I recently went through a phase where I mentally and physically felt drained, which, sure that can be normal sometimes, but in this instance, I also saw that my self-confidence and sense of clarity was shot too. I felt like I wasn’t able to tackle some of my creative projects, my attitude towards my work was lackluster, and I wasn’t feeling very motivated.
As much as I tried to fight through these feelings and clear out the external blocks that could lead me to be feeling this way, I couldn’t quite seem to shake my symptoms. The cycle kept continuing, and I kept feeling worse and worse. What was wrong with me? I couldn’t quite get to the bottom of it.
As time went on, I recognized that the solutions to my problems weren’t external. They were coming from within. I was wreaking havoc on my own life because I had allowed my thoughts to run away from me. I started to take note of my inner dialogue, and where my mind was going throughout the day, and I immediately found the root of my issues. I was playing vicious mind games that were keeping me stuck, confused, drained, and frustrated.
It all began to make so much sense to me. I was living in a perpetual, self-sabotaging cycle of thinking, and as we all know, once our minds get on a particular track, it can feel very difficult to change its course without awareness, presence, and positive reinforcement. Our thoughts are so incredibly powerful. What we think manifests, especially when it comes to the thoughts we are thinking about ourselves, our capabilities, and our worthiness.
Looking back on this period now, of course I would be feeling this way. I was betting against myself, setting myself up for disappointment and failure, and relying on false self-thoughts to keep that cycle going. Can any of you relate?
When I began to take inventory of what exactly I was thinking, I noticed four common patterns that kept running through my mind, that of course, would lead me to the feelings that I couldn’t shake. These patterns are mind games that, when go unnoticed, can wreak that same havoc on our lives, and make us feel really crummy. It’s always my desire to share with you what I pick up in my own life, and so, these are the four mind games I noticed running on auto-pilot in my own life, and how to notice them, release them, and regain your sense of mental clarity, focus, and energy overall.
1. Perfectionism. How many of you can relate to that feeling, where you have something you’d like to do, or be, or achieve, but feel like you can’t because you’re not good enough, capable enough, or worthy enough? Living in the mindset that we’ll “do it all” when we’re finally “perfect” keeps us in a state of limbo, and lets us off the hook of going after our dreams.
Perfectionism simply isn’t real. Notice when your mind starts to go to that “I’ll do it when I’m…” place, and remind yourself that you are capable of doing it now. Life is meant to be lived in the present, and perfectionism would have us live in a false future. Release the need to be, feel, and look perfect. Find a solid sense of acceptance of life in the now, as well as motivation to create all that you desire for the future.
2. Self-Doubt. I’ve grappled with self-doubt for a lot of my adult life, and I can safely tell you that falling into this mind trap gets you nowhere. Self-doubt makes you believe that everyone else is capable of living their dreams, but you. Self-doubt reminds you of all your perceived short comings, missteps, and mistakes. It makes you believe that because of all that, you can’t be, achieve, and acquire what you desire. When dealing with self-doubt it’s crucial to remind yourself that, again, it’s not real, and that you are an incredibly powerful, purposeful, and worthy human.
3. What Ifs. The what-if game is a big one, especially when going after goals and dreams, or having a large desire in life. The what if’s come to tell all the scary stories of the possibilities that could happen by putting ourselves out there in a major way. What if I’m not well-received? What if people make fun of me? What if I lose my job? What if?
While it can be important to weigh outcomes in order to make major life decisions, falling into the what-if game only takes you down a rabbit hole of stories that your mind is making up to keep you from taking a risk. My favorite way to combat the what ifs, is to remember all of the positive what-if satires that could also come into form. What if it all works out beautifully? What if I achieve all that I desire? What if the perfect people come into my life at the perfect time? When you remember to play it in this way, you’ll likely win your own what-if game!
4. Comparison. One of the truest quotes that I have ever heard is from Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparing ourselves to other people is the silliest waste of mental energy we can engage in. Think about it. Remember when I told you that we all live incredibly unique lives with unique circumstances, people, and purposes? If you were to believe me in this being true, you would see that there is not productive purpose in comparing your unique life path with someone else’s.
Comparing thoughts are just another way our mind likes to make us feel that we aren’t enough, and as we know by now, we are! Honor others for their strengths just as you honor your own, and remember there is room for all of us to shine in this world. We don’t have to exert energy, competing, and comparing, but rather using it to create!
I hope shedding a light on some of these common mind games helps you to recognize where they might be coming into play (pun intended) in your own lives. Remember, we can’t escape or quiet our thoughts, but we can strive to consciously choose them, and that is where we begin to take back our power, reclaim our energy, and find that feeling of peace from within that we all so deeply crave.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org