A mindset is described as being "the established set of attitudes, inclinations and beliefs that affect an individual's interactions with others and has an influence on an individuals view of themselves."
Many times a mindset is the result of our upbringing. We inherited it from those around us when we were growing up. Sometimes the mindset was established just from being in the environment that nurtured and promoted the mindset. Other times, we may have been directly instructed: "Men don't cry". Either way, we tend to adopt the mindset of our youth or of those we hang with most of the time. At some point, for many of us, we made a very conscious decision about what our mindset was going to be. We probably didn't even call it a mindset. We said, "That's just the way I am."
We can have a negative mindset. This is typified by either verbalizing outwardly or with self talk, phrases like: "I give up, I can't do it", "I make mistakes", "I'm not good enough", "This is too hard", etc. Along with those negative mindsets, we will get stuck into over generalizations, such as, "It's always going to be this way" and "I'll never be able to learn this". To address the mindset challenge allow yourself to think one or more of these phrases:
Saying these things to yourself may seem silly at first or even uncomfortable. Do it anyway! Whenever your self talk says, "No, I've never done that" or "That's not something I'll be any good at", that is the way to think when changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Next, find times and places to be around people who DO have a growth mindset so you can learn from them and absorb from them what it feels like to have that kind of attitude toward yourself.
Whenever I meet a new client, I will ask a question something like: "tell me about your past". Almost every time the person will flash back to years back in their history and start to tell me about all the bad stuff, the hurtful experiences, the substance abuses, etc. Almost never does a person tell me about the good stuff. That's not because there was no good stuff to talk about. I think we are conditioned to focus on the negative rather than the positive. There are a host of reasons for that.
Let me suggest to you that our past wasn't very long ago. Our past is almost now. There has been a concept floating around for a while now, called "living in the NOW". That is hard to do when "now" doesn't last very long. So, while you have been reading this article, several "nows" have passed. Yesterday was our past. It was likely filled with good stuff. It was likely a day of productivity, being loved, and loving someone else. It was likely a day of sobriety. You see, when we look at our history in this way, we have even more gratitude and a positive view of ourselves.
Dr. Candace McDaniel
8021 East Thornton FWY, Suite A
Dallas, Texas 75228
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