The decisions and choices we make determine the direction we take in our lives, and we do so by our thoughts. Thoughts if aligned with our goals and with what we want to achieve can take us forward—and, obviously, this is the direction most of us want to take. But many times, we go in the opposite direction because of various negative factors. We must be able to Identify and get these thoughts working for us,
Instead of they moving us away from our goals and shifting our direction. With conscious effort, we can correct their alignment by making them more harmonious with our desires and get these thoughts work for us and not against.
Your thoughts have huge influence on the choices you make.
We are all engaged in a continuous internal dialogue in which the meaning and emotional associations of one thought triggers the next, without we being consciously aware of the process. We launch our desires in the form of a thought and they are an important part of our inner wisdom. A thought held long enough and repeated enough becomes a belief. We shape our lives by the choices made around these beliefs and build our identity without even realising it. Every choice you’ve made – the big or small ones – have lead you to this moment in your life. We contribute towards the creation of every condition in our lives with our internal thought process influencing us. But when we get involved in negative emotions and feelings, we begin to compare, criticise, form opinions, and we fall out of tune, and tend to make wrong choices thereby making them work against to what we want to achieve.
Your thoughts have consequences
Everything that has or had not happened in your life is because of the choices you have made so far and your thoughts play a major role. Our mind has a tendency to dwell on the past or stress about the future and can often cause us more confusion and stress leading to negative and stressful thoughts. When your mind is untrained, it can lead you to a negative path based on past memories and perceptions. More negative thoughts, more are the chances of making bad choices and this can further sabotage your efforts of creating the life you would dream of. It is simple fact that positive thoughts lead to better choices and thus to a positive life. Negativity leads to limited and wrong choices,
You are the creator of your thoughts
You are the only person who is in charge of your thoughts. You get to have whatever you choose to think. So rather than trying to stop thinking, it is important to train yourself to a habit of thinking the sort of thoughts you want which help you make better choices. By changing your thoughts you can change your reality. According to science, our brain is highly flexible and have the ability to reset its circuit through what we choose to focus our thoughts on. You have the power to use your thoughts to rewire your brain to positive pathways.
Why is it important to get your thoughts working for you
We say we want to be happy, but we make choices that bring us the opposite. It’s your choices that create your experiences.
“ your mind is a tool you can choose to use any way you wish.”
If you believe that you can change a thought, then your choice of this thought will make it true for you.
Your thoughts are shaped by your memories, your goals, your desires, your beliefs that makes you who you are. But your thoughts can’t always be trusted as some of them might be created by your negativity of emotions and feelings. For instance, you might want things to be, rather than accepting whatever might happen when you put forth your best effort. You get frustrated because you are attached to how you want them to be, rather than accepting them as they are. You might choose to procrastinate, as you are attached to things being easy and comfortable rather than accepting that to do something, you have to push into discomfort and so on.
Acquiring a positive mental attitude can:
Free you from your negative self
By making positive choices you precisely free yourself from all the negativity inhabiting your mind. Negative thoughts and choices prevent you from making a step forward because they make you feel incapable of doing something. You surrender to them each time and never consider going against them. This makes you take poor and limited choices. With positive thinking, you can liberate yourself from negativity rooted inside you.
Open up different possibilities
Negativity compels you to behave in a specified manner and you tend to restrict yourself from taking action as you are frightened of certain outcome. Hence, you cannot go beyond that outcome and cannot increase your possibilities. Your mind gets conditioned to see the bleak side of thing. By making your thoughts positive, you can see different possibilities and resolve a situation in the best possible manner.
Help in self-empowerment
Positive thinking empowers you by identifying your unique skill set and talents which otherwise you would have never explored due to your negative thoughts and choices. Positive thinking boosts your confidence to find out what you are good at and helps you make good choices. You can refine your raw talents and make them help you to achieve your goals.
How to get your thoughts working for you
“ you are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” – Zig Ziglar
A positive thought process can help you focus on the positive and productive by shutting out the negative and unrewarding. Choose your thoughts to take yourself from where you are to where you want to be. Acknowledge and transform your negative thoughts and get them aligned with your goals and not against.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to reinforce your positive thoughts and choices.
Stop blaming your past, or people for how your life is. Nobody has a perfect life and many have lived through bad phases. You cannot change your past, however you can choose to change how you feel about it and how you allow it to affect you. Don’t choose to hang on to your old story as your excuse for how awful your life is right now. You don’t have to blame yourself for negative experiences. Let go of all guilt, blame and do not hate yourself for having negative thoughts. Learn from these experiences and use them to build you up to take you towards your goals.
Challenge your negative thoughts
Identify your negative thoughts and challenge as to how realistic your current concerns are and their logic. Test the illogical thoughts. Analyse how likely each of those thing is to actually happen and how you would deal with the problem if it were to occur. You need to keep reinforcing positive thoughts. This will open up your possibilities. “When the negative weeds grow, pluck them out as quickly as you can.”
At the same time do not punish yourself for making negative choices, you’ll find it difficult to let them go and move on to more positive choices.
Avoid being delusional
“Your life is a result of the choices you make. If you don’t like your life, it is time to start making better choices.”
If you don’t like the choices that have gotten you up to this point, face the truth and identify what isn’t working in your life. Take a step back and figure out why. Do not delude yourself that things are going to get better to make you happy. Don’t fall victim to fake hope syndrome by setting unrealistic expectations and making frequent attempts to change them.
Practice positive mental diet
When you feed your mind with positive affirmations, information, conversations, books and thoughts, you develop a more positive attitude and can make positive choices. ‘Good-in, Good-out.’ When you make a clear decision to eliminate negativity, you can choose to make positive choices that make you more capable and competent. A positive mind keepe the thoughts in sync with your goals, plans and dreams.
If you want something different from what you have right now, then you have to do something different from what you’re doing. If you want others to treat you differently, start yourself treating differently. Stop complaining and start taking responsibility for the way things are in your life. If you want different outcomes, make different choices. Desires and goals can produce anxiety, stress, and competitiveness and you need to recognise those that do. you can choose to rearrange your thoughts to make the situation better instead of wasting time in complaining.
Practice positive self-talk
Just because you say you want something different or better, your inner being is not going to go along with you. What you believe about yourself and your worthiness or ability to have what you want is important. It is important to build self-worth and value in yourself because when you feel not good enough, you choose ways to keep yourself miserable, choose to procrastinate, and might opt for unhealthy food choicesnand habits. Positive self-talk is programming yourself to change. Using positive affirmations and positive statements to control your inner dialoguelets you make better choices.
In mindfulness, you will essentially be looking at your own thoughts and can assess them. Be persistent in giving yourself few quite moments each day to reflect on your process of change. Become aware of negative thoughts and nurture the willingness to let go of them.
Nourish and affirm your intentions to keep you on track and enable you to meet your goals.
Finally, take full responsibility for where you are currently in life. If you’re not happy with what you have today and make a choice right now to make a change in your life by changing the way you think in order to make your thoughts work for you. Recognise the power of the freedom of will which allows you to change anything that you do not agree with.
“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.” —Stephen Covey
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” – Iyanla Vanzant
Do you ever wonder why you are unable to accomplish your full potential. May be it is due to your inner critic who is constantly scrutinising and criticising your every action. This lowers your self-esteem and self-worth both which are essential for you to achieve your goals. Without these, your talents, skills, knowledge and intelligence can go untapped.
In today’s world, increasing competitiveness has led to a lot of achievement anxiety. Many suffer from dissatisfied selves and they often fear being left hopelessly behind. We begin to torture ourselves with thoughts about our inadequacies, starting from our appearances to the work we do to the success we achieve. This leads to people practice a habit of disesteeming. So how does one unlearn the practice of lowering their self-esteem and confidence?
Unlearning disesteeming can happen with learning to develop self-appreciation.
Importance of Self-appreciation
Self-appreciation is accepting yourself without the conditions of being perfect or attaining personal summit of any sort. This is a process of understanding your own value, and accepting what is real about yourself and what you want to do and what you want to be. By learning to appreciate yourself you receive positive reinforcements which further improves your self-esteem.
All of us nearly lose touch with our innate goodness and fail to love and appreciate ourselves. We cover it up with or come under the shadow of people’s opinions and expectations out of us. So, as a result we feel only partly deserving and begin to berate ourselves. If your mind is obsessed by thoughts of insecurity and inadequacy, it is due to the fact that such things have dominated your thinking for a long period of time. Deep within you begin to mistrust your ability to grasp opportunities and to meet responsibilities.
How deserving you are mostly depends on what you believe you deserve and only to the degree that you appreciate your inner worthiness. Success involves talent, effort and creativity, but first of all it requires self-confidence. Self-appreciation is sum of your overall sense of value, worth, goodness and deservedness and so is the measure of your confidence.
You need to learn how to start appreciating yourself and learn to give credit for strengths you possess. It is very essential to reappraise your self-esteem.
Here are some toxic thoughts you can eliminate in order to grow your self-appreciation and self-esteem.
Stop criticising yourself
If we tell ourselves that we are okay, no matter what is going on, we can make changes in our lives easily. It is when we make ourselves bad that we have great difficulty. When we get in the habit of judging ourselves, we lower our self-worth and feel not good enough. We find ways to keep ourselves miserable. We create illnesses, we procrastinate things that would benefit us. We fail to recognise our uniqueness when we get critical of ourselves and obscure it.
Your self-love must not be dependent upon you being perfect. Self-criticism might lead to more negative behaviour. Stop judging your own mistakes so harshly. Do not make the opinions of others more important than your own opinion of yourself. Tell yourself you are wonderful and praise yourself quite often.
“The things you don’t like about yourself don’t make you any less acceptable. Everyone has things they don’t like about themselves. No one is perfect. Learn to work with yourself and not against yourself. Learn to work with the parts of yourself you don’t like as much.”
⁃ Akiroq Brost
Stop being unkind to yourself
You need not hate yourself for having negative thoughts. Don’t blame yourself for negative experiences. Being kind to yourself means you stop all the blame and guilt. We all come under constant pressure of being perfectionists. Difficulties and problems tend to sap energy and we tend to yield lot of self-hate.
When you love and trust yourself, you are loving and trusting the wisdom that created you. If you are unkind to yourself, you are not trusting the wisdom that created you and you begin to develop a pessimistic view of world around you. This creates an obstacle that will inhibit your sense of self-appreciation. Begin to develop an optimistic view and appreciate your abilities. It is important to recognise that your view of things around you is based on how much you are kind to yourself and respect you have for yourself.
When you think that a bad situation is going to end up far worse than it actually is, you are catastrophising. In a way, you are blowing things out of proportion expecting worst out of life and out of many situations.
Scaring yourself with frightful thoughts makes situations worse than they are. Some do this when they are ill often visualising the worst. Some do this with their job. For instance, someone makes a remark at work, they think they are going to be fired. This leads to paralysing thoughts and leads to low self-esteem. Focus on your inner talk and match them with your desires and not with your fright.
When you are tensed and frightened, we shut off our energy. Take few minutes and allow the body and the mind to let go and relax. At any moment, practice taking few deep breaths. Appreciate yourself and affirm that you don’t have to go through life tense and frightened.
Stop negative self-talk
Negative self-talk refers to having negative image of yourself. Every time you say negative things to yourself you are appraising your negative self image. If you repeatedly think negative about yourself, you hold yourself back from having what you want. Very little you can do to better your situation with continued negativity.
Many negatively self-talk themselves out of success. They do this because of some difficulties or it is because they remember somebody talking down to them from their past. Every time a negative thought appears, switch it out with positive. Affirm that you deserve success and remove self-doubt and self-judgment. Unconditionally love yourself and begin with self-acceptance and self-love. Listen to your inner dialogue. Recognise negative self-talk and choose not to engage in it. Expel all thoughts of doubt and all lack of confidence.
“Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.” – Denis Waitley
Stop visualising negative outcomes
If you set out to do something, keep a solid picture of the completed work you are doing. You can create a clear, positive image that enhances a positive outcome. Formulate a mental picture of yourself succeeding. Never think of yourself failing. Doubting the reality of the mental image lowers your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Whenever a negative thought appears, deliberately cancel it out with a positive. Do not build obstacles in your imagination by expecting negative outcomes. Minimise your obstacles so as to eliminate them. Always picture yourself of succeeding no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment. Mentally visualising and affirming your positives and emphasising them lets you rise out of any difficulty and leads to positive outcome.
Finally, fill your mind with peaceful and loving thoughts. Develop a loving attitude towards yourself. Feelings of self-love, self-appreciation and confidence depend upon the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Practice self-appreciation by making it a dominating habit. This develops confidence in your abilities regardless of what difficulties arise and you will be able to overcome them. Improved self-esteem disempowers your fears and insecurities.
To sum up—If you can be satisfied with yourself now, you can love and approve of yourself and begin to love and accept others as well.
“ The more you connect to the power within you. The more you can be free in all areas of your life.”
“To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.”
So many of us hide from ourselves and we don’t even know who we truly are. We don’t know what we feel, we don’t know what we want.
Consciousness is essential to know who we are and to leave our limited thinking and beliefs behind for a bigger and cosmic view of life.
What is consciousness?
To be conscious is to go within and know who and what we really are, and to know that we have the ability to change for the better and recognise the power within. Being conscious is to live without fear, judgement, blame, and guilt.
Total awareness breaks the bondage that is rooted in our unconsciousness. It is the freedom to be the real you.
Why is it important to be conscious?
Conscious people own their commitments by owning their results. They experience what is here and now and are not trapped in old patterns.
Unconscious people are cut off from an authentic experience of themselves and people around. They are more reactive about the past or an imagined future and their ego or mind takes over. They lack creative impulse and tend to live out of familiar patterns again and again when fear or anger kicks them into reactivity.
Most of us live life unconsciously in the habitual nature of our personality and live in regret and anger because of the past and in fear about the future.
“A candid and pragmatic assessment and acceptance of ourselves and our abilities and limitations is essential for our well-being.”
Often a single black line serves as an important model for the measure of your consciousness. At any point, you are either above the line or below the line.
The conscious beings are above the line. They are open, curious and are always committed to learning. They have the ability to tell themselves the truth. Below the line can be attributed to closed, defensive, and are committed to being right. Distortion and denial are the traits of unconscious beings.
When we perceive a threat to our sense of well-being, we go below the line, we don’t choose this consciously, we get defensive, limited and insist on being right. Whenever we are given feedback about our work or how we are perceived, we interpret it as a threat to our identity and tend to go below the line by being right instead of learning. Our ego firmly believes that if it is not right, it will not survive.
When we develop self-awareness and locate ourselves accurately where we stand, is it above or below, creates a possibility to shift from an unconscious being to conscious. By choosing consciousness, we shift from being closed to open, defensive to curious, wanting to be right to wanting to learn, and from fighting to survive to living with trust.
Here are four states of consciousness. Becoming aware of which state you are in and where you stand as to above or below the line, helps you to shift from being unconscious to consciousness.
The “TO ME” Awareness
This state of consciousness is synonymous with being below the line. We all spend most our time in this state. In ‘To Me’ consciousness, you see yourself “at the effect of” meaning you believe that the external conditions are responsible for your unhappiness, failure and insecurities. This makes you question “Why is this happening to me?” that is, you pin the cause of your well-being on external factors.
“To Me” mindset leads to ‘victim consciousness’ in which you are constantly looking to the past to assign blame for the current experience and this in a way disempowers you as you invest more in being right and thus makes you defensive and you experience very little control.
Key to change this mindset is to take responsibility for whatever is occurring in your life, owning up your experience, and letting go of need to blame yourself, others, circumstances, or conditions.
“As long as you cling to the idea of the way “ life is supposed to be,” your life circumstances will continue to reflect a perspective that sees itself at the effect of circumstances beyond your control “
The “BY ME” Awareness
When we shift from below the line to above, by taking responsibility, we move from living in ‘victim consciousness’ to ‘creator consciousness’ and from being “at the effect of” to “creating with”. In this state of awareness, instead of thinking that the world should be in a certain way, we see everything in the world as perfectly unfolding for our learning and development.
“ By Me” mindset leads to creator consciousness where in you begin to understand you are the cause of your experience and you are consciously creating with people, circumstances, and conditions. This mindset empowers and generates interest and curiosity. You experience a sense of control and power.
Key to develop this awareness is to choose curiosity and learning over being right and defensive. Opening yourself through curiosity helps you learn from the difficult situations. You start asking: “What can I learn from this situation?”
The “ Through Me” Awareness
As you open up “ Through Me” consciousness, the “ Me” starts to open up to another. Curiosity you developed in “By Me” state of awareness guides you to a different mindset of how everything relates to with you being the centre of consciousness. You begin to notice something beyond yourself with a bigger purpose. You start asking : “ what is the life’s highest purpose that wants to manifest through me?”
“ Through Me” mindset lets you understand that there is “other”in addition to “me” that wants to make something manifest in and through you. Instead of figuring out, it lets you pay attention to various things that are being communicated there by improving your intuitiveness.
Key to gain this awareness is to surrender and let go of control of people, things, and circumstances. By developing an higher sense of your purpose and clear vision, you let life’s highest idea to manifest itself through you.
“ when I finally get all my ducks Ina row, I realised they’re not even my ducks.” Let go of the illusion of control.
The “AS ME” Awareness
You begin to experience “ oneness” in this consciousness. There is only one reality and it is not divided and there is no separation. You are in fact, part of the oneness of universe. Once you realise the truth of oneness and who you are, your consciousness changes dramatically.
With “As Me” awareness you realise this oneness and that you are living in a world without any separation. No separation between you and your environment or you and your competitors and so on.
Key to develop this awareness is to meditate on interdependent and interconnected nature of the universe. The strong conviction of oneness acts like an anchor that keeps you stable and prevents you from drifting.
“ To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.”
– Nhat Hanh-
The above mentioned are not stages of development. We don’t move from one stage to another, but they guide you in becoming aware of which state you are in. As you develop deeper understanding of your true self, you can choose to shift your awareness from “ at the effect of” to “creating with.” You further strive to find a higher purpose through universal oneness.
“Whatever you fear most has no power; it is your fear that has the power.”
Fear is just a loop of thoughts that you are feeding with new energy. Fear is generated mostly because of a distorted way of understanding of ourselves and the world around us. We end up creating more and more if we continue to focus our energy on them. They do not go away by just reassuring ourselves or by changing roles that deceive no one else but us.
Fears begin as feelings, beliefs based on past experiences or as expectations. Over a period of time, when there is no more space to hold these fearful thoughts in your mind, they all manifest in your body as physical tension or as certain health issues.
Fears limit your experiences. You may not fully commit to your efforts and they hold you back from achieving your full potential. To understand better let us look at some of the fears that limit your ability to accomplish your goals.
*Fear of inadequacy or not being good enough attributes to lower self confidence.
*Fear of other people lowers your ability to express yourself.
*Fear of losing or disappointments or being out of control may stop you from trying new.
*Fear of being out of control makes you avoid those ones which you have no control.
And the list goes on.
It is healthy when fear of loss helps us take steps to protect what we have worked hard for, but it is unhealthy to continue to fear something we can do nothing about.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”Jack Canfield.
Not all of our fears are specific and can be defined. They can appear as nervousness, hesitation, self doubt,or reluctance. Many of them turn into phobias. They keep multiplying unless a conscious effort is made to move past them.
Develop an understanding attitude.
Understanding the fears helps us to manage them better. The deeper your understanding, the greater it starts to dissolve the fear. Many of our fears are because of our attachment to possessions or people around us or success. For instance, When we understand that possessions are not the source of our joy or well-being, we don’t fear losing them. You don’t fear loss of money or success when you understand how money is created and you can always create more. Try to understand reasons that are holding you back. Most of the times they are made- up beliefs that are commonly associated with future events or based on past actions. Awareness reduces fear.
Accept what is.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
If you deny your fears, they remain and sabotage your dreams. When you accept what is and continue, you get to know them and this in a way weakens that which is holding you back. You cannot control your fears. By accepting and facing your fears, you will realise that whatever you feared most of the times wasn’t really that scary.
Use fear as a fuel to motivate you.
“What we resist will indeed persist. What we befriend, will transcend.”
Don’t treat fear like an enemy. Treat it like your best friend who can help you. Try and replace your fears with love and power. Don’t let fear take over as this leads to self sabotage. Bring in the power within to overcome that is holding you back. Fear need not be an adversary. Make it as your guide and adviser. Fearlessness can be a powerful weapon against self doubt and low self confidence.
Use action habit to cure fear.
By taking decisive action or doing what you fear makes the fear disappear. Fear makes you psychologically uncomfortable just as pain does physically.
It is very essential to know when and where you should let fear guide you to take care and when you should choose not take risks. You can push through psychological fears such as fear of other people, shame, embarrassment, or rejection and so on as they are subjective and there is no risk of physical danger. But in case of physical fears, where there is a risk of physical injury, it is better to take precautions and not to take foolish risks.
Do not feed your fears.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
Fears feed on our insecurities, feelings of loss, inadequacy and attachments. Don’t feed much energy to the negative thoughts that come and go. It is easy to do if you simply refuse to recall your negative and self depreciating thoughts. The unpleasant thoughts and fears will gradually disappear as you develop competence.
Don’t let fears capitalise on your opportunities. Accept and get past them. Take action by directing your thoughts towards your goals, passion, joy, and abundance.