Change Your Life Now: How To Live More Rationally In 15 Simple Steps (Part I)

You won’t believe how much your thoughts can decide upon the quality of the life you lead until you try and change them. Right then, you’ll be able to sense the power of your thoughts and realize how important for us to start to choose one thought over another if we ever wanted to improve our lives’ quality.

Below are some simple steps I learned from reading self-help books to help you think more rationally thus live more rationally:

1- Be aware of the “overgeneralizing”:

It’s common for us to dramatize matters every now and then. Like for example, when one says “I can’t diet”, this is an overgeneralizing, it would have been more accurate if he said: “I find it hard to diet, but it’s not impossible”. Or when someone wants to give up some bad habit and finds it hard, instead of saying for example “I can’t stop smoking”, he should rather say “I can stop smoking, but so far, I hadn’t”, that way you start to see things more rationally and give yourself a chance to do it. because dramatizing matters, not only down you but also make you less able to do something about your problems.

2- Remember that you largely feel the way you think:

While it is obvious that we think the way we feel, like for example when you feel sad, you think sad thoughts, it’s more important to know that we feel the way we think. Our thoughts decide which feelings to feel at any given situation. If someone, for example, would speak in public, he would probably think like this: “what if I fell on my face and it didn’t come out right?” these thoughts are what will create the feelings of anxiety as he is about to start speaking. Then, many people, after they start speaking, see that they didn’t fall on their faces, nothing horrible is there to fear and the world didn’t come to an end, they start to relax and feel comfortable then.

So, if you’re going to change the way you feel about anything, you’ll have to start by changing your thoughts and beliefs about it. When you fail at something, instead of being disappointed and depressed, view it as a chance to do better and to look for something to improve. If you couldn’t go for a walk because it’s raining, don’t be upset and look for something else to enjoy doing instead.

3- Learn to distinguish between healthy negative feelings and unhealthy ones:

Although we’re constantly looking for positivity, it is as vital for us to feel negative feelings. it helps us, change, learn and be the person we are today. It’s normal to feel sad when in grief, after the death of someone you love, or after a breakup or a divorce… it’s healthy to let yourself grief and not sustain it. But at some point, the grief might become unhealthy. It is once you start to dwell on your loss, insist that you have nothing left for you to live for and complain about the world being unfair and so cruel to you. Right then, you’re not feeling a healthy grief, you’re rather making yourself severely depressed.

The thing is, while we can’t control the circumstances of our lives, we still can control the way we feel about those circumstances by deciding the thoughts we want to think.

Instead of saying that life is now meaningless or believing that you’ll never be happy again, start thinking differently; go on, for example, like this:” I’m not alone, a lot out there are grieving and a lot have lost and still they moved on with their lives. This won’t remain the way it is right now This is a normal reaction that will take some time, eventually, I’ll feel better with time. There’s more to life, I might not be feeling too hopeful about life right now, but I do believe that life will get better, I will get better…”

So, it’s not exactly the situation, as much as it is what you tell yourself about the situation.

4- Be aware of global rating:

To fail in doing something, doesn’t make you a failure. Because as being a failure, that would mean that you’ll fail in anything you’ll do. You make it a fact and thus you’ll find yourself unable to take actions on your goals. So, the solution for this is unconditional self-acceptance; to enjoy yourself even when you fail and to view failure as a detached experience that doesn’t make you a failure which means that it might not happen again and instead you might succeed.

This shall do to solve the matter once you’re aware of you global rating yourself. However, this is not usually the case, in fact, some people don’t even let themselves experience, let alone fail. They’re already failures in their minds with no previous fail experience. For example, someone who’s studying to be a doctor and having some troubles getting along with his mates at college might end up thinking that he isn’t adequate to be a doctor because he isn’t enjoying it, thus he’s a failure and so he wants to quit college. This person isn’t aware that the reason why he feels like he can’t be a doctor isn’t that he might fail, but feeling uncomfortable about anything related to his college because of having some problems with his mates.

5- Overcome your complexes by thinking rationally:

We all have some traits that we feel bad about. It isn’t like there’s some ideal personality or a set of traits one should have. We’re meant to be special and not perfect. For that, any trait you have, good or bad according to you, shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable. Like for example if one is shy occasionally, this shyness might cause him complexes, for he might be in a discomfort when talking to people or when being watched. Now, he still can feel shy and not have any complexes about it at all. For it’s not about having the unwanted trait, rather it’s about his ideas about the trait. He can say: “This trait makes me uncomfortable and unable to perform well, thus I must be unworthy.” Or he can say instead: “I can be a shy person, but that never makes me unworthy.” And by saying this, he will have no complexes about his shyness and will accept himself and try to manage his shyness so that it won’t be a problem anymore.

6- Change your attitude about loss:

When you lose something you desire, it’s quite normal to be sad, this is a rational reaction. But what is irrational, is to feel utterly depressed and overwhelmed over your loss. A loss can be an unfortunate event however, it shouldn’t be viewed as awful. For awfulness means that the loss is so bad that it absolutely mustn’t exist, that it’s one hundred percent bad, which cannot be true, for it can always get worse.

Awfulizing makes your feelings of grief worse than they otherwise would be and makes you less able to cope with the loss.

Like for example when your mate rejects you. You can consider it as an unfortunate event and feel sad over it, that way you imply that it would be fortunate to relate to another partner. Or you can view it as an absolutely awful event and then you’ll tend to do little about it except putting yourself down for creating such an awful result, foolishly predict that you can never have a desirable relationship and convince yourself that you’re an undesirable person who doesn’t deserve acceptance.

And that’s how big of a difference the way you view your loss makes.

7- Remember that you don’t need approval to survive:

Certainly, it would be most convenient, if we had enough social acceptance. It’s quite normal for us to want love and care. However, wanting and preferring is different from needing. For needs mean something utterly required for life and happiness and approval shouldn’t be a need for several reasons:

- If you could get some approval from those around you and presumably love you and care for you, you will probably never get anyone to love you the way you demand.
- Even if you did get the approval, you’ll be constantly anxious that he or she might stop loving you or might leave you.
- If you always need approval, then you need to be always at your best, but who is? We’re bound to have bad days every now and then; bad hair day, bad mood, getting sick… and if you’re relying on approval from others how will you manage on those days, when you can’t be at your best.
- It is impossible for anyone to be able to spend the amount of energy and time that will grant him approval at any given moment.

So, the only solution for this problem is to give up the idea that you must have the approval to be worthy, because you’re only worthy when you believe so regardless of what you, what you say or what others think of you.

8- Reduce your dire fear of failure:

The idea that you must be thoroughly competent, adequate and achieving, is a common irrational belief many people dwell on. This implies that you have a value as a person only when you accomplish something, otherwise, you might as well curl up and die. Such idea includes several irrationalities:

- No one can be competent and achieving all the time.
- Achievement does not increase your value and worth as a person, nor do your failures lower your worth, even if you might “temporarily” feel worthier after an achievement.
- To raise your “ego” by achievement is a false pride. Feeling better doesn’t make you a better person. You are worthy and deserving simply because you exist because you’re alive.
- You’re not just an activity, being a teacher doesn’t make you just a teacher, and you don’t have value as much as that particular activity. You have many other things you do.
- Overworking can be painful and uncomfortable and you might end up not enjoying yourself at all.
- Often people have an urge need to surpass others and show them that they’re better, but if someone has inferior traits, does that make you better than him?
- If you strive frantically for success, you develop and anxiety for failure, you hold yourself from taking risks and if you make mistakes, you feel depressed about them and do little to learn and fix them.

The solution for this problem is to accept yourself, whether you succeed or fail. Definitely is would be most convenient if you would succeed, but even if you failed, that failure doesn’t make you less of a person.

As a result of accepting yourself:

- You start accepting that your performance might be less than what you would like it to be at times.
- Your dire need for success disappears and you stop all your self-blaming.
- You start enjoying your work remarkably and you will probably perform better than when you’re obsessing about succeeding and outperforming others.

Change Your Life Now: How To Live More Rationally In 15 Simple Steps (Part II)

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