Life doesn’t get easier, we get stronger.
We get stronger not because we necessarily become tougher, but because we learn.
We learn how to think, what to do, and how to perceive certain experiences in a way that allows us to grow and adapt to our circumstances as opposed to being defeated by them.
These are the top beliefs that you must shift if you want to become your mentally healthiest self.
1. “I have to respond to everything that bothers me.”
Throughout the course of your life, you will be confronted with people, circumstances, and situations that are at times frustrating, at times blatantly unfair, and at times completely harrowing.
Often, your judgments will be warranted. Your anger will be justified. Your response will be healthy.
However, for the sake of your own mental health, you cannot respond to every single thing that bothers you. There’s just too much stimuli. You’ll end up completely consumed by it.
You have to learn what, and who deserves your attention.
What you give your energy to is what you bring to life.
2. “I am either defined by my worst mistakes or my greatest achievements.”
This polarized way of looking at yourself is neither healthy nor realistic.
People tend to either imagine that they are defined by one of two things: the worst things about their past, or the best ones. Neither tends to be completely true.
You are defined by how you treat other people, what you show up for, how kind you are, your defining characteristics, and how others feel when they are around you.
The people who actually care about you aren’t thinking about your greatest failures or successes when they’re around you.
You can balance out your perspective by remembering you’re probably not quite as bad, nor quite as perfect, as you might want to think.
3. “My growth is contingent upon my material successes.”
It’s easy to think that our success is measured by what other people can perceive — in other words, our worldly achievements.
Whether it’s belongings, status, physical attractiveness, or whatever else, it’s almost too easy to imagine that we are merely the sum of what others can physically see.
The truth is that our inner growth is far deeper, and often far more subtle than that.
Our growth is contingent upon our willingness to reflect, make a change, rest, and change the way we think.
4. “I am the sum of other people’s opinions about me.”
Of course, you’re going to continue being afraid of other people’s opinions when you think that you’re defined by the sum of them.
Other people’s ideas of you are temporary, fleeting, constantly shifting, and largely filtered through their own feelings, beliefs, and insecurities.
Though it is true that if there’s a consensus about you, that might be worth exploring, a lot of the time, you have to take what others think with a grain of salt.
What matters far more is how you are willing to see yourself despite what their opinions may be.
5. “If I’m not the best, I’m not good enough.”
I know that the world has done a great job of convincing you that life is a competitive sport and that you are only as good as you are better than someone else.
This is simply untrue.
Another person’s beauty is not the absence of your own; another person’s success is not the absence of your own; another person’s happiness is not the absence of your own.
Every individual can experience their own version of a good, healthy, happy life.
You are not only as good as you are better than someone else.
6. “Other people only deserve my respect if they earn it.”
Everybody deserves your respect.
This is true even if you’re angry with someone, even if you disagree with their actions, even if you dislike them as a whole.
When you start deciding who deserves your respect and why you end up establishing rules and standards to give yourself respect.
It’s a toxic, vicious cycle.
If you just approach all people and treat them with dignity, you’ll find it a lot easier to have grace with yourself even when you’ve made mistakes or failed.
7. “The person I feel the strongest about is the person I’m meant to be with forever.”
The person you are meant to be with is the person you end up with.
No more, no less.
It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel, what they say or don’t say, what promises are made or not made, how electric you believe your star-crossed connection might be.
If that person does not show up and willingly commit to a relationship with you — that is not the person for you, not now, and maybe not ever.
The person you are meant to be with is the person who puts actions behind their words — nothing else to dissect.
8. “The outside world controls, and dictates, my destiny.”
When we think that the outside world has the power to take us off our path, we fear failure, or what might “fall through.”
When we become more self-aware, we recognize that even if the path may bow in a direction we didn’t anticipate, we always control the narrative and the final destination.
No matter the setback, we can always adapt, we can always adjust, and we can always learn.
It’s not about what the world doesn’t hand us — it’s about what we do with what it does.