Self Leadership – How to Transform Your Own Toxic Thinking

It's like holding a beach ball under waterSelf Leadership is about gaining  mastery in the areas that make you personally your most resourceful.

Pursuing mastery by having awareness of “small” or “toxic” thinking and then having the flexibility to be able to change your thoughts by design to “resourceful thinking” is a personal leadership development skill.

What is Toxic Thinking?

They are those small thoughts that creep & ooze up from your subconscious mind into your awarenes.  They leave you weakened, and more unresourceful than before you had them.

Sometimes trying to hold back these “small thoughts” is like trying to hold beach balls  underwater”  They just keep on coming up!

You know the kind of thoughts I am talking about:

  • They are the small voices of your inner critics
  • They are the sometimes  imagined voices of  those people in your life that helped you  to strive for more in your early life
  • They are the voices of people who you might leave behind or who would be critical if you were your fully expressed self
  • They are the small voice that tries to keep you from moving outside of a safety or comfort zone – the voice that keeps you smaller that you would be – if you were fully self expressed, fully courageous and living in the wonder of the moment  all the time”

These small thoughts often come as a result of  conditioning.   Not just yours, but everyone’s.   We all have it.

The one thing that I hope you take away from reading this article is the understanding that it’s possible, with expanded awareness to recognize the limited-ness of small toxic thoughts – and let the “air” out of them.  Realize too that once you can see how something is limiting you – you can begin to choose alternate thinking.    It just takes a little focus, a little practice and a desire to live from greater awareness.

Awareness practice may not be everyone’s choice, but for those personal leaders who do start on the path, they recognize the benefits of raising awareness to their own small toxic thoughts so they can gain mastery over their own thinking.

Here are some common toxic thinking traps:

  1. Getting lost in your thoughts (loosing sight of what is meaningful)
  2. Attempting to control or otherwise limit others behaviours (Losing connection with TRUST)
  3. Taking things at face value (loosing connection with TRUTH)
  4. Looking at things from only one angle (Loosing connection with POSSIBILITIES)
  5. Waiting until the following behavior’s results aren’t want you were looking for
  6. Having a low grade toleration of  your thinking (How you think about your thinking)

Here are a few different ways to begin transforming your small toxic thoughts:

1. Be open to the truth. Become an observer of  your thoughts (not a controller). When you allow for “other” possibilities  – you are more likely to see them.    Action: Ask yourself, “How specifically do I know this to be true?”  Often, it is this specificity that has been lost from awareness.  When you recognize this – the pins fall away – and you are left in more awareness.

2. Be open to recognizing where you are judging. Comparisons can often lead to limited thinking.  By being open to new awareness of where you might be judging (in order to compare) you become more aware of where you have separated from pure awareness, because in order to make the judgment – you have created a barrier of separateness – in order to be able to get a big enough view to “judge it”.   Much more resourceful is it to have non-judgmental awareness; another self leadership skill.

3. Be flexible with your thoughts as a practice. Sometimes turning a thought on it’s head can help you quickly identify if it is truly a resourceful one for you.

4. Learn to denounce identified toxic thinking. Catch your habitual thinking before it spirals out of control.  Watch for things like repetitive thoughts.  The ones that come around and around again like they were on a hamster wheel.

5. Learn to have pure awareness through your thinking. This kind of practice can shine a light on what is small thinking and what is soul serving.

6. Search for the positive intentions behind those small thoughts. Every small thought has an unspoken request contained within it.  Lot’s of opportunities exist for finding alternative ways to get the needs of those request met (that are more resourceful) and then being able to move forward with greater certainty.  It just takes a little creativity and resourceful thinking.

7. Realize your thoughts often determine your behaviours. When you catch yourself behaving in ways counter productive to your goals, values and dreams; it just might be the insight you need to be open to transforming your thoughts to something more resourceful.

8. Relax . Because this is worth repeating, be a witness to your thinking – not a controller.   Trying to control your thoughts is like trying to hold beach balls underneath the water.  It’s hard work.  Instead – allow them to pop up and then transform them.  Then you can even have a little fun with them.

Caught in a Toxic Thinking loop? Here is a self leadership exercise to think about:

Remember a time when you felt most alive, a peak experience in time.    Replay it over in your mind – like a movie.   Remember the details.  Who you were with. What you valued about it.   What was your thinking at the time – during this peak experience.    If these thoughts were really resourceful and expansive for you  –  Why not think a little bit more having those kinds of thoughts.  How might you do that?    Our peak experiences can be great teachers and reminders of our greatness and our “big, open expansive thinking”

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