Unhelpful thoughts that are holding you back.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

How many of these unhelpful thoughts are you holding onto?

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 is 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?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Stop trying to push the wall – self-defeating behaviors.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Trying to push the wall.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you keep trying to push that wall out of your way?

You can waste a lot of time trying to push things out of your way that are not about to move. Insisting that things be the way you want them to be and expecting others to fix you can be ways of staying stuck in the unhappy life you have been living. Continuing to insist on the way things need to be is like trying to push over the wall. You expend a lot of energy but in the end, you are the one who gets knocked down.

How many of these self-defeating behaviors have you been engaging in?

Complaining about the way things are.

Complaining can feel good when you are doing it. The trouble with that behavior is that it keeps you stuck where you are. The more energy you put into complaining about what is, the less strength you have to take action and change the situation.

Insisting others need to change for you to be happy.

Your happiness can not depend on others. Work on you. Change who you are and how you see things and others will have to change to keep up with you. If you create a happy life you provide the push others may need to begin to change. Be the change you want to see in others.

Playing the blame game.

Whose fault it is, only matters in court. Sometimes not even then. Focus on who can solve this problem, generally, that is you. If you can’t change it then you need to accept it. I wanted rain today. We didn’t get it. Is that God’s fault or should I be out planting drought-resistant plants? See how that works?

Blaming your life on where you are.

This is often called a “geographic” solution. You can’t be a great artist where you live. You need to move to Paris. Trouble is you do not speak French. Solution? Become the best artist you can be where you are. Learn French for that someday you move there after you become a famous artist.

This formula works for lots of things. People tell me that they can’t quit drinking or drugging because of the neighborhood they live in like there is somewhere that you can move where there is no drugs and alcohol. Work on what you can change and do not blame where you are for your defects. It also helps if you are working on changing the place you find yourself in.

Expecting things to go your way.

Life does not always go the way we want it to. People who create a happy, successful life do not always get everything they want. Actually, the happiest people may have had the most to overcome. Develop the ability to bounce back no matter what happens and eventually things will start looking up.

Thinking someone is your missing part.

Two sick people can’t make a healthy relationship. I am not talking about physical or even mental illness here. People who struggle with challenges in life can learn ways to be the best people they can be. Do not expect to find a perfect person to complete you. Become the best person possible and you will attract the kind of people you want into your life.

Unhappy people tend to jump into relationships thinking it is the other person’s job to make them happy. Before long they are feeling angry and hurt, that other person let them down.

Right fighting.

You can waste a lot of your life insisting that you are right even when you are wrong. Let other people have their opinions. When others are wrong, let them be wrong. Believe me, in life you will have lots of chances when you stop at rest points to look back and see the places you went wrong. Let others have that same opportunity. You do not always need to be right. You do need to understand why others do not agree with you.

Focusing on what others think about you.

Some people will like you and some won’t. What others think about you is really none of your concern. The more you do in life the more you will be criticized. If you do nothing you will still be criticized.

Do the best you can. But do not do it for the acclaim of others. There will always be some people around you that you can’t please no matter what. Accept they are the way they are and work on you. Consider the feedback of others but do not let them determine your goals, values, or your self-esteem.

Believing you have to be perfect.

There are no perfect humans. We all make errors. It is required to make errors in life. Learn from your errors but be gentle with yourself. Trying to be perfect is like trying to push the mountain out of your way using brute force. It will never happen. Set a more realistic goal. Be the best you can. Learn and practice your skills but also accept the inevitability of your errors. Making errors does not make you bad, it makes you human.

Trying to drive while looking in the rearview mirror.

An occasional glance back in the mirror can be helpful. It is good to see how far you have come. But if you are stuck in the past always looking back for the good old days you let life’s today’s slip by you headed for the past with no living done.

Past pain may have left scars but it does not mean that you need to continue to live in that pain.

Being afraid to watch the movie because you do not know how it will end.

Life is full of surprises. You have to try things. Some will turn out well and some will be – you know – another learning experience. Sure you should take into account the risks in life but do not let the uncertainties of life keep you from living.

The best endings in life, as in the movies, are often surprises. You can’t take all the risk out of life without taking out a lot of moments that will take your breath away.

Worrying about the future instead of preparing.

Worry by itself does not change anything. Trying to anticipate all the things that could go wrong leaves you helpless and anxious. Plan for the future knowing that things you did not foresee can always happen. Worry keeps you stuck in the problem. Prepare for the possibilities and then live life.

Being afraid to get off the beaten path.

The great rewards in life often fall to those who took a new path. Invent something, go somewhere new, and try something you have never done to get the most out of life. The conventional path is often the boring one. Be the real you.

Letting fear keep you from doing things keeps you from growth. We learn best when exposed to things we never knew existed. What could you do if you could do anything? What would you be if all possible states of being were open to you?

Putting off your dreams until someday.

There is no someday. It is always today. You are living your life preparing for what will be. Enjoy the journey of life or you will regret the end. Dream big or dream small but continue to dream and then make those dreams a reality. The hugest of dreams can begin with small, day by day actions. Someday may never come but you will always have today. Make today the day that good things happen in your life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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