It’s inevitable as we venture along our journey that we will face barriers we didn’t anticipate, feelings we weren’t expecting, moments of self-doubt, and stretches of seemingly no progress towards our dreams. As humans, we tend to over-analyze, often being irrational in our assessment of the current situation. Our thoughts tend to escalate out of control until negative thoughts tend to outweigh the positive.
We look to the past and think things were better before. We look to the future and hope that things will be better than they are currently. We compare ourselves to others and wonder why we can’t be as good as the person next to us.
Chances are that if you are reading this you are, like me, dedicated to your journey and work hard to make your dreams become a reality. So why are we so hard on ourselves?! I fall into this trap often, as my girlfriend can attest to, although not as often as I used to before I realized how destructive my thoughts were to my mental health and well-being.
It happens to all of us, even those that are successful in their respective sport or field. We ALL have moments of self-doubt and insecurity. When these feelings arise, and you find yourself being negative and pessimistic, take a few moments and re-frame your thoughts. This change in your thoughts will, in turn, lead to changes in your emotions and your behaviors, ultimately leading to more productive action and greater joy in pursuing your dreams.
When you are feeling the negative thoughts creep into your consciousness: stop, take a few deep breaths, acknowledge that you are having negative thoughts, and then re-frame those thoughts to be more positive. If you are upset over your “lack of progress” recently, flip those thoughts around and be proud of how hard you are working towards bettering yourself and remind yourself that the results will come. If you are nervous before a big event and are doubting yourself, thank yourself for being so courageous to test yourself and push your limits. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, remind yourself that you are on your own unique journey with its own unique destination.
Any journey worth pursuing is going to be challenging, and this is ultimately what makes it so worthwhile. Our thoughts are so influential on our daily existence and the joy we get from pursuing our journey. Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words are appropriate here and are words to go back to in times of negative thoughts and self-doubt:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”