It’s always been my opinion that a life lived to the fullest is a well-lived life. When I’m old, I want to look over my life and reflect on all the adventurous things I’ve done and the interesting sights I’ve seen. I don’t see this as a rather bold opinion; other people have similar hopes.
Yet I’ve found that the hardest thing about living life fully was just getting to the point where I could really allow myself to do the things I want. Many years ago I had a lot of negative self-talk floating inside my head. It was a big stumbling block preventing me from really living life to the fullest.
Carpe Diem Lifestyle
I eventually overcame all that negative self-talk. The weird thing about some negative thoughts is how hard they can be turn around. If the thoughts are ingrained enough into your thinking, you’ll eventually start to believe in them.
And having negative self-beliefs about yourself is like setting up a slow speed limit sign to how fast your life can go. Fortunately if you recognize them early enough, you can stop negative thoughts from seriously hampering your life.
1. The “I can’t do that” mindset
The most common and devastating thought you can have about yourself is thinking you can’t accomplish something. This thought alone probably causes most people to stop working towards their dreams and settling for something else. After all, if you honestly think you can’t do something than you’ll just stop working to get it.
The next time you are in conversation with someone else about their goals or dreams, ask them what is holding them back and it is likely you’ll hear them say they “just can’t do it”. However, it will often be paired up with an excuse. For example, they can’t do it because it isn’t the right time to do it or they have commitments holding them back.
I overcome this mindset by thinking about all the things I once thought I wasn’t able to do, but eventually did do. It puts a lot of things you think you’re unable to do into perspective. It also lets you feel more positively about accomplishing those things no matter how difficult they may seem.
2. I’m not good enough to do it
These kinds of thoughts revolve around the thinking that you aren’t talented enough to do something. However, it usually has nothing to do with how talented you are, but involves a negative comparison you’ve made to someone else. This can be very destructive and demoralizing.
For example, if I wanted to become a stand-up comedian and I compared how well my stand-up comedy is to someone like Chris Rock or Patton Oswalt, I might become demoralized and give up. However, something you never see with professionals is the years of hard work and failures they had to endure to get to that point. It’s only natural to think you’re not as good as they are if you are comparing yourself to the final result.
3. “What if” negative thinking
Everybody thinks about their future. But if all you can concentrate on are all the bad things that possibly could happen, you’re going to limit yourself. After all, if you only see a negative future happening, you won’t do them.
The future is uncertain so thinking only about bad things that could happen is illogical. All life is a chance and living life to the fullest means taking risks. It might not turn out the way you want, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking all risks. You won’t get very far if you don’t take some chances in life.
4. Thinking you have to be perfect
Perfectionism is something I’ve struggled with for many years so I know it can be a difficult thing to overcome. Being afraid of making mistakes and making sure everything is absolutely correct is exhausting. It’s also something that can really be limiting to the things you can do in life.
If you concentrate too hard on making mistakes, you’ll miss out on taking risks. You’ll limit yourself to things you already know really well and trap yourself into a comfort zone. Living life to the fullest often means accepting failure.
5. Generalizing your failures
Sometimes a failure is way more destructive than it really should be. If something didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to go, there could be numerous reasons. However, some people overgeneralize their failures.
For example, a man tries to start up a relationship with several women and fails. He starts to think that all women will have similar reactions and that there is something inherently wrong with him. I’ve found this to actually be a very common belief among men who have had trouble with women.
Generalizations like this don’t reflect reality. It doesn’t take into consideration numerous other reasons for things not working the way you want. It’s easy to just jump to a negative thought about yourself without taking in many other considerations.
The sooner you can stop these negative thoughts, the sooner you can start living life to the fullest. I really believe that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a well-lived life comes from negative self-talk. In some cases, it could be the only thing that is holding you back.
Turning around negative thoughts is important if you want to a life free from constraints. Once you get rid of those negative thoughts, you can go anywhere. So really getting to the point where you have a well-lived life doesn’t start with conquering the world, but rather yourself.
Have you ever had any of these thoughts? Any other negative thoughts you know that stop people from living life to the fullest?
photo credit: The Pondering Moose