People excel at lying to themselves, and they do it all the time. It’s one of the most pervasive forms of self-sabotage there is. But if you take a moment to answer the question of what you think of yourself, your answer isn’t likely to be positive; and if it is, you might just want to dig a little deeper.
Unfortunately, you may tend to ignore your personal conclusions, whether they’re as simple as “I don’t matter” or as dramatic as “I have no reason to live.” But these are nothing more than negative mantras whose tattered banners have hung over you for so long that you’ve forgotten that you’re the one who hung them in the first place. Take, for example, the common self-sabotaging statement, “I’m such a loser.”
You’ve told yourself this for so long that whenever something bad happens, you fall into the same trap of self-criticism. “What the hell is wrong with me?” you ask yourself. “Why am I always screwing things up?” Now, imagine that you live with this mindset your entire life, as far too many people do. No wonder positive thinking does nothing: It’s up against a behemoth of doubt.
One of the most liberating things to realize about life is that no more effort is required to live a terrible one than a great one. Your choice in that regard can have a profound effect on your interactions with others. Just as you think you have yourself figured out, you may find yourself making broad assumptions about others and treating them accordingly.
And no wonder: Making conclusions about others gives you a feeling of security and of having everything figured out enough to make sense of life. If you conclude that you’ll never be good enough to make a name for yourself professionally, your social conclusion might be that people care only about advancing themselves and not others. Do you see the irony here? Another doozy you may often tell yourself is, “Life isn’t fair.”
Like the other conclusions, this one can — and does — have a detrimental effect on how you approach setbacks. Think of the last time something in life threw you for a loop; you’ve most likely filed it away in that overstuffed drawer labeled “INEVITABILITIES.” But take stock of those reactions and see them for what they are: the grandest self-sabotage of them all. Is this how you want to live?
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