Do you ever feel like nothing ever goes right for you? Maybe you always choose the wrong men, have trouble maintaining friendships, or keep finding yourself unfulfilled at work no matter how often you change jobs?
When we find ourselves repeating unfulfilling patterns, it can often seem as if we’re stuck there – and the result can leave us feeling frustrated and hopeless. However behind those negative patterns lies the real culprit – a hidden belief in some type of limitation.
Evaluate your underlying thoughts regarding the area of the pattern. Beliefs are extremely powerful. That’s why it’s important to take some time to look at them closer. Sometimes we may discover that someone’s well intentioned advice may be steering us in the wrong direction. For example, if your mother always told you that “you can’t trust men” then that thought – or belief – may be an active player in all of your relationships. While good ol’ mom was most likely trying to save you from heartache, the seeds of an underlying belief were born. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’re expecting someone you can’t trust, and guess who shows up? Someone you can’t trust.
The good thing is – thoughts can be changed. In fact, once we discover that a negative belief is actually hurting us, we are gifted with the motivation to make the desired changes.
Step into your own empowerment. You have a choice. You can either be reactionary, simply reacting to every random occurrence that comes your way – or you can choose to be proactive and consciously decide to create your reality through setting intentions, outlining realistic goals and regularly evaluating your progress. By taking control of your own destiny, you can finally say goodbye a victim mentality once and for all.
But how do we actually change a negative belief into a healthier one – and actually believe it?
Reframe thoughts in a way that is positive, yet realistic. Nobody’s expecting you to put blinders on. That would be unrealistic and possible even dangerous. But we can expand our thought processes to include the notion of hope. A functional reframe of “You can’t trust men,” might be something like “Yes, I’ve been hurt in the past, but I know that not all men are like my ex’s.” If you’re really feeling ambitious you can even up that ante a bit with a positive affirmation like “despite it all, I still believe in love.” If you get what you expect – then you’re now aiming in the right direction.
However, even once we start to see improvement in our thoughts and outcomes, there will be opportunities to fall back into our old traps. Remember, this is a test! Your newfound skills will be tested in order to ensure mastery. The key to success will lie in taking a different approach.
Use the principle of Opposite Action. Consciously choose to broaden your choice points, move out of your comfort zone, and do things differently then you have in the past. This might mean dating someone who wouldn’t have previously been on your radar. By increasing the possibilities you’re increasing the odds that the outcome will be in your favor. It’s simple mathematics!
If you have become aware of your own negative life patterns, yet are finding it hard to change limiting beliefs, please know that you don’t have to do it alone. Through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and a host of other therapeutic strategies, counselors are trained to find the perfect approach for you. Isn’t it nice to know that resources are plentiful? What are you waiting for? Take charge of your life today and contact a counselor near you. In just a few short sessions they can offer you the tools to break free from unfulfilling patterns, once and for all.
Marci Wise, MA, RMHCI, is a motivational author and mental health counselor accepting clients in the Fort Myers/Naples Florida area. To schedule an appointment please call 239-689-3086 or visit marciwise.com.