Friday, January 22, 2010
Toxic Thinking Patterns and Their Road to Self Destruction!
Keeping with the Self Theme of 2010: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."~Winston Churchill. Your attitude on a daily basis is shaped by your overall thought patterns. Some people are naturally more positive or negative than others and that’s ok. However there are some patterns of thinking that alter your life in major ways. Toxic Thinking Patterns or (TTPs) are ways of thinking that eventually lead you away from personal success. Let’s discuss.
1) The Rebel: The "Experience Everything Yourself" Effect:
A lot of younger individuals fall victim to this. Experience is a great teacher, but it would unwise for it to be your ONLY teacher. Yet I hear people say this all the time: "I just need to find out for myself." Exploration in life is fine and actually encouraged but make sure that you pay attention to the examples around your life. Some people are placed in your life as walking illustrations so you don't HAVE to partake in a similar situation because you already know the likely outcome. Most people succumb to this thought pattern because they believe they are above the law. The Rebel always says things like “Oh that wouldn’t happen to me” or “so and so didn’t do it right, I am going to do it right!” They truly believe that their situation will not turn out in the most common fashion. But you like everyone else are susceptible to likely outcomes. For example, if you take a mate from their partner thinking you can do better; chances are they will do the exact same thing to you that they did to their previous partner because THAT is the most likely outcome. Rebels are on a road to destruction because they live a life that is constantly on the edge of ruin. They pride themselves on the thing that is most detrimental to them: Fearlessness. SOME fear is a good thing. If you line up a group of children and you let one of them burn their hand on the stove, the children that have a healthy fear of what they saw will never get burned. The “fearless” children will suffer from blisters the rest of their lives. Don’t be a burn victim.
2) The Chicken: The "Never Leaving the Porch" Effect:
The opposite of the rebel is the chicken. This is the person who never experiences anything. The quintessential kid stuck on the porch because they are scared of being hurt. Taking the child example from the Rebel, the Chicken upon seeing the fire, completely nixes fire out of their life; they never cook, they never light a fireplace, and they miss those perfectly positive experiences. The Chicken is on the road to destruction because they are stagnant. By being afraid to take chances, they miss the opportunities in their life for growth.
3) The Reckless Romantic: The "Being In Love with Love" Effect:
It seems like a sweet notion to be entranced with every epic love story and fantasize about Mr. Perfect and Ms. Wonderful but in actuality you are doing yourself a disservice. These stories are great jumping off points to make a model of what you really want and need out of your relationships with people. One thing that I often find is that The Reckless Romantic is on the path to destruction because they do not wait for their perfect soul mate but instead try to MAKE them. WE all want love; we all want to be wanted by particular people in our lives. But if it is not working out how you want it, do you start to obsess? Do you look for ways to keep a relationship together that should have been torn apart years ago? Do you find yourself being devious just to get your way? Do you stalk their social networks and try to put yourself in positions where they will have to talk to you? If you do this, you are not determined, you are reckless. You are stopping that other person and you from moving on to healthier frontiers. Now where is that in the movies?
4) The Victim: The "Woe is Me" Effect:
We all know people or are people that just can’t seem to catch a break. Circumstances outside of your control are always bearing down on you. There is no more helpless a feeling than the feeling of not being in the driver’s seat of your own life. The Victim is the saddest of the TTPs because it’s very easy to slip into their thought pattern. As John Gardner would say: “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” Basically being the victim is the easiest way to deal with your issues. Standing against the storm is much harder than curling in a ball and crying until it is finished. The Victim is on the path to destruction because victims will ALWAYS be victims. It is a mentality. It will start to spread to every aspect of your life until you find yourself weaponless to deal with anything that could rear its ugly head. Soon you start to believe that even things you could change are hopeless. Victims rarely make it to achieve their dreams.
5) The Nose Turner: The "I Told You So" Effect:
You really do get what you say. The Nose Turners are those people that are always predicting something negative to happen in their lives. Sure, they have great excuses to back up their cynicism but in actuality they are blocking their own life positives. They always say things like: “Oh girl I keep finding these men that are dogs” or “Man you know I can’t find a job in this economy” or “Stuff always happens to me!” Then when things happen along those lines, they go back to their favorite, character defining phrase “I Told You So.” Now you may be wondering why I separated The Victim from The Nose Turner. The difference between the two is that the victim takes a passenger side view of life. They are constantly allowing outside factors to sway them. The Nose Turner is in COMPLETE control of their life but they’re steering down the wrong side of the road. Their lives are the way they are because they MAKE them the way that they are. Let’s take the “Oh girl I keep finding these men that are dogs” woman. Every man on the planet is not on negativity so chances are the reason you run into this situation has something to do with you. Maybe your selection of males needs fine tuning. Maybe you don’t know how to spot a good man. Maybe you haven’t cultivated characteristics in yourself that a good man would be attracted to. The Nose Turner’s path to destruction is in their predictions. They constantly make judgments BEFORE the situation is fully developed. Your mind then starts to believe what you are saying and you subconsciously make it so. I mean who doesn’t want to be right?
6) The Chess Player: The "Tit For Tat" Effect
Anything you can do, I can do better. Anything you do to be, I can do back to you harder. The Chess Player is an individual who is always on the defensive. People who are always talking about the things other people and world did to them and how they will get their revenge. “My boss rolled his eyes at me so I’m going to cuss him out and quit.” Now you are out of a job. The Chess Player lets their focus on other situations hinder their own progress. The Chess Player’s road to destruction is that their need for defense blocks their offense. Some things you should just let roll off your back. I always say people would be better off if they really knew how little time people spend thinking about them let alone plotting against them. The best way to play the game of life is a strong offense and a stable defense, i.e. I am focused on making myself better and if problem arise, I handle them. Simple as that.
These Toxic Thinking Patterns are the most popular ones. These are not the only TTP’s and I will be updating my blog with others as they become more prominent. The key to change is acknowledgement and we all are guilty of TTP situations, however never let these patterns start to rule how you think in general. Know what they are so that when they arise you can address them. Hope this Helps!