Often times when life gets in our way for whatever reason, we may fall into a slump and become stuck in this new “reality” feeling uninspired, unhappy, and on edge. It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, though.
There is a lot we can do to build grit to help us power through these periods and begin enjoying that authentic happiness and drive for life once again. It’s almost become a sacred ritual of mine every Sunday to ‘reset’ my life for the coming week, which involves not only organising my external environment but also my internal one. Living with an autoimmune condition where stress is the main trigger for flare-ups, reframing my thoughts and mindset has been integral in learning to manage my overall well-being.
And so, to help you do a little more thriving – rather than merely surviving – in 2021 and beyond, I want to share with you the 3 life-changing mindset shifts that I’ve learned in my short 25 years.
1. Cultivate curiosity
Curiosity is a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something. Curiosity allows us to embrace new situations, giving us a greater opportunity to experience discovery and joy. Children are most known for their curious minds, yet somehow along the way towards adulthood, that curiosity is too often stifled by us, an uninspiring job, or the people around us.
However, we can train our minds to step out of a passive mindset into a more active one by cultivating our curiosity towards life and all the many mysteries of this crazy and weird world we live in. So, if you ever find yourself going through a darker period in life, it might be worth a try to hold onto or rediscover that childlike curiosity within you.
To me, curiosity has always been that tiny faint spot of light far in the dark distance. Even just having it there has helped create momentum in my journey towards a healthier and happier mind. My favorite ways to cultivate my curiosity are to never stop asking questions, nurture my thirst to continuously learn about topics that interest me, and to surround myself with other curious people with interesting and bright minds. After all, a curious mind is a strong one.
2. Practice self-compassion
This one is probably the most repeated pieces of advice out there, but that’s because it is so important. We can be our own worst critics, especially if we have a tendency towards perfectionism or low self-esteem.
Try and replace that negative inner dialogue with something a little kinder. When you’re feeling low, the last thing you really need is that nagging voice in your mind to keep kicking you to the ground. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend. You wouldn’t shout at them and make them feel even worse when they’re down, right?
Acknowledge how you are feeling instead of desperately trying to suppress or bottle your feelings up. With self-compassion, you can curiously explore your thought patterns, what is or isn’t working for you, and what you can change to make things better.
Life is a journey of learning to be more fully, truly yourself. It’s about shedding the beliefs that you’ve subconsciously adopted growing up because they no longer serve you or ring true to you. Life is about unbecoming, stepping back into your authenticity.
3. Take responsibility
Your past or your current state does not have to be your default state, and you don’t have to let it define who you are as a person going forward. In order to switch to a more healing perspective, you need to realize that you do have at least some choice in your actions, and take responsibility for yourself.
At the end of the day, we can all wait to be rescued, or we can put one foot in front of the other doing the best we can with what we’ve got. We can become more self-aware and observe ourselves, outline an action plan to know which direction we want to go in, and also build a support system to help guide us. It won’t be easy, and we will probably mess up. But someday, we will thank ourselves for every day we got up and tried.
One of the most harmful things you can do to yourself is adopting the so-called ‘victim mentality’. Of course, this isn’t done consciously, but if you do recognize your tendency towards it, you can also step out of this unproductive way of thinking. Someone with a victim mentality feels that he or she is beset by the world, and is always at a disadvantage because of other people’s schemes or lack of consideration. They may feel powerless to do anything about their situation. However, in a twisted way, they may also feel a sense of pleasure when they receive attention or pity as a result of their misfortune. A person with a victim mentality may also get a “thrill” from showing off the injury caused by others and creating a sense of guilt. And refusing to accept responsibility for a problem can feel liberating – at least momentarily until the cycle repeats itself.
It’s a natural part of the human error to fall into the habit of self-pity feeling powerless and blaming the things, or people, around us for the way we are, but recognising this in yourself is powerful. There is so much you can do to liberate yourself from this mental cage. All you really have to remember is, although you may be a prisoner for now, you’re also the guard with a key to freedom ;).
“They’re not the ones responsible for your healing. They don’t know what it feels like to be in your pain. So stop depending on them to come and save you.”
I would love to know what are some of the mindset changes that you’ve recently adopted or learned especially during the weird and chaotic year that was 2020. Comment them down below!