Unhelpful thoughts that are holding you back.


By David Joel Miller.

How many of these unhelpful thoughts are you holding onto?

Man walking on the moon

Reaching your goals-
Man Walking on the Moon
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Most people have a number of negative dysfunctional thoughts that get in the ways of having the happiest life possible. Some counselors call these thought patterns self-defeating thoughts or self-sabotaging.

Recently I have come to think of these thoughts as hugely unhelpful. Calling them unhelpful thoughts makes them easier to transform. If you have any of these unhelpful thoughts filling up your head and getting in the way of you being the person you want to be, if these kinds of thoughts are between you and your happy life, then now is the time to change these thoughts.

I should never make a mistake.

Do you think it is wrong to make a mistake? Making mistakes are a part of doing. The only way to avoid mistakes is to do nothing and that is a mistake. Cut yourself some slack and stop trying to be something you are not. No one is perfect. Accept this and let your best be good enough. Insisting on perfection keeps you stuck in mediocrity.

I am right and they are wrong.

This is sometimes called “right fighting.” Insisting on being right does not foster better communicator or move things along towards a resolution. It does not matter who is right. Rarely will continuing to insist that you are right make any difference. Let other people have their own opinions. Just because others may not agree with you should not diminish your view of yourself.

There is something missing in my life.

You have what you have. Continuing to focus on what is missing keeps you stuck. Really believe you need something? Then go out on a quest and find the missing element. What happens to so many people who spend their lives looking for that one missing element is that when they find it, it turns out the search was what they needed not the thing.

More money will fix what is wrong.

Money helps sometimes. More money creates more options. But most of life’s really major problems can’t be solved by money alone. If you put off action thinking that only money will make a difference you will miss out on a lot of other possibilities in life. Having money rarely happens all at once. People who have true wealth build it a little at a time over the long haul. Invest in yourself and the rest will follow.

Others need to change before I can.

Making others change is really hard. Most of the time you will not be able to make them change. If your reaching your goals requires others to change you are out of luck. The best way to create change in others is to change yourself first and then see how that puts others in a position to change in response.

My problems are someone else’s fault.

People can ease your path or make it more difficult. Continuing to blame others keeps you stuck in the past and in the problem. While others may have contributed to where you are, for good or bad, you are the one deciding whether to stay stuck in the past or move forward in the present.

Accepting that you are responsible for your choices and taking back your power over your future is on the path to recovery. Want to get unstuck? Start making your own choices. Stop looking over your shoulder at what others did to you in the past and start to look forward to what you will do for you in the future.

Things should not be this way.

The world is as it is. Energy focused on the problem is energy diverted from the solution. Dwelling on all the things that are wrong and insisting that things be the way you wish them to be will not change them.

Don’t like the way things are? Go about making changes. Start by changing you and then work on being of service to those around you.

I must have someone to love me.

To attract love into your life you need to be someone who loves themselves. Work on being the best you possible. Be your own best friend. Do kind loving things for you and those around you.

A partner can’t overcome the things you do not like about yourself.

 Other people must like me.

No one is ever liked by everyone. The more people do the more others will criticize them. Do what is right. Do what pleases you. You cannot please everyone all the time. If you please, one person, you may displease others. Focus too much on pleasing others and you will lose yourself.

I need to prepare before I can do something.

You are always doing what you are doing. You will not start out being perfect. Life is about growth and learning. Becoming good at anything requires practice. If you never begin because you are waiting to be fully prepared you will never get started.

My past controls my future.

Your past may have made you who you are but what you do now will make you who you will become. Every moment of every day we have choices. Some are small choices and some are larger. Those small choices can add up to large changes over time.

Which of these unhelpful thoughts are holding you back? Which will you begin to change today?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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