredeemably, fall from grace or even die because we didn’t tell them the truth and on time brings untold misery upon us.
So, whether we are telling someone a secret that we weighed wisely and concluded is better revealing to lay a foundation for a trustful relationship or we are warning them about a cherished but deleterious relationship they have with something (booze for example) or someone, we should do so on time without the fear of a backlash.
That backlash can never compare to the depth of gratitude or respect they will have for us if/when they find out we have helped them with the truth.
9. I might lose him if I start to disagree or express my feelings.”
The earlier we started to disagree in a relationship the better. Many people, out of desperation to start a relationship, come across as totally agreeable. The other party then gets used to them being subservient. In fact, that is the reason why a Sanguine will find them dateable or marriageable.
No matter how much people love us, they will take us for granted to some extent – it is human-nature. We take our parents for granted; they take us for granted. The extent to which this happens depends on how servile or unopinionated we have been. Trouble starts when we become more comfortable in a relationship or we become more exposed and we start to have an opinion about things that we never challenged nor questioned. It comes as a shock to the other party to the extent that they start to misjudge us as rebellious or having become arrogant.
The key here is finding a balance as is the case with most relationship issues. In being not afraid to disagree we should not be selfish or unreasonable. Sometimes we even have to give up our right to be right for the sake of the relationship or peace in the relationship. We should disagree to agree, lovingly and honestly.
The opinions of two honest, loving and to some extent wise people will help each other lead more fulfilling and wholesome lives than the opinion of one ever will. We don’t help people to grow when we always agree with them.
10. “I’m jinxed.”
Nothing guarantees failure more than negative thoughts such as this. The moment we conclude that “we are jinxed” not only do we stop trying even our thinking faculty shuts down.
No matter the number of successive disappointments we suffer at a given time or in an area of our lives we should never conclude that we are jinxed. Each unfortunate event might have a peculiar reason for their occurrence; hence, we should not generalize. We should dissect and analyze each to find out what went wrong.
There might also be a familiar pattern in all the events. The key to making a breakthrough with any challenge is to continue to ask questions i.e. What have I consistently done wrong? Is there something wrong with my approach or methods? Do I need to change my friends? Do I plan enough? Do I pray? Is my reputation affecting me?
The best remedy for this kind of mentality is to start leading a life of purpose – a life where there is a goal, plan and focus. This way we can determine what happens to us. Things not going to plan will be the exception and not the rule. When we lead a purposeless life, we leave things to chances and this eventually leads to frustration.
Are there any negative thoughts or fears that you are currently battling to overcome? How did you overcome the ones you have conquered, and what are the results?
Share your thoughts below.