One day while I was looking in the mirror, I realized I did not know who I was anymore. I was depressed, unmotivated, and angry all the time. I would lash out at others when things would go wrong, causing many people to turn away from me. I needed to start changing my negative thinking and habits.
My eyes filled with tears as I realized I needed to change, not just for myself, but for the little boy growing in my stomach. I instantly made up my mind and began working on myself.
It has been over four years since that day, and I am still improving myself every day. Now I am hoping to inspire others to look deep within and defeat any darker aspects of themselves they may be letting run their life.
Keep reading below if you would like to learn about how I started to work on myself. Keep in mind that working on oneself is an everlasting and continuous journey. There is not a quick fix or shortcut, it is mentally challenging, and you will uncover so much about yourself you never knew, some of it may be hard to face. However, it is worth it.
You, yourself, may not need to change for the better. Though, you may know someone who does. There is a section in this post that is about helping others realize their actions may not be the greatest. Keep in mind, that these suggestions may or may not work for you.
Realizing There is a Need to Change
One of the hardest parts about changing for the better is realizing you need to change; that is if you genuinely want to improve yourself. This does not mean you are a terrible person, only that you need to work on some of your unhealthy habits. Something could have happened in your life that was not favorable, and it caused you to change your views and reactions toward certain situations.
For example, after experiencing several abusive relationships as a child, teen, and young adult, I became very defensive. I started to become physically aggressive towards the person I was with, that is if we began to argue, and it got out of hand, and they stepped toward me.
I would become like a cornered snake, striking to defend myself, even if the other person was not going to hurt me, I still believed they would. I was stuck in the mindset I was going to get hit so I better defend myself. That was not the reality, but in my head, I was stuck in the past.
Understand, I am not a violent person. I do not like physical fights at all; I don’t even like pro wrestling (though if you do, then that is great, I’m not knocking wrestling, it’s just not my favorite sport).
After I would lash out, I would tare myself down and become very harsh with myself. I would often cut my arms to make up for how I was treating others. It was a cycle of destruction I desperately needed to get out of.
**I am not proud of my past actions. There is never a time when someone should hurt someone else, except during self-defense (Personal opinion). I share my firsthand experiences to let others know they are not alone, and they too can overcome many obstacles if they have the willpower to do so.
Ways that Can Help
Everyone experiences different situations that can alter how they react to certain things. It could be pushing others away due to the fear of being afraid of becoming overly attached to someone. Or isolating yourself because you feel different in society’s eyes.
There are many examples; these are only a couple. Usually, how you react towards certain things is either how you grew up or how the events in your life played out. It can be hard to pinpoint what needs to change to grow mentally. Here are a few ways that can help:
- Make a list of the negative traits you believe you have and write down ways you can start working on them. Sometimes writing things down helps more than keeping them inside your mind.
- Think of how you treat others. Think about if you would like to be treated like that, if not, then something needs to change.
- Think of some of the things you went through in life, did it change how you viewed certain things? Why?
- Think of the people you look up to in life. Are they good or bad influences? Many people live their lives based on who inspires them.
The thing about inspiration is it can be either good or bad. For example, a serial killer may have been inspired by an earlier killer, making it a desire to kill someone for the experience.
While cancer survivors may have become inspired by the hospital that treated them, they decide to dedicate their lives to finding a cure for cancer.
As you can see, both were inspired by different intentions. While these examples are a bit on the extreme side, they still show how others can influence the mind.
- Do you often upset friends and family members with some of your actions? Do they tell you that you need to change your actions? If so, listen to them and write down what they keep getting upset about. Would it make you angry if someone said or did that to you? If so, ask yourself why you do that. Search for a deeper meaning than “I don’t know” or “it’s just the way I am.”
Pinpointing negative traits can be challenging and mentally tiring. If you become very depressed, angry, or upset, while doing this, try again later or with professional help. It’s essential to seek professional advice when things become too overwhelming. Remember, this process takes time, and it’s okay to seek advice when you need it.
Helping Others Realize They Need to Evaluate Their Actions
Let us be honest, if you go up to someone and say, “Hey, your actions suck, you need to change” it is not going to do much except cause them to become defensive. Many people do not like to be corrected, even if it is in their best interest.
So, how does someone help those who might not see the error in their ways? It can be tricky; however, you must go into what I call stealth mode. Dropping hints here and there, planting tiny positive seeds of awareness inside their minds. Here are some ideas that can help:
- Setting positive examples, yourself. Sometimes when someone does something good, it can have a ripple effect and inspire others to do the same.
- Tell them when they have wronged you or another. However, do not go into detail or argue with them. Wait a few hours until everyone is calm, then casually bring up their actions. Explain to them why their actions bother you. Waiting until everyone is calm to go into an explanation helps to avoid pointless arguments. Furthermore, they are a little more open to receiving the message.
- If the other two suggestions are not working, you could try getting a few people together who agree that there should be a change in said person’s behavior. Think of it as an intervention for helping the said person, see the error in their ways.
I have not done this, and this should probably be used in extreme cases and with the guidance of a professional, due to the backlash it may cause. This direct approach will put the other person in a defensive mode. They might say or do things they do not mean because they feel cornered. A professional can help guide the “intervention.”
- If nothing is working, then you may have to step back and realize this person does not want to change their behavior. I call this tough love. You still love the person dearly, but you no longer wish to be a part of their cycle of destruction. Sadly, a lot of people know they are in a destructive cycle, but they relish it. Stepping away from someone until they change their ways is sometimes all we can do.
These ideas may or may not work for you. Everyone is different and has a different story. I am merely trying to inspire others to become more mindful. If anything seems wrong or what I have said is untrue, let me know in the comments. I am growing and learning just as everyone else is.
What Can I Benefit from Changing My Ways?
Some of you might be sitting there thinking, “what will change do for me? Why should I change from my negative ways? What if it makes me feel worse than I feel now?”
I’ll be honest, it might make you feel worse at first. It is not easy for a lot of people to admit they need to change their ways, nor is it easy to change when they do come to the realization because it is uncomfortable.
Let’s use moving to a new state as an example. When moving to a different area, things are unknown to you. You might not know where anything is located; meeting new neighbors can be frightening, and let’s not forget, getting adjusted to the new house. It can become overwhelming, and sometimes can be a bit intimidating. Fast forward 3 months, and you’re settled, making new friends, and the feeling of uncertainty is reduced significantly.
As you can tell from the example, it might be uncomfortable at first, but with time it gets easier. Do not let the feeling of uncertainty cloud your judgment if you are changing for the better.
Training the mind is hard, and there will be times when you feel defeated. However, if you keep pushing through the hard times, you will be able to do anything you put your mind to. Instead of moving to a new state, you are moving into a new state of mind.
So, what benefits can you expect from changing negative habits? Here are a few I have gained from my experience:
- Clearer thinking
- Significantly reducing depression
- Enjoying life, a little more
- Increasing motivation
- Finding new inspiration
- People enjoy my company instead of turning away from me due to my negative energy
- Helping others find their positivity
- Smiling more
- Not being as upset when bad things happen
- Controlling the reactions to my emotions better
As you can tell, there are many benefits when it comes to examining yourself and weeding out the negativity within your mind.
In conclusion, changing negative habits are a must when it comes to bettering yourself in general. Realizing you need to change for the better can be difficult; however, it is doable.
Though, if you become too overwhelmed, it might be in your best interest to seek professional help. Remember, you are in control of your own mindset. Negative mindsets can make you see life as dull and depressive. Changing your outlook can have many positive benefits, like reducing depression and enjoying life.
Sometimes you, yourself, do not need to change, but you know someone who does. Planting tiny positive seeds of awareness into their minds can help them improve their ways. However, if they do not want to change their negative behavior, you might have to step back until they can see their actions are not acceptable. Negative actions usually start within the mind, training your brain to think more positively can help in many ways.