How You're Keeping Yourself from Being Happy: 3 Negative Thinking Patterns that Impact Your Life

This post is going to look at 3 common negative thinking patterns that keep us from living the life we want!

     The way you think about yourself and what happens to you has a tremendous impact on how much you enjoy and get out of your life.  In your head is a constant narration, which gives tremendous insight into the way you perceive and think about your existence.  It is probably not a shock, but the more frequently the voice in your head has a negative tone, the more difficult it is for you to enjoy your life.

     The hard part about negative thinking is that there is not just one way of thinking negatively.  Your brain is adept at thinking in various ways, and unfortunately negative thinking also has a few tricks up its sleeve.  That is why it can be hard to identify negative thinking, there just isn’t one thing to look for.  To help identify some of the negative thinking patterns you can get into, this post is going to focus on three common types of negative thinking.  The more you recognize the negative thinking patterns that are occurring, the more you can fight back!

Negative Thinking Pattern #1:  Other’s Approval is Necessary

woman in deep thought

     Face it, there is something that feels good when you know someone else is a fan of what you are doing in your life.  There is a need in you to feel like you are accepted and belong to those that you care about.  What happens when this moves from being a need and morphs into an obsession?  How does your life change when you run your thoughts and decisions through a filter that begs for others to approve of you to validate you are worth anything?

     When you start depending on the approval of others, you let them dictate what about you is of value and worth.  You'll overlook your unique strengths and characteristics and instead behave in ways that you think others want you to.  The thing is, it is your guess as to what others want you to be rather than reality creating your behavior.  It is your own distorted thought process that leads you down the road of compulsively seeking the approval of others.

     The more you seek the approval of others, the more unhappiness you will find.  This is because you turn away from what makes you who you are and attempt to morph into what you think others need you to be.  You'll move further away from your core self and depend on others to make you feel worth it.  If thoughts regularly run through your mind asking whether person A or person B would like what you are thinking of doing, you are likely seeking the approval of others.

Negative Thinking Pattern #2:  Comparing is not Caring

male in deep thought

     One of the quickest ways to tear yourself down is comparing yourself to others around you.  There are many different things you might compare, such as jobs, money, partners, fitness levels, possessions, homes, cars, intelligence levels, creative abilities and so much more.  Whenever you use comparison thinking, you are taking a snapshot of the other person at that moment and using that 2-second glimpse as a measuring stick to judge your entire life.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

     When you compare yourself to others, you are doing it in a completely skewed way.  You're zooming in on only a few details and believe that is the full picture.  This is devastating to the inner-relationship you have with yourself, as you consistently sell yourself short.  

     The other side of comparison is believing that you are better than all those around you.  You zoom in on your strengths and pretend your flaws do not exist.  With this distorted picture, you measure others around you and consistently find ways to make them fall short.  This type of grandiose comparison ruins relationships with others.

     If you find that you compare, make sure to identify whether it is comparing to despair or if it's grandiose.  Either way, you are not looking objectively at your life and are taking away from its overall quality.  This type of negative thinking is destructive, and remember, all it takes is one thought to get the negative snowball rolling.

Negative Thinking Pattern #3:  Life Should be Fair

male looking back

     Life is tough, and unfortunately it does not always run on the fair principle.  There are times that you will put a lot of time and effort into something, only to find that the return on investment was much less than desired.  When you consistently think that life should be fair, you will be consistently disappointed when you find out it is not.

     No matter what your thoughts and emotions are at a given time, the world continues to spin and time keeps moving forward.  The more you expect life to be fair, the more often you will find yourself disappointed and upset.  While it would be nice if life were fairer than it is, this lack of fairness will only have as much negative power over you as you give it.

     If you consistently find yourself wondering why life isn’t fair or that things should have gone different, you are probably stuck in this negative thinking rut.  Remember, the more you dwell on why things are unfair the more unhappy you will be.  Accepting the basic concept that life simply is and you are experiencing the ebbs and flows of it will help you approach life more realistically.  Basically, it would be fair to say that you will find in life what you look for, it’s up to you to decide if you want it to be negative or positive!

Where Do You Go From Here?

woman embracing life

     Your thinking has incredible influence over the way you experience your life.  The more you can identify the different types of negative patterns, the more you will change the way you live your life.  Choosing to find new ways to challenge these negative thoughts and learn and implement new tools will empower your life in ways you never imagined.

     If you're ready for the next step, sign up now for our Out With the Negative! email course.  It doesn't cost you a thing, and for the next 10 days you will get powerful tools and resources to kick that negative thinking to the curb.  Get started immediately by signing up below!

Categories: Personal Growth