Over time, our consistent thoughts become our beliefs. This is a positive thing if our beliefs serve us in some way—like believing you are a healthy person, resilient, or talented in your work. But when our beliefs are based on thoughts that do not serve us now or in the future, they become dangerous.
Sometimes we tell ourselves subtle lies to feel better, which can eventually become our reality. It’s easier to repeat these lies than to face a truth that may be uncomfortable and more painful to accept. These seven lies may offer some comfort in the present moment, but eventually only harm us and hold us back from being truly happy in the long run.
1. "He or she will change."
Newsflash: You can’t “fix” or change anyone—ever. When I was a teenager, I went to an Alcoholics Anononymous meeting because my father was an alcoholic (Al Anon meetings are for relatives and friends too). We all desperately wanted him to become sober. I’ll never forget when the leader of the group said, “You can love and encourage your dad. But there is no law in the world against self-destruction.” He was right.
The same goes for changing a partner’s level of commitment to you, their personal debt, or even their diet preferences. Once you accept someone as they are and that you cannot change them, you will feel free.
2. "I'll do it 'one day.' "
This one is particularly deceptive. One day you will… what—travel the world, write a novel, start your side business? This lie drives me crazy. Because one day you will wake up and there will be no time left to do any of these things. No one even knows how many precious days they have here on planet Earth. Plan it now. Get the wheels in motion now. Do it now. The present is all we’ve got.
3. "If I had more time, I would do X, Y, and Z."
We love to blame time as the reason we don’t do a lot of things—work out, meditate, read. What about 20 minutes of yoga, in the morning, in your PJs, in the living room? What about closing your eyes and listening to a meditation app or podcast on your commute? What about always carrying a Kindle or book in your bag and whipping it out anytime you’re kept waiting during the day?
Another surefire way to find more time: Cut back on Tweeting, texting, and Instagramming. Spending 20 to 30 minutes less on social media per day adds up to a whole lot of time every week.
4. "If I could just have X, everything would be so much better."
The truth is, if we’re not happy now, we won’t be happy when we get “the prize”—the love interest, the pay raise, the "perfect" body. Remember, many of the things you have in your life now were once things you wished for. There is no magic “thing” eluding you. The biggest magic you can apply to your life now is appreciation. Appreciation makes everything better, and it turns what you have into enough.
5. "I’m stuck."
Even though it doesn’t feel like it, we always have a choice. Whether you feel like you can't move to a new apartment, get a new job, or get out of a relationship, there's always a way. I had a life coaching client earlier this year who wanted to start a photography business on the side, but said she couldn’t because she had “no time, no resources, and no idea where to start!”
What she actually was saying was, “If I just tried a little harder, I could be a kick-butt photographer part-time, but I'm choosing to be a victim instead.” She would rather hang onto this lie than risk going for it. It may seem safer than the risk of failure, but I'm telling you, it’s not. It just worsens over time.
6. "I'm not ready to do X."
No one ever truly feels ready for anything—parenthood, entrepreneurship, change. We just begin. That is how we become ready. If you say you aren't ready for something, you are either not really interested in doing it or you are procrastinating (most likely out of fear). Which is it?
7. "I’m not good enough."
This is the biggest lie of all. You are good enough. You are enough. You do not need to do anything to deserve a full, rich, and happy life. As Oprah said, "There's a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of being happy. Your being alive makes happiness your birthright. You alone are enough."
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Her new book, What If It Does Work Out?, is available on Amazon now.