A psychological theory to help you cut the bullshit and finally change something.
So about the reoccurring problem in your life that is constantly making you feel like shit…. Well, I’m here to give you some long-awaited advice: The problem is you. How do you feel about that? Some people might be intrigued by this concept, others might think the idea is ridiculous, and many will immediately get defensive and emphatically yell their rhetorical questions at me. Please put down the pitchforks and hear me out.
Think about your life’s most significant misfortunes, past and present. Think about your romantic break-ups, lost jobs, low-paying salaries, failed exams, lost friendships, family conflicts, etc. Does any particular type of problem seem to be a re-occurring theme in your life? Are there any toward which no matter how hard you try, you find yourself chronically: single, or jobless, or poor or in some other situation you wish not to be? Well, if the answer is ‘yes,’ you might want to consider that the problem is you. I mean, if you’ve lost 5 jobs in the last year or if you’ve had 10 really horrible dates in the past few weeks, it’s time for you to consider the part you played in the creation of these situations. Now, I’m not saying that everything is your fault. I’m simply saying that you are doing yourself a huge disservice in not understanding the part you play in your frequently-occurring conflicts, disappointments, and blockages. People often blindly blame others for their problems. Many people have this woe-is-me mindset and are stuck in a can-you-believe-what-she-did-to-me/it-was-totally-her-fault, school of thought. Well, I hate to break it to you but if you are chronically single and wish not to be, or unemployed, or friendless, or just plain complaining all the time, it is important for you to understand the part you play in all of it (especially if you’ve experienced the same type of setback over and over again). The sooner you figure out the responsibility you hold, the sooner you’ll achieve a level of relief, calmness, peace and acceptance that will set you free.
For the Chronically Single (or for the individuals who generally have trouble with relationships):
You might say things like: “All the good ones are taken.” “They always leave me.” “Nobody is honest.” “They always lie.” “I will never find someone.” “Nobody ever wants me.” Subconsciously, these thoughts will turn into core beliefs making them color every situation and interaction you have in your relationship or with a romantic prospect.
For the Chronically Jobless (or for the individuals who generally have trouble with job situations):
You might say things like: “There’s no job I’m well suited for.” “I’m never happy anywhere.” “Bosses abuse their power.” “All of my colleagues are dumb.” “I’ll never find a job I love.” “I’ll never find a job that compliments my education and experience.” Subconsciously, these thoughts will turn into core beliefs, coloring your job prospects and work situations.
For the Chronically Poor (or for the individuals who struggle with money):
You might say things like: “Money is difficult to obtain.” “Rich people are stuck up.” “You can’t make any money in today’s economy.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “My bills keep sucking me dry.” “I’ll never achieve financial independence.” Subconsciously, these thoughts will turn into core beliefs, coloring the way you see money and making money.
SO, HOW ARE YOU THE PROBLEM, EXACTLY?
I am by no means blaming you because that asshole cheated on you or because your boss acted like a psycho or because an unsuccessful business venture made you bankrupt. I stress that the problem was NOT initially YOU. Experiences from your past have influenced the way you see the world today. However, hurtful past experiences create false negative beliefs and flawed thinking patterns that doom you to experience more of the same disappointments in the future.
If you have a pattern of experiencing things like being chronically single or jobless or poor, you have to consider the part you play in creating your reality. “The Problem Is You” Hypothesis sheds light on all of this. This theory states that the responsibility you hold in your current disappointments is in the way you think. Negative thoughts, like the ones listed above, cause you to behave in a manner that leads you to experience similar crap in the future! Here are some respective examples:
- Someone cheats on you. You develop a false belief that men are dishonest. You then decide that snooping on your dates is the only way to go. This will inevitably cause problems. …problems that you caused as a result of a past experience.
- You get fired from a job you obtained right out of college. You then decide that the only way to keep a job is to be excessively detailed and micro-manage everything and everybody. This will inevitably cause problems in your future jobs and with your future colleagues.
- Your bills create bankruptcy. You then decide to spend your entire life counting every penny. This will cause you to live in a mindset of scarcity, never seeing opportunities to make more money. The feelings of lack and unworthiness will dominate.
AND HOW EXACTLY DO YOU ATTRACT THE SAME PROBLEM OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
Unfortunately, in having these limited patterns of thinking and behaving, you will lure more experiences like these into your life, giving you that chronic feeling of misfortune. How? Well, these limited beliefs literally put you on a negative trajectory. Truth is, you cannot focus on anything negative and receive something positive from the environment- it just won’t happen. If you truly believe that all of the good men are taken, your body will psychologically and physiologically miss the glance from that stranger across the room. If you truly believe that there are no jobs out there, your mind will not be able to process that Help Wanted sign. If you truly believe that money is hard to come by, that new entrepreneurial idea cannot come to you. Now, I’m not just saying this in the name of the Law of Attraction (which, I know, it sounds like). It’s so much more than that. I’m literally talking about how the mind works. You cannot find the solution using the mind that created the problem. A problem cannot be solved unless you start problem-solving and reaching for a solution, a.k.a. changing your mindset. The solution will not come unless you encourage your mind to switch up your manner of thinking. You must motivate your mind to start seeing things differently.
HOW DO YOU START BELIEVING SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
You have absolutely no choice but to challenge the thoughts that led to those very strong and false core beliefs. If you don’t, you will keep experiencing the same disappointments over and over again. The Sassy Psychologist will issue homework on this but here are some general guidelines to follow in the meantime.
- This article focuses on relationships, jobs, and money. There are other things with which you might struggle. It’s up to you to pick your most problematic topic and identify your limited beliefs about it. So the first step is to identify your unhealthy thoughts and beliefs.
- The second step involves working through your hurtful emotions on the subject. You have to issue compassion for your pain and you must attempt to heal the original wound from your past (perhaps your first boyfriend hurt you or your first job out of college scarred you somehow).
- You must then restructure your thoughts. You can no longer go around believing that “relationships are impossible,” or that “jobs are hard to come by,” or that “money is the root of all evil.” You need to cognitively modify your thoughts to be less faulty and more balanced. (Again, Sassy will issue homework on this but your therapist can also help in the meantime).
The point is: if you do not restructure these thoughts to obtain more balanced and truthful thinking patterns, you are doomed to suffer the same fate over and over again. It’s pretty harsh but this knowledge will certainly put a fire under your ass to start getting change in motion now! The cause of those reoccurring and annoying problems does not reside outside of us but, instead, resides within us. The permanent nature of some of our biggest problems is our fault. So put the pitchforks down and deal! We easily preserve the misfortunes in our lives by the way we think and behave and it’s time we acknowledge our power to initiate positive change. It’s actually pretty empowering to know that we can break the cycle of chronic disappointment –we just have to do the therapeutic work. Otherwise, suffer sameness. Your call.