Toxic mindsets are beliefs about our lives or ourselves that we develop from unfavorable circumstances, traumas, unresolved childhood issues, and failure. We start developing these mindsets and they grow with us if we don’t treat them right away. They have the power to ruin our lives or hold us back from living the life we want or achieving our goals.
One of the most common toxic mindsets is the belief that we’re not good enough for something, whether it’s a certain university or a job or a relationship, because at some point in our lives we wanted something so badly and we didn’t get it or it went to someone else, thus it became second nature to fear not getting something we want because we don’t want to feel that kind of pain again, so we don’t even try. The truth is, we may not be qualified enough for a job we want and we may not be the right person for someone we want, but that doesn’t mean we’re not good enough, it just means that some things are meant to be ours or for us and it also means that we still have some work to do on our own before we can truly be ready for some experiences. The key here is not to let that mindset paralyze you from trying and you have to feel worthy and deserving of whatever you want, even if you don’t get it. In order to change the pattern, you have to change your mindset, even if the outcome is not the one you want. It’s all about what’s happening on the inside, not what’s happening on the outside.
Another common toxic mindset is the belief that everyone will eventually leave you, and that develops from childhood abandonment issues or losing someone dear to you at a very young age. You start building walls to protect your heart and eventually reenact the scenario that the people you love will leave you and you’ll end up alone, so you sometimes sabotage your own relationships. This is more evident in romantic relationships where one partner is always in a defensive mindset operating from a lack of trust and always feeling neglected and abandoned by their partner. To heal your abandonment issues, you must first get to the root of how it all started and which parts of it are you carrying into your relationships. Are you triggered because your partner did something offensive or are you triggered because this behavior reminds you of an old wound that you still need to tend to? Self-awareness and introspection in your own relationships are crucial to start healing your abandonment issues and getting rid of the beliefs that everyone will eventually leave you or things will always end badly. Your relationships can end for many reasons, but it makes all the difference when you look back and know that you gave it your all and you didn’t let your own limiting beliefs or insecurities define that relationship or determine where it goes.
This is something we were all programmed to believe, statements like “no pain, no gain” or “life is unfair” keep us stuck in struggle mode. This belief may sound good at first but the reality of it is toxic, because anything that comes easy to us makes us feel like we don’t deserve it because we didn’t work hard for it. This mentality stops us from dreaming big or following our hearts or our passion because we are conditioned to believe that we have to work hard and struggle to earn the life we want, and we often feel guilty if we are living a less busy or stressful life than our peers, so we try to fill our time with things that don’t excite us just so we can go back home at the end of the day and feel ‘productive.’ It’s not a one size fits all for everyone, and if you are happy with the way your life is, even if you don’t work too hard or you’re not always swamped with things to do, then that’s all that matters. How others view your life is not your problem. We need to start believing that good things can be easy and struggle free and our dreams can be achieved without pain or struggle.
Similar to the previous point, we live in a society that judges quitters negatively. We’re always bombarded with motivational messages like “don’t quit now, don’t be a quitter, quitting is for losers… etc.” but sometimes quitting is the best and only option for you. I’m not saying don’t fight hard for what you want and what you love, but when you no longer have the energy or the motivation or the desire to keep going, when whatever it is you’re committed to is making it hard to wake up every morning and feel good about your life or yourself, it’s okay to quit. It’s okay to quit the job that makes you miserable. It’s okay to quit that relationship that’s been hurting you. It’s okay to quit living in a city that sucks the life out of you. Depending on your situation, sometimes staying is more toxic than quitting.
Last but not least, learning how to be the bigger person was the way most of us were raised, but truthfully, it can be extremely toxic in some situations and with some people who cross the line and poison our lives. Being the bigger person doesn’t work with everyone because we are better off without some people in our lives. Cutting ties with friends or partners who constantly disrespect you or bring constant drama and problems into your life is the only healthy thing to do, and being the bigger person in these situations will only draw in more toxicity and more unfavorable circumstances. It’s important to be empathetic, kind, and forgiving in some cases, but you have to draw the line and set boundaries with people who don’t have any or people who only make your life more difficult.