My First Tip for Changing Your Toxic Behaviors

My First Tip for Changing Your Toxic Behaviors

Maybe you ghost people

Maybe you don’t communicate properly

Maybe you have to always be in control of everyone and everything

Maybe you constantly need reassurance from others

Maybe you hop, skip, and jump to conclusions

Maybe you constantly compare yourself to others

Maybe you constantly doubt yourself

Maybe you let people take advantage of you

We all have things that we want to fix about ourselves. Toxic traits that we want to put behind us. Self-defeating behaviors that we want to quit. Unhealthy thought patterns that we want to let go of. I’m all for self-improvement, but maybe we need to re-think fixing ourselves. After all, the term “fixing” implies that we are broken. Maybe, real healing starts when we take a moment to discover the “why” behind it all.

“Healing is not fixing yourself, it’s discovering yourself”

@theholisticpsyhologist

I’ll use my own example of recent self-discovery…

Unfortunately, I can be a passive person, especially when it comes to expressing my wants or needs to others. I also have a bad habit of assuming that people know what I want or need, instead of communicating like an adult. Obviously being passive has been problematic for me in many different aspects of my life, and I’ve been saying that I need to fix it for a while now.  Until recently I had never really thought about why I have such an issue with expressing my wants and needs. The ugly truth is that sometimes I fear being told no or being rejected. Sometimes I’m just being hella prideful. Sometimes I think that my wants and needs don’t matter. Sometimes I may even sub-consciously believe that I’m underserving of the things that I want and need.

So how do we begin to change our toxic traits, self-defeating behaviors, and unhealthy thinking patterns? While I don’t have a complete answer, I do have a tip..

Examine your core beliefs.

Simply put, core beliefs are the central ideas that we have about ourselves. Some common negative core beliefs people have are:

I am unlovable

I can’t trust others

My needs are unimportant 

People will end up leaving me

I am weak

I can’t do anything right 

I have to be perfect

I’m not good enough

People will leave if I set boundaries 

I am bad

I am worthless

You might resonate with one or even a few of these. You might wonder how on earth someone could ever believe that about themselves. Either way, negative core beliefs are real and they have a huge influence on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Our core beliefs are not something that we are born with, but rather effects of our childhood experiences or even difficult experiences in adulthood. Negative core beliefs affect our relationships with ourselves and others. Negative core beliefs affect our decision-making and reactions to the world around us. They shape who we are. Lucky for us, even the most deeply-rooted core beliefs can be changed, thus changing the way we think, act, and feel.

Stay tuned for my next post where I give even more tips for changing your toxic and self-defeating behaviors. Until then, take time to discover what your core beliefs are and how they have affected you.

My Plate Is Full and I’m The One Who Fixed It

It’s the second week of the spring semester and I already feel overwhelmed and annoyed. I thought I would have at least made it a month before these feelings showed up. In my defense I have a lot going on. I’m balancing three classes, an internship, two jobs, my blog, going to the gym, and maintaining a social life. 

Today I got home at about 4:00 PM and went straight for an unopened bottle of red wine that I had in the fridge… it’s only Wednesday. 

Alright, I’m done venting and complaining so now here comes the good stuff…

I don’t remember where I saw this quote at but it goes “I can’t complain about having a lot on my plate when the goal was to eat”. I’ve pretty much been reciting that quote over and over again to myself because it’s so incredibly true . My goals include graduating, learning more in the mental health field, advocating for mental health and wellness, inspiring my peers, losing weight, and living my best life. Everything that I’m doing is a step towards each of those goals in some way or another.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed or negative, I try really hard to replace those feelings with an attitude of gratitude. I can’t thank God enough for the opportunities that I have been given to learn and grow, both personally and professionally. I look back on last year when I was working at a job that I HATED and it’s like how could I complain??? LOOK AT WHAT GOD DID. Everything that I’m doing right now, I prayed for at an earlier time. Everything that I’m doing right now is preparing me for greatness. 

When I start to have that attitude of gratitude (and have some wine) I feel a heck of a lot better, and it’s like I’m excited about my goals all over again.

If you can relate to this post in any way I just want to say that; 

You’re amazing. 

You can do anything you put your mind to. 

Be mindful of how you’re doing mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Take care of yourself.

You got this. 

First Time Experience: Seeing a Therapist

First Time Experience: Seeing a Therapist

Since the very beginning of my graduate program, professors have suggested the students see a therapist at least once. I remember thinking “I just want to be a therapist, I don’t want to see one”.  As I became more knowledgable on the topic of mental health and wellness, I began to realize that the suggestion was not so crazy after all. Then finally came the time when my own mental well-being was in jeopardy.

Think of mental health as a continuum. On the far left you have “mental well-being” and on the far right you have “mental illness”. Well in September of 2018, I was slowly but surely sliding on over to the right. Each day I slid a little bit more until finally, I had an emotional breakdown at work (in private, Thank God). I decided “Ok, it may be time to talk to someone”.

Honestly, I wasn’t too sure if I was depressed. All I knew is that something was wrong. Crying every day, feeling unmotivated, and constant negative thoughts was not healthy.

I started my search by going to my health insurance website. I was given a list of therapists that were in my network and would take my insurance. I went through each listing and went to their website (if they even had one). I researched their education background, what disorders they specialized in, and what methods of treatment they used. It was important to me to find a therapist of color, so I looked for that as well. 

I found one that looked promising and contacted her. We spoke briefly about what was going on and scheduled an appointment for the next day. I was so nervous the night before and even thought about cancelling because what if I wasn’t even depressed? What if I was wasting her time and my time? Then my boyfriend assured me that I was making the right decision. He said something along the lines of “Therapy is like prayer, you don’t only have to use it when something is really wrong”. Amen.

I went to my first session at 9:00 AM the next morning, and from that very first session she told me that she didn’t believe me to be depressed. She did however, believe that I was having a hard time mentally and emotionally. 

So, I wasn’t clinically depressed but let me tell you the reasons I went on to see her a few more times…

I did not lie on a couch while being asked “So how does that make you feel?” every two minutes

I don’t know why therapy is portrayed that way. That is not how any of this works. 

I was able to talk freely about my issues without being judged

Sometimes friends, family, and significant others can end up being judgmental without necessarily trying to. Plus, it’s helpful to get perspective from someone other than them. 

I didn’t feel like my issues were being minimized 

Example: “Mom, I’m sad” “you ain’t got nothing to be sad about, you got a roof over your head”.

I got to talk about different aspects of my life

I went for a specific problem but I was asked about my friends, family, boyfriend, work, and school. It was helpful to address all those areas of my life as well.

I felt like I was being listened to 

We’re talking about active listening here, not everyone has that skill.

I was allowed to cry

It’s nice to cry without feeling dumb or feeling compelled to apologize for it. 

I was challenged 

Yes, therapists should be empathetic and understanding. They should also give feedback and challenge you to new ways of thinking and behaving.

I felt comfortable 

My therapist was a black woman. She was very personable. Our conversation flowed easily. Her office was really cute and felt very welcoming. 

I feel very lucky to have had a great first experience seeing a therapist. I feel that I was properly helped and still keep in mind the things that I learned. I would, without a doubt, go back should I feel I need to. In my personal opinion, everyone could benefit from talking to a professional. We are all human beings with either issues, hard times, past traumas, dysfunctional thoughts, bad habits, unhealed wounds, or toxic behaviors. Some of us battle with these things more than others. Some of us deal with these things better than others. 

Therapy is not bad. Therapy is not only for certain people. Therapy does not make you weak.