Through my experience as a teacher and hypnotherapist I have firmly come to believe that the human mind is a wonderful and powerful thing. I am also an optimist in feeling that there is always room, by learning various thinking techniques, to improve the way we can use our minds and apply them more effectively in facing life’s challenges.
Here are a few unhelpful ways of thinking that with a little effort and reflection can be modified:
The fairness fallacy. This is the tendency to be constantly measuring one’s own situation against other people. Such comparison doesn’t of itself help to improve one’s own lot and can lead to feelings of envy and resentment. An extension of this way of thinking is to say to the universe in general, ‘Why me? Life just isn’t fair’. Putting aside the ‘fairness measuring stick’ can bring immediate benefits, especially if combined with other ways of thinking that we have explored and will look at further in these articles.
Blaming. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said that ‘nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.’ Blaming other people as a habit for our misfortunes again leads to resentment, while denying that fault lies with another, when in fact it lies with us means that we miss the opportunity to make amends. Ultimately, we are the ones who have control of our own emotions.
‘Shoulds’. Should is one of the most unhelpful words in the language, partly because it is usually accompanied by an often-unspoken ‘but’. “I should do more exercise”, “I should drink less”, “I should eat more fruit and vegetables…” The list can go on and on. The should-attitude by its very nature is passive. One way to overcome it is to take direct positive action now. We’ll look at this further in a forthcoming article on life coaching techniques.
The old joke has it that a lady told her friend, “I married Mr. Right. I only found out later that his first name is ‘Always’”. The desire always to be right hints at self-esteem issues and can lead to rifts between friends that might be difficult to mend. Being prepared to listen tolerantly and consider other people’s viewpoints dampens the always-right tendency, even if we don’t in the end agree with them.