“We all talk to ourselves. A major key to success exists in what we say to ourselves, which helps to shape our attitude and mindset.”
— Darren Johnson
The biggest obstacles in our lives are the ones we create. Our thoughts and our internal voices are powerful. More powerful than we realize. It directs our behavior, our attitudes, our intentions, and even our interactions. Ultimately, it determines whether we regress or make progress, go up or come crashing down, fail or succeed.
At every point in life, it is much easier to give in to lies, false realities, fantasy thoughts, delusions, illusions and magical thinking. The truth is, we don’t have to really do anything for these types of thoughts to creep in. And if we leave the doorway of our lives unguarded and unchecked, false ideas will pour in, wreak havoc in our minds and keep us back from obtaining the life we always wanted.
Here are 12 things we tell ourselves that are completely false and what the truth is instead:
1. I’m not good enough.
The truth is, you are as good as you want to be. Your ability is not determined by comparing it to someone else’s ability. You have unique skills and talents that are unlike anyone else’s. Telling yourself that you are not good enough only serves to make you less likely to recover after failure. You cannot belittle yourself into a better version of yourself. Nobody can do what you do better than you can do it because no one else is you.
2. I didn’t have a good childhood.
The truth is, there are many people who could point to a certain situation or person in their childhood as the reason they can’t do or achieve something. At a certain point, however, you have to grow up and accept the fact that your past may not have been as beautiful as you would have liked for it to be, but you cannot control that. You only have the present and the future in your grip. Your upbringing should be a point of reference not an object of blame.
3. I have to be perfect.
The truth is, if perfection were attainable, most of us would still fail at getting there. Perfection is not an achievable goal nor a healthy or worthwhile one. You are not your mistakes, instead, your mistakes are part of who you are. We probably would never realize how resilient and strong we are or learn the valuable lessons that we have learned without failing at one point or another. Sometimes we blow it for a reason and if nothing else, it reminds us that we’re not perfect.
4. I don’t have a good life.
The truth is, we make our lives what we want it to be. The choices we make, the attitudes and behaviors we display, the perceptions and perspectives we take, and the things we do and don’t do all help to determine what kind of life we live. The life we live is up to us. If we choose to have a good life, we will do those things that will give us such a life. If you don’t want to live a good life which I assume there are one or two sad souls who don’t, then I can’t help you.
5. I have a life that is harder than others.
The truth is, everyone faces adversity, challenges, crisis, hard times. You really don’t have a harder life than anyone else; it is just that your problems are enlarged because they are yours. If you were to step outside of yourself for a minute or a day, you will begin to discover that there are many people who are far worse off than you. Strangely, difficulty is what helps us to learn and grow, and we wouldn’t be able to do this any other way.
6. I have so many problems; if I stick my head in the sand, it’ll go away.
The truth is, nothing could be further from the truth, actually. Magical thinking and procrastination only help us avoid difficult problems and harsh realities for a temporary time. The problems are still there because they have never been solved. After a while, however, the problems get so big that you are forced to deal with it. Reality catches up with you in your fantasy race and pulls you back by the seat of your pants. You cannot permanently put away what you will not deeply deal with.
7. I am too young or too old.
The truth is, C.S. Lewis said it best, “you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Age is almost never a determining factor in achievement. It is the will and the want-to that matters. If you put your mind to it and have the passion in your heart for it, you can accomplish anything no matter how young or old you are.
8. I am just this way.
The truth is, statements like “I am just this way” or “This is just the way I am” are usually cop-outs for not wanting to do the hard work of improving in one area or another. We should never use such statements as excuses for bad behavior. It is easier just to flow with the water when the water is flowing down-stream, but it is the uphill climb that will have the most significance. Be willing to change when it is necessary.
9. I don’t judge other people.
The truth is, it is part of our psychological nature to judge people. We all do it. The thing about judging people is that most of the time, we’re not really judging someone else, but judging ourselves. We’re seeing how we measure up to the rest of the players on the field in the game of life. Many of the biases, stereotypes, and perceptions that we pass off on other people are really a reflection of how we see ourselves.
10. I don’t have any control.
The truth is, you always have control. It is a matter of whether you will use it. You may not be able to control some situations, but you can control yourself. How do you respond and react to negative circumstances and people? Do you take responsibility for yourself and your actions? Are you helpful to others? Believing you don’t have control too is usually a cop-out for being responsible. You have as much control as you want to take.
11. I don’t have enough time.
The truth is, time is the same for all people in all parts of the world. It is how you choose to use your time that ultimately determines whether you are wasting it or being productive with it. We all have enough time. The question we should be asking is whether we are dedicated enough, committed enough, hard working enough to accomplish our goals in the time we have been given.
12. I can’t do anything because I don’t know the next step.
The truth is, you will never know what the next step is until you take the step right in front of you. Uncertainty is all around us and it is one of the beautiful and horrifying things about life. Not knowing is often emboldened when we need to make a big decision or accomplish a big goal. Have faith and trust that you will get there. But don’t sit around doing nothing because you don’t have the light you want for the next step.
“It isn’t what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it’s what we say to ourselves about what happens.”
— Pema Chodron