It is ultimately only our own thoughts that hurt us.
The mind is your battleground. It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides. It’s where half of the things you thought were going to happen, never did happen. But if you allow those thoughts to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your life. You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into depression, and into defeat. I know because I’ve been there.
What can be done? To start, say this to yourself every morning when you first wake up:
“I’m letting go of all the negative feelings, fears and thoughts from yesterday. I have no room for them! I will focus only on positive thoughts and resolutions today.”
And then practice what you preach. It will gradually make a difference in your life, guaranteed.
Because truthfully, there is so much about your fate that you can’t control, it makes no sense to neglect all the things you CAN control. You can decide how you spend your time, whom you socialize with, whom you share your life, money and energy with. You can pick your words and the tone of voice in which you speak to others. You can select what you will eat, read and study every day. You can choose how you’re going to respond to unfortunate situations when they arise, and whether you will see them as curses or opportunities for growth…
And most importantly, you can choose your thoughts, which dictate pretty much everything else.
Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
In other words, you are what you think. You can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.
Here are twenty thoughts it’s time to change:
- “My dreams and goals can wait.” – Live a life you are proud of. In the end, your greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things that don’t matter to you. We never tell ourselves that we will never live our dreams. Instead we just keep talking about how we will start living our dreams tomorrow.
- “I don’t have time.” – Bottom line: “I don’t have time,” is really just another, perhaps politer, or perhaps naive, way of saying, “It’s not that important to me.”
- “I’m not talented enough.” – Learn the value of work and practice – just the repeated concerted effort to get better at things. Forget the notions of talent and genius. I can hear you thinking, “Oh, these other people, they just have something that I don’t have.” When really, they are just people who work and practice more. Understand this. Work and practice are the keys to anything you want to do. If you want to play the guitar – anybody can learn to play the guitar – you can be good at it. Maybe you won’t be Jimi Hendrix, but you could be really good. You can be good enough to write good songs or make music with others or whatever. There’s no such thing as not having enough talent to get to that level. Because persistence is talent, really. Just sticking with it. Talent is not stopping. (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
- “This problem is too big to solve.” – The problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.
- “I’m not ready yet.” – The truth is nobody ever feels ready when an opportunity arises. Because great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually. They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel comfortable at first. And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready. But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do or don’t do in a few seconds, a heartbeat, when we either seize an opportunity, or just miss it. Miss the moment and you may never get a chance again. So in case you never get a second chance, don’t be afraid! And what if you do get a second chance? Take it! It’s as simple as that.
- “I knew I wasn’t good enough.” – Your struggle is part of your story. Being rejected from something you want often means you are being directed toward something you need.
- “I’m a failure.” – Not trying is failing. Everything else is just practice. It’s OK if you mess up, that’s how you get wiser. Give yourself a break. And don’t give up! Good things take time, and you’re getting there, one step at a time.
- “I just want everything to be easy.” – In every adversity there is a message. Struggles and crises are nature’s way of forcing change – breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can grow in their place. So remember, just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing. Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”)
- “They have it so much easier than me.” – No one has it easier than you. Every one of us is fighting our own private battles. The strongest among us aren’t those who show strength we can see, but those who have won incredible inner battles we know nothing about.
- “I have nothing to be thankful for.” – Choose positivity today. If you’re struggling to be thankful for what you have, think for a moment and be thankful for what you’ve escaped. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter if your glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and that there’s something in it.
- “I have too many flaws.” – Wrong. When you’re comfortable in your skin, even your flaws look beautiful. And once you’ve embraced your flaws, no one can use them against you.
- “They don’t have what it takes either.” – We have enough critics. Be an encourager. One sincere word of encouragement after failure is worth more than a day of praise after success. So start cheering for the people around you. Not only will they feel empowered, but also what goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you too.
- “I don’t have time for anyone else.” – One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Say, “I love you,” “I apologize,” “I appreciate you,” “I’m proud of you”… whatever you’re feeling. Send random emails and texts, write a friendly note, embrace your truth and share it. Create a smile today for someone else… and give plenty of hugs. This connectedness will strengthen you.
- “My closest relationships can wait.” – If you never stop to enjoy who’s beside you, someday you’ll realize you’ve wasted all your years looking for something, a sort of trophy you think you’ll get only if you really, really do enough to deserve it. But then one day you’ll wake up and not want it anymore; you’ll want something else, something warm and sheltering, something you can turn to, regardless of what you do, regardless of who you have ultimately become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s morning sky. And the only way to create this “something” is to nurture the amazing people in your life.
- “I can break my promise just this once.” – Be committed. Commitment means staying loyal and keeping your promises, long after the time and mood you made the promises in has left you. Doing so is vital to relationships and long-term success in every imaginable walk of life.
- “One little lie couldn’t hurt.” – Lying is a vicious disease. It spreads quickly. And liars are the only people who expect acknowledgment for being honest. Don’t be one of them. Don’t lie. Do the right thing, even if you are the only one who knows.
- “They care about me, but they are just too busy to keep their promises.” – It may be hard to accept, but when you are important to another person, they will always find a way to make time for you – no excuses, no lies, and no broken promises.
- “I refuse to cry.” – We need never be ashamed of our tears. Do not apologize or feel ashamed for crying. Without this emotion, you are only a robot. Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. The ones who know crying, know what it means to be spiritual. If you can cry with a pure heart – through forgiveness and acceptance – nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the core principles of humanity. (Read Daring Greatly.)
- “I refuse to forgive.” – Forgive the past. It’s over. Learn from it and let go. People and situations are constantly growing and changing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person or time in the past. See your life now. Your relationships and circumstances are always alive and changing.
- “My heart has been broken too many times to take new risks.”– Sometimes it takes a heartbreak or a major letdown to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we are settling for. Will letting go be hard? Sure, but not nearly as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real. You have to put your heart out there. Because the emotions that can break your heart are oftentimes the very ones that heal it and help it grow.
The floor is yours…
Truth be told, it is ultimately only our own thoughts that hurt us.
So think about it: What negative thoughts and destructive thinking patterns do you struggle with?