Today we are looking at 7 common thinking habits that distort reality and your image of yourself. These habits can be very damaging to not only your sense of self-esteem but also how you view your world, the opportunities you pursue and how you allow yourself to grow and have success.
So let’s look at these destructive thought habits, how they work and how you can overcome each habit.
By just reading about these common thought distortions you take the first step towards overcoming them.
You gain awareness about what they are, perhaps you see which ones that you are most often plagued by and by just keeping those distortions that are common for you in mind you can catch yourself when your mind throws one of them at you.
7 Common Thinking Habits That Are Killing Your Confidence
1. Negative World Views
Do you see the good on your world or the bad? There is always both good and bad in every situation and how your feeling will determine what you see first.
Conquer It: Recognize your negative thinking and ask yourself what the positives of the situation are.
Try these to start: What is good about this memory or situation? What can I learn from this? What is the opportunity in this situation?
2. Labeling Yourself
This is when you put labels on yourself like loser, failure, stupid, or ugly.
Conquer It: Question it instead of accepting it blindly just because that is what your inner critic and perhaps people have told you for years or years ago. Then use more accurate language instead of just slapping a simple label on yourself or someone else. By being accurate you can raise your self-esteem and find the real, smaller and specific issue you may want to work on to improve.
3. Accepting Unjust Blame
Always accepting unjustified blame kills our self confidence. Its hard to stop thinking everything negative that happens is your fault and apologizing for everything, even when someone else make the mistake.
Conquer It: Ask yourself if this really something that you have done or had control over?
Take responsibility for yourself and what you do. And let other people do the same. It may at first make you feel less important but on the other hand you’ll create less misery for yourself too.
4. All or Nothing
This is when you think you control the whole universe. Or that everyone but you have control and are in charge.
If you think you control the universe then for instance you feel responsible for every guest at your party having a good time. If you think you have no control then you feel like there is nothing you can do to improve your life. Trying feels pointless.
Conquer It: Say stop to your inner critic.
Then be constructive. Don’t drag yourself down with dwelling on an issue.
Instead ask yourself: What can I do to overcome or solve this situation? Who can I ask for help? Where can I find information that will help me to solve this problem?
By being constructive you don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis but start moving forward to a solution instead. And that feels a whole lot better than being stuck.
If you feel like you have little or no control then it can help to try to calm down a bit. One good way to do that is to focus on your breathing. Just deeply breathe with your belly. Focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a few minutes. This calms the body and mind down and makes it easier to then think constructively.
If you feel like you control the universe then ask yourself: is this really something that I have done or I have control over?
This is when you build up a nightmare scenario of how everything could go totally wrong in some situations and imagine a big catastrophe in your mind.
You may have a presentation tomorrow and your mind starts to pull up a scenario where you have left your notes at home, you make a fool of yourself, you are embarrassed in front of the whole company and your boss yells at you for 20 minutes after the meeting.
Conquer It: Take a few deep breaths to calm down.
Then think back to your past. How many times in the past have these catastrophe scenarios that your mind throws at you actually become reality? Never or very few times I would imagine. That has certainly been the case for me.
So say stop, calm yourself down and look to the past to calm that nervous mind and remind yourself of the actual facts from the past.
When we feel that we can sense what people are thinking about us we often are misinterpreting tiny things that mean nothing. We then can take these misinterpretations and turn them into a very real thing.
If you think that your boss doesn’t like you every time you have a meeting or encounter you may start to behave and use words that conveys that fictitious relationship you have to him or her in your mind.
And so the boss that may have liked you or been pretty neutral to you can start to play his or her part too and start to dislike you because you are behaving in a weird way or a way that can bring out the dislike.
Conquer It: Tell yourself you cannot read minds. Focus on the facts. Write down the facts of the situation on paper to help when your mind is spinning.
Overgeneralizing is when you use words like never, always, everyone and no-one attached to your thoughts. You may think that nobody thinks you are funny or that everybody makes more money than you.
You see life in white and black.
Conquer It: Only use language based in facts and reality rather than put downs on yourself work well for several of these self-esteem sucking thought habits.
Whenever you notice that these habits are creeping back into your mind use the conquer it solutions in this lesson.
Then remember to recognize the facts of the situation and then tell yourself that even though negative things happen -“ I am still a good person” or “nevertheless, I still have a core of unconditional worth no matter what happened today” or “nevertheless, I still have many wonderful qualities and my own unique worth”.
That usually works to shift your mood and mind in a more positive direction and by repeating thoughts like these to yourself you will strengthen your awareness of your own core worth.
That last part is important because even if you still somewhere know you have that worth you have remind yourself of it over and over to bring it more quickly to the forefront of your mind on both good and bad days.
Keeping that core worth in mind is habit like so many other important things in life.