A lot of us suffer from irrational thinking which can affect our lives in a dramatic way. It can seperate the successful people in life from the unsuccessful ones, it can mean the difference between loving someone and hating someone, it can be the difference between peace and war. All wars, Yes I mean ALL, are caused by irrational thinking.
In this post I will look at seven common irrational thoughts and hopefully if you suffer from irrational thinking it will help you to change.
1. If someone criticises me there must be something wrong with me
There are many reasons why people criticise each other but it does not mean there is something wrong with you if they do criticise you. It means they have a differing opinion to you which is fantastic as without differing opinions in the world it would be a terrible place to live.
2. I must always seek approval in order to feel good about myself
Many people have thought this at one time or another in their lives, however it becomes damaging when it is an entrenched belief. There is no way you can please everybody all the time so there is no point in even trying. Seek approval from yourself and if you’re happy and feel good that’s all that matters. Yes it’s nice to have other people’s opinions but don’t go out of the way to please other people.
3. I won’t try anything new unless I know I will be good at it
Many people suffer from these types of thoughts. Trying new things in your life is a way for you to grow and learn more about yourself. You don’t have to be good at everything in your life but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy new experiences even if you are not good at them.
4. It’s not my fault my life didn’t go the way I wanted
I have news for you; it is your fault. This doesn’t make you bad and it doesn’t mean you are a failure. You have control over your thoughts and therefore your actions. You thoughts and actions will determine your life. If you constantly blame others for the way your life has turned out you have given all your power away to other people. Take the control back and take responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
5. I am inferior to everyone else
That’s just the way you feel, which doesn’t make it true. You have qualities that nobody else can touch and other people have qualities that you can’t touch. Recognising your strengths will build your self confidence recognising others strengths will build their self confidence but don’t put yourself down when recognising that somebody else is better than you at something.
6. I was rejected which means there is something wrong with me
This is over generalising like the person who was rejected in a relationship, they think it always happens to them and they must somehow be unworthy of love. People reject others due to differing ideals, just like you do, but it doesn’t mean you are in any way unworthy it just means your ideals don’t match someone else’s ideals.
7. If I feel happy about life something will go wrong
Another common irrational thought. You deserve all the happiness you make for yourself; your past is your past, if there are still issues lurking from your past that is blocking you to feel happy about today speak to someone about it. Do not tinge your present and future thoughts with bad memories or else your present and future thoughts will get infected and your life will always stay the same.
How to stop your irrational thoughts
Simple! Just catch yourself every time you have an irrational thought or self defeating thought and replace the wording of your internal thought. For example:
You are driving on a beautiful day and a bird decides to shit on your car. You might think:
“that always happens to me, why do they always shit on my car”
“It’s about time I got the car washed”.
Look for the keywords in there “always”, this is an untruth. If birds always shit on his car his car would be floating in the stuff. So catch yourself with untrue statements such as:
“always” e.g. I always get caught in the rain (If that were true you’d be a fish)
“I never……………………” e.g. “I can never get a parking space.” (If that were true you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere in your car without stopping).
“I couldn’t……” e.g. “I couldn’t walk a mile” (have you tried?).
“I’m hopeless at……………”e.g. “Oh, I am hopeless at talking in a group.” (usually said whilst talking to a group of friends).
“It’s terrible……” e,g. “Isn’t it terrible that it’s raining?” (Eh! No, it’s not terrible).
There are a lot more irrational thoughts out there and you have to be conscious to catch yourself thinking them. I hope this article helps you to catch your irrational thoughts and brings your life into perspective.