Updated: Feb 11, 2021
When we think about why we don’t feel joyful, it’s easy to name the external factors -- everything happening to us. However, when we change our perspective, we often discover negative self-talk happening within us that’s dampening our joyfulness.
Our thoughts and words are powerful. We can build our confidence up with words of affirmation and self-encouragement. We can also tear down our self-esteem with destructive and demoralizing thoughts. Our thoughts and negative words can leave us hopeless.
The first step toward restoration is awareness of your thoughts. Here are four stinking ways of thinking that are stealing your joy and chipping away at your confidence:
1. “I used to be...”
We often make comparisons between who we think we are now and some version of who we think we used to be. Often, this is with our younger years. In these moments, we tend to magnify the positive qualities of our former selves and focus on what we’re lacking in the present moment. This type of thinking discredits our present experience and fantasizes our past, making us forgetful of the journey in between -- all of the struggles we’ve endured and hurdles we’ve overcome to get to where we are now.
When you encounter this type of thinking, practice gratitude. Reflect on your life and all you are grateful for, whether it be your friendships; personal strengths and skill sets; some small miracle; moments of healing and restoration; or simply taking your next breath. Embrace who you are in this moment and remember -- you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
2. “If only I were…if only I could be...”
Sometimes we attempt to escape our present realities by fast forwarding into the future. We compare ourselves with who we wish we were or want to be. This comparison with our ideal selves slowly chips away at our confidence; and we feel disappointed when we don’t live up to our own expectations.
When this type of thinking creeps in, learn the secret to being content in any and every situation. Quickly welcome the road to “becoming” and enjoy the journey getting from here to there. Remember to be gracious with yourself while working on your personal development and growth.
3. “They’re more…than I am.”
Be mindful not to engage in an unhealthy pattern of comparing yourself to others. We devalue our own self-worth by propping up people we admire on pedestals and wishing we were more like them. This thinking is one-dimensional as it praises the positive qualities we see in others without acknowledging the full view of their journey, struggles and defeats. We also place limitations on our own potential by using the successes of others as a measure of what we can achieve.
Interrupt this type of thinking with positive words of affirmation. Reflect on your strengths, and visualize yourself achieving your goals and dreams. Remember what you have overcome; and think of all the ways you are uniquely equipped to be successful in your own life.
4. “I shoulda, coulda, woulda...”
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of hypothetical thinking. When we ruminate about fantasy outcomes -- thinking about what should have, could have or would have happened -- we are resisting reality (what is). We wish we were somewhere else, leading to guilt, frustration, regrets and an inability to successfully problem solve in the present moment.
When you have these thoughts, focus on the facts and reframe your narrative. Take hold of the overwhelming negative thoughts and hypothetical thinking that can get out of control by taking the thought captive. Renew your mind by limiting your interaction with negative social media. Pour your attention into prayer and hold this scripture in your thought:
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8 NKJV
Stop the stinking thinking and restore your joy
Challenge your stinking thinking and melt away your insecurities. Give yourself grace and forgiveness; and increase your joy by practicing healthy thoughts, affirmations and gratitude; and being content. Use your thoughts to manifest life, prosperity, health and love into your life. Embrace your journey toward healing and lessons learned along the way.
For more on this topic, check out the 4 Stages of Self-Awareness. This four-week virtual course is designed to help you reclaim your power, align with your purpose and live a life you're proud of: fearless, free and fulfilled.
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