When I was in my teens and early 20s, I wanted life to be a certain way. I wanted to be the best that I could be and achieve everything I ever wanted.
After all, school was finished and the world was opening up.
But because I wanted it so bad, I started to focus on my flaws. I started to get anxious and fearful that I might not be what I’ve always thought I could be.
I surrendered myself to these fears for a sense of comfort. I shielded myself from trying to new things and experiencing all the different aspects of life.
And as I’m thinking about it now, no wonder I was so damn miserable!
I was lost. My own toxic beliefs and behaviors were sabotaging my life. It’s easy to say now, but it’s really difficult to notice it when you’re in the midst of it.
Your mind gets stuck in patterns and it’s a whirlwind to get out of.
But I stuck at it.
After extensive reading of Buddhist philosophy, and changing my mind through my actions, I began to try new things and experience a sense of contentment and peace with my life. (You can read my story here)
However, I’m not perfect. Life is still a struggle, but the one thing that has changed is my reaction to it.
I’m no longer fearful of fear or anxious over anxiety. I’ve accepted that these emotions are part of life, which paradoxically has lead to more peace and less stress.
And when you think about it, I believe our reaction is all that we have control.
But it’s our unfounded beliefs that get in the way of understanding things like this.
So below, I’m going to go over 8 toxic beliefs that I believe are more common than you might think.
I’m noticing these beliefs are becoming prevalent in a lot of us with everything that’s going on with the coronavirus.
That’s very understandable considering the upheaval it’s doing to our lives and our community.
But at some point, we need to realize that they’re not actually benefiting us.
So here 8 toxic beliefs that we would do well to stop believing:
1) The present is indicative of the future
When things aren’t going well, it’s common to believe that your life will always be like this. Challenges present themselves and you fear that you’ll never be able to overcome them.
The funny thing is, when things are going great, we believe that something will stop it from continuing to be great.
We think that happiness is fleeting. We take it at face value, but when we’re feeling depressed, or anxious, we believe that it will only get worse.
But this is a self-fulfilling prophecy and it’s foggy judgment.
The first law of Buddhism is that change is the only constant in the universe. So, no matter how bad things appear to be, things simply have to change.
Nothing remains fixed. So, wipe that dirty lens that views the world as only getting worse. Have optimism and hope that it will change for the better.
Noam Chomsky says it best:
“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.”
2) It’s too late to make changes
Life isn’t predictable. There’s no straight line towards anything. Just because you’re not happy with your job right now, doesn’t mean you can’t make a change and try something new. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
You’re allowed to backtrack in life. You’re allowed to figure out what’s right for you.
True, life is a mess. But it’s a beautiful mess and rather than trying to turn something straight that zigzags, it’s far more fulfilling and fun to run with the zigzags.
3) Being vulnerable is dangerous
This is a common belief and for good reason.
None of us enjoy feeling uncomfortable emotions like fear and vulnerability.
Rudá Iandê in his great online course Out of the Box says that we’re afraid to feel these emotions to the fullest extent because we’re pessimistic about how we’ll react.
However, he says that progress can only occur when you step out of your comfort zone.
And the only way you’ll be able to do that is by embracing imperfection and accepting that you’re going to feel uncomfortable.
So embrace who you are and everything your feeling. You might find that it leads to opportunities and insights that you never thought were previously possible.
I highly recommend you check out his free masterclass here for more insightful wisdom.
4) Being alone is a problem
You can say thanks to society for this one. People who spend time alone are labeled as weird and outcasts.
It’s a dangerous belief to engage in. The truth is, when shit goes south, we only have ourselves to rely on and if you’re not comfortable with yourself, it can lead to all sorts of issues.
As Buddhism says, happiness can only come from within yourself, so stop seeking external factors to make you happy.
Realize that being comfortable with yourself is the greatest asset that you’ll ever have in your life.
5) Fitting in is a good thing
We’ve grown up believing that if you want to be successful, you need to fit in.
The problem is, these beliefs generally operate on stereotypes. Society develops a limiting box that you need to fit inside if you want to be considered ‘normal’.
But the only way you’ll ever be truly happy is if you’re your real self.
So embrace who you really are and forget about being someone because it pleases other people.
It’s a known fact that the happiest people are authentic people.
6) There’s a perfect person out there for me
We all chase perfection and this is no different when it comes to searching for a partner.
We search for the perfect lover because Hollywood has taught us that they definitely exist somewhere in the world.
But we need to realize that there’s no such thing as perfection. Yes, you’re going to find someone you love, but they will have their flaws, just like you.
With a little patience and an open mind, you’ll begin to realize that these imperfections really are what make life beautiful.
7) What everyone does to you is personal
Some of us tend to think that anything happening to us is a direct assault on us. But when we start seeing the world this way, it can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The truth is, the world isn’t out to get you and neither are other people. What people think about you says more about them then it does about you.
We all have a lens with which we see the world, so choose yours to be optimistic and hopeful. Your mind will thank you for it.
8) You should never be sad
Thanks to the positive thinking movement, most of us believe that if we’re feeling negative emotions, then there’s something wrong with us.
But it’s impossible to be positive all the time. You need to accept your negative emotions because if you don’t, it’ll come back to bite you back 10 tens harder.
Happiness isn’t about being positive all the time. It’s about embracing life as it is and accepting who you are.
Lachlan & The Hack Spirit Team
P.S If you want to learn more wisdom like this, check out my book: The Nonsense Guide to Using Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy for a Better Life.
In this book, I will walk you through your first meditation, and give you some straightforward but powerful exercises to help you be more mindful every day.
Together, we’re going to work to strengthen your relationships, increase your emotional resilience, and systematically train your mind.
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