Few of us will go through life without being attacked by doubt. But how we deal with it can be telling. It can be the difference between achieving our goals and failing. One important factor is our faith but how can we use this to combat those nagging doubts?
Psychology of Doubt
For many of us, there’s a voice buried deep in our minds. It tells us we aren’t good enough. Or that we can’t succeed in what we want to do. Sometimes the voice sounds like an overly critical parent. Perhaps it is another important adult in our young lives. Other times it is our own voice, grabbing at excuses why we can’t do things.
This is where the psychology of doubt comes in – how to understand why we doubt ourselves. Most psychologists will have run into many variations. And the price of dealing with them can be high. If doubt wins, we don’t live to our maximum. We give up on hopes and dreams because we think we can’t fulfil them. We leave relationships because we doubt that we can make it last.
Why we doubt ourselves
So why do we doubt ourselves? Why do we listen to that little voice and put stock in what it says? There are lots of reasons. For example, if that voice is someone important in our lives, we believe what they say. You have heard a story all our life –you aren’t as clever as your brother. Or you don’t learn as quickly as your sister. There are thousands of examples and all establish that self-doubt in our minds.
Sometimes doubt is contagious. We might have some self-belief, but we hang out with others who have none. And their constant negativity rubs off. Ever found yourself listening to someone put themselves down for an hour and then do the same thing about yourself? That’s when doubt is contagious and worse, we start to believe it.
Sometimes doubt is like that scruffy old jumper you just can’t throw away. It doesn’t look good; the material is scratchy, and you hate the colour, but you can’t part with it. Doubt can be like that. You get these doubts in your head and it can feel comfortable to have them there. We use them to justify not doing things. Like applying for that job or putting in for that promotion. Approaching that person in a bar or replying to a message on a dating app.
In fact, negativity can be addictive. Think about it, we’ve all known those people. They would win millions on the lottery and still be miserable. They would still say they can’t do something they want to do. That’s because they are addicted to their doubts and their negativity. And it kills any pleasure they get from life.
5 ways to replace doubt with faith
So how can we combat these natural tendencies? By replacing that doubt with faith. Here are five examples of how to do this.
Track the wins
It is easy to lose track of the good stuff and focus on the bad stuff. By tracking the wins and being thankful for these, it is easier to push away those feelings of doubt. There are lots of ways you can do it from keeping a bedside journal to using a program on your smartphone. By having faith that good things will happen and keep track of them when they do, you can help push away those doubts when they manifest. And even when there’s nothing new to add, you can look back and see the times when dreams have come true.
Act to remove doubt
There are lots of inspirational quotes that can help you focus on this – the aim is to act to remove doubt. Action is a natural way to banish doubts, regardless of what type of action you take. You may feel that you will never lose that weight but if you go for a walk in the sunshine and be thankful for a beautiful day, you will feel more confident. You might doubt you will ever get that promotion but if you take the action of applying for it, you will start to believe it can happen. And have faith you are taking the right action.
Keep a journal of answered prayers
When you pray for something and that something comes to pass, you might say a quick thank you. But there’s more to do with this and it is a key part of casting off doubt. In your journal where you track those wins, make sure you add these answered prayers. Highlight them, use coloured pens, draw fancy borders around them. Whatever works to make them stand out. Then when you are feeling low and doubts are strong, they will jump out to you. They will remind you of the times that your faith has got you through and you have answers to your prayers.
Change your thinking
This might be one of the hardest but also one where your faith can be the most crucial. You can mute that voice in the back of the mind, if not silence it. But it often takes a change in your thinking. One example is to say ‘stop’ when your mind starts to listen to the voice. Instead focus on something positive, such as something from your journal. Another simple thing to do is to talk to someone. This might be someone at your church or group, someone at work or a friend. By voicing those doubts, they will be less powerful. And you can more easily banish them.
Doubt your doubts
Think about your doubts – are they so concrete that you need to pay them attention? There are lots of things we know are for certain. Gravity, for example, or the rising of the sun. Then there are other things that are worth our belief – our faith, for example. But are your doubts worth your belief? Doubt them and doubt they have any power over you. That way you can relegate them to the back of the mind. Or you can purge them from your thoughts because they aren’t worthy. And replace them instead with your faith in yourself.
Finish with those doubts
We all give in to doubts at different times. Those voices become too strong to ignore. Or situations seem to justify what those voices are saying. That’s why it is important to have your faith and to have ways to combat them. These five examples show ways you can fight off those doubts. You can replace them with something positive that will help you work towards your goals. And while you must always listen to that inner voice, you can better judge what is worth putting stock in. Or what is best to ignore and dismiss.
Dark Psychology – Never Be Manipulated Again
Do you feel that someone in your life is taking advantage of your goodwill with manipulation and lies? Or do you just want to be prepared against deception and brainwashing? Dark psychology covers a range of human behaviours that are damaging to the mental and emotional health of others. This article aims to help you identify the traits associated with dark psychology, protecting you against manipulation and more.
The evil dwelling amongst humankind has become an increasingly popular fascination amongst the mainstream, with true crime documentaries such as “Making a Murderer” and “The Staircase” making up some of the most-viewed series on Netflix. The ever-growing obsession with true crime can be somewhat baffling, but it is a popular belief among psychologists that one of the main reasons we watch so much true crime is because it helps us to feel prepared. We have never been so aware of the darker sides of the human psyche, and we naturally want to prevent becoming a victim to one ourselves.
Unlike most animals, humans have shown a tendency to sometimes lean into behaviours that are both self-destructive or destructive to our own kind. As well as the more obvious homicidal and violent behaviours, we are also very capable of lying, cheating and stealing, amongst other spiteful and hurtful behaviours. Psychologists have grappled with where these tendencies and behaviours come from, studying dark psychology and defining a Dark Triad that helps identify potentially destructive characteristics. One of the most significant ways you can protect yourself from being targeted by harmful behaviours is to dig deeper into dark psychology and learn how to identify and avoid Dark Triad traits.
What is Dark Psychology?
Simply put, dark psychology is the psychological study of those who victimise others. There are certain more insidious impulses lurking within the human psyche, and dark psychology is the pursuit of defining these impulses and seeking a further understanding of them. Dark psychology includes a range of behaviours that differ in severity, not only encompassing psychopathic behaviours, but more common behaviours such as gas-lighting and manipulation too. So, what are the most destructive human behaviours noted in dark psychology? The truth is, you may have experienced a few of these first hand.
• Craving violence
Taking some time to learn about and understand the traits of dark psychology can help you stay as safe as possible from destructive behaviours and avoid those that may attempt to prey on you. Those more likely to engage in these destructive behaviours are those who display a range of specific personality traits. Psychologists have identified three traits that are intrinsically connected to toxic behaviour, these are referred to as the “Dark Triad”.
The Dark Triad traits
The Dark Triad refers to three specific personality traits that are most often connected to toxic behaviour. These traits are narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy – so, what exactly do they mean?
• Narcissism takes its name from the myth of Narcissus, the man who drowned in his own reflection. Standard characteristics of narcissism include boasting, selfishness, arrogance, a lack of empathy and being overly sensitive to criticism.
• Machiavellianism takes its name from the 16th century figure Machiavelli who was seen to endorse the dark arts of deception and cunning in the realm of diplomacy. Typical characteristics of Machiavellianism include a lack of morals, lack of empathy, manipulation and pursuit of self-interests.
• Psychopathy is the presence of psychopathic traits such as lack of remorse and empathy, manipulation, volatility and antisocial behaviour, however the presence of psychopathic traits does not mean a person is a psychopath.
How Dark Triad traits can impact relationships
Whether in the workplace or a relationship, those displaying a selection of Dark Triad traits can quickly become toxic, having an emotional and mental impact on those around them. Many of the people that display these traits can be prone to bursts of anger and aggression, which may be characterised by them raising their voice, appearing flushed and irate or just being passive aggressive. If you begin to notice any of these warning signs, it is natural to feel threatened and seek safety, which adds to the toxic atmosphere and can make permanent emotional damage in a relationship. Frequent bursts of anger can often spill over into bullying, characterised by unnecessary criticism, belittling and rumour-spreading. Or another common behaviour: Manipulation.
Manipulation is found in relationships and the workplace more often than you might think, and you yourself may have been made victim to manipulation without fully realising it. Manipulation occurs when, instead of using the plethora of positive ways to influence someone, a person turns to their Machiavellian tendencies and uses deception and coercion. It can be hard to spot a manipulator due to the fact that they work hard to cover their tracks, however there are some tell-tale signs. These signs include excusing hurtful behaviour, adapting their personality to get something out of others, and not taking no for an answer. Manipulation can be exceptionally hard to address once it has started, especially on a personal level without the help of a professional psychologist. However, there are certain ways that will ensure you are protected against manipulation in the future.
5 ways to ensure you are never manipulated
• When possible, avoid getting too close to a person who displays the Dark Triad traits.
Although manipulators and toxic people can often find a way to sneak into someone’s life unnoticed, it is important for self-preservation to avoid getting close to someone who is displaying characteristics of the Dark Triad. Trust your gut and don’t give someone the benefit of the doubt, you may be saving yourself a lot of emotional exhaustion and pain in the long run.
• Stay emotionally detached from a person displaying the Dark Triad traits.
This is not an easy feat for anyone, especially due to the fact that you can often get too close to someone before they begin manipulating you. However, if you begin to notice them having a disregard for your emotions or wellbeing it is best to create an emotional distance between you both. Creating a barrier of detachment between you and the person in question will make it harder for any of their emotional manipulation to stick.
• Confront a manipulator about their behaviour.
Approach this one with caution, as you do not want to further aggravate someone, especially if they are already angry. However, many manipulators are so used to getting people to do what they want, that it could be helpful for them to hear someone say “no” – as much as they could make you feel bad about it. By calling out a manipulator on their behaviour, you can have the peace of mind that you stuck up for yourself.
• Keep a log of your conversations.
This will only be a necessary precaution for if you are already within the clutches of a manipulator. It is common for manipulators to lie about things that they have said or twist their original words to fit a new agenda, and they can be so adamant that they trick you into thinking you are going crazy. Don’t let someone deceive you into thinking you did something wrong. Keeping a log of each conversation after it happens means that you can be absolutely certain that you are being manipulated, and ready to take further steps to put a stop to it.
• Don’t give them what they want.
Manipulators can lay intricate traps full of interrogation, confusion and blame to get you precisely where they need you to be. Rising to their behaviour can often be exactly what they want, don’t interact with any comments or behaviour that feel even slightly toxic. Hopefully, if you give the manipulator the cold shoulder they may eventually leave you alone.
Dealing with manipulative or toxic people is never easy and can have a serious impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing. So often people fall into the hands of a manipulator as they can be extremely hard to spot before it is too late. Yet, bearing in mind the Dark Triad and trusting your gut with people who make you feel uncomfortable can help you avoid ever getting too close to someone who could hurt you.
Self-Concept Theory – Who Am I
The term self-concept, in a more general sense, is usually used in reference to how a person recognises and considers themselves. It is the awareness you have of yourself – but how exactly is this self-image created, and how does it develop as we age? The self-concept theory is a branch of psychology that considers how such self-awareness is established and developed. This article explores the self-concept theory, and how you can use it to make improvements to yourself.
What is the Self-Concept theory?
Psychologists have spent centuries studying how humans came to have such a sophisticated sense of self, but also how our self-concept shapes the interactions we have throughout our lives.
Our self-concept includes all of the aspects, such as our abilities, unique characteristics and behaviours that make up the mental picture of who we think we are. Your self-concept may include attributes like being a good friend or being particularly determined. Of course, these attributes, and our sense of self, will no doubt evolve over time. This process begins when we are younger and we naturally experiment with different identity markers and try out different styles of behaviour. Then as we get older, we grow a far more precise and fixed perception of who we are, especially as we find out what we like and what we don’t like.
The different areas that make up our idea of who we are can be divided into three components.
The three components of self-concept
According to the self-concept theory, the question “who am I?” can be answered in three parts.
This is how you physically see yourself. However, self-image merges the physical characteristics you see in yourself with the personality traits and social roles you view yourself to have too. For this reason, self-image is not the same as reality. This is how some individuals get to have a more grandiose perception of their self-image, while others may perceive themselves to have lots of flaws that are not visible to others.
Self-esteem is how a person values themselves. This component of the self can be impacted by a number of external factors, including the response we get from those around us, and how we feel we compare to others. For instance, it is generally regarded in psychology that gaining a positive response from someone will help us develop positive self-esteem. Whereas being made to feel less than others will impact our self-esteem negatively.
3. Ideal self
The ideal self is the version of ourselves that we wish we could live up to, maybe the best we could possibly be. The ideal self is usually unattainable, although we still continue to strive for it.
How to transform your self-concept
Self-concept can often be the source of our unhappiness, discontent and destruction. However, our self-concept is something that is completely changeable, and we can partake in behaviours and thoughtS that will actively transform our self-concept for the better. This process can be characterised by four key sections: building self-confidence, gaining self-worth, developing a healthy self-image and striving for a better ideal self.
Maintaining a solid and consistent level of self-confidence is an important part of navigating life and whatever it may throw at you. Having low self-confidence can leave us constantly doubting ourselves, and not having the self-assurance necessary to grow and achieve our goals. Maintaining a healthier level of self-confidence can help us go through life with more conviction and less indecision.
The key to nurturing your self-confidence is not allowing external forces to define you. Make efforts to tap into your true self-confidence within, that sense of “knowing yourself” that is buried deep into the psyche. Self-confidence should not be wholeheartedly dependent on how others perceive you, it is a part of you and you should embrace it. Take a good look at the parts of yourself that are good, the parts you like, or the skills you have mastered. These should be areas where you feel self-confidence, and with practice, you can apply the same amount of assurance to the areas that you feel less confident.
Self-worth is intrinsically linked to our self-esteem. If our self-esteem is low, we will no doubt have a much lower opinion of our worth. We can develop better self-worth by having more understanding of ourselves and our actions, taking some steps to love ourselves more, and accepting ourselves for who we are. With a solid self-worth, your life can transform for the better.
To understand yourself better, you can begin by questioning the value you already place on yourself and what influences it. Try asking yourself how you would feel about yourself if everything you owned and loved was to suddenly disappear. If it was just you, no possessions, family or friends – what would you have that is of value? This question can be truly telling of someone’s self-worth and may show you where you need to make improvements.
Once you know the areas you could improve your self-worth, a great place to start is by considering the abilities you have, and the things that you are very good at. Always make sure that the things you consider to be strengths are considered strengths by your own measure, not the measure of someone else.
Developing a healthy self-image:
Your self-image will have been developing and changing throughout your life, and could have been affected by every interaction and experience you have had. Self-image is not fixed, it can be changed over time. The aim is to partake in activities and thoughts that will help you to nurture and grow a much more positive and healthy self-image.
When it comes to growing a healthier self-image, there are a plethora of exercises online, all focusing on slowly developing a more accurate idea of yourself. It can often be the case that exploring who you really are is much like peeling back layers of an onion, gradually finding a more clear concept of who you are. Similar to the process of boosting self-worth, you can work towards a healthier self-image by considering the personal qualities and strengths that make you, you.
Striving for a better ideal self:
Your ideal self is usually what you are constantly striving for, and you can be unnecessarily harsh on yourself by not embodying it. However, more often than not we have ideas of an ideal self that are not serving us as well as they should be, so we should consider creating a different and healthier carnation of the ideal self.
When considering who you would like to become, begin by identifying those who you admire, and question why exactly you admire them. Which qualities of those you admire would you like to personally adopt yourself? However, this process is not about striving to become a different person, but rather identifying the qualities that you want to possess.
The next step for a healthier ideal self is to always consider how your ideal self would act or react in specific situations. For instance, if your ideal self is patient, then consider how a patient person would react to certain mistakes, or how they would control conflict. These thoughts can form a stepping stone to becoming more like your ideal self.
Self-concept is an often under-used tool in our arsenal, and harnessing it for good can help us go from strength to strength. However, as the previous points have shown, it is no simple and instantaneous process. It takes time and consideration to grow a greater understanding of yourself and build up an opinion of yourself that will help you sail through the pitfalls of life. Despite the time it takes, the comfort a healthy self-concept will provide you with makes it worth the time and effort. Unlike many psychological matters, transforming your self-awareness will not cost any money, so you can begin on your path to a transformed self-concept simply by setting daily or weekly objectives and giving yourself a pat on the back for your progress.
Control Your Subconscious Mind – 5 Changes You Can Make Today
We will be looking at 5 changes that you can make today in order to control your subconscious mind. This will help to achieve everything you truly desire, whether this is about your dream job or it may be something as simple as you wanting to be happy.
Two-thirds of the population believes a myth that has been propagated for over a century: that we use only 10 percent of our brains. However, what we do know is that our subconscious mind runs and controls almost everything that we do.
What Is Your Subconscious Mind?
All thought generated in the mind consists of your conscious and subconscious. Your conscious mind is your objective or thinking mind. It has no memory and it can only hold one thought at a time.
The subconscious mind is a powerful secondary system which runs everything in your life. This is a data bank of everything which consists of your beliefs, experiences, memories and skills. Whenever you have ever had an idea, an emotion or a memory from the past, this is the communication from your subconscious mind to the conscious mind.
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality” — Earl Nightingale
Your subconscious mind processes everything and it would only pass the information which is relevant for you at that moment in time. Your conscious mind, is the means in which the subconscious receives its information. Your mind works to create or bring into the physical world your “truth” or “reality” based on your individual beliefs, perceptions and experiences.
What Happens When You Have A Thought?
When you have a thought, it is first analysed by your conscious mind. The conscious mind then attaches an emotion to the thought based on its interpretation. This then establishes a belief and is stored into the subconscious mind as “your truth”.
This “truth” can then be recalled and assessed in the future by the conscious mind to support or discredit future thoughts by the conscious mind.
For example, when you are lying in bed late at night and hear something go “bump”, if you let your thoughts and imagination wander to all the horrible things that might happen, then your subconscious will throw up the feelings, emotions, and memories of past events that you’ve associated with those thoughts. It is your subconscious’s way of protecting you and preparing you for fight or flight in those situations. On the other hand, if you consciously tell yourself and direct your focus to more rational, calming thoughts, then the feelings will subside or disappear.
Now, lets look at how to control your subconscious mind.
1. Observe Your Thoughts
In order to control your subconscious mind, it is important to first observe your thought process and see which thoughts are generating an emotional response within you. You must imminently try and stop negatives thoughts as they appear and not allow them to become subjective by giving them a feeling.
It is possible that empowering your subconscious mind with negative thoughts, can have a very dangerous, harmful affect on your mind. The subconscious mind will begin to work against you. This includes emotions and thoughts relating to revenge, envy and blame. These thoughts will train the subconscious mind to either take comments very personally, constantly compare yourself to others or blaming others for difficulties within your life.
Whereas with positive thoughts, the opposite will occur. You should permeate the feeling and repeat the thoughts within your mind and your subconscious mind will get to work bringing the means and resources to maintain that feeling.
2. Ask Yourself Quality Questions
Asking yourself good/challenging questions allows your subconscious mind to make connections and gives your mind something to do. It is also important to focus on the question itself which will make a big difference.
If you were to ask yourself “how can I stop feeling tired all the time?”, this would constitute a negative question and the focus of the question is that you are feeling tired and therefore the resulting thoughts and feelings will reflect this focus.
If you were to however ask yourself “How can I re-energise myself this week?”, the focus is positive and is focused on re-energising. By including a specific time frame you are also setting nice manageable parameters for your subconscious to adhere to.
3. Understand The Importance of Affirmations
Saying positive affirmations to yourself is a great way to control your subconscious mind. A consistent habit of positive “self-talk” will eventually work its way into your subconscious, allowing these thoughts to take over. The same way in which negative self-talk can put you down or attract negative thoughts throughout your day, positive affirmations will attract positive thoughts into your subconscious.
The subconscious mind plays a big role in how we behave and experience reality. If you want to have more control over your life, you need to learn to acknowledge this rather than fear it.
It is important that you come up with your own affirmations or to read affirmations which invoke a positive emotional response. Affirmations must contain positive words, they should be in the present tense (even if you are still not there yet) and it has to be relevant to a specific situation allowing you to think about the things you wish to achieve.
Once you have come up with a set of affirmations, you need to use them daily (as a minimum) in order for them to be effective. Saying your affirmations at night until you drift off has been very powerful as it reaches the subconscious mind more readily. Being able to take an affirmation into the sleep state will continue to influence the subconscious mind during your sleep.
4. Create A Vision Board
A vision board is a powerful tool which allows you to manifest your life’s desires. This is a board consisting of a collage of pictures and words which represent what you are going to achieve or what you wish to achieve. This works exceptionally well if you have made your vision board with more than just pictures but also by connecting emotions to your visions.
In the same way that you would set up your goals for the future, the vision board will allow you to subconsciously increase the desire to achieve that goal. Without a strong desire, you will settle for less. This is why most people are not living their dreams. This would also include thinking about what sounds, smells and sights are associated with a particular aspect of your visions. It is also very important to envision yourself having already achieved your vision.
The Vision Board should also be placed in a location where you are likely to see it first thing in the morning and the last thing before you go to sleep.
One of the biggest benefits from having a vision board is that there are no restrictions and the sky is the limit. You can be, do or have anything that you want to. You are not bound by the restrictions of your physical world and you are free to think and want whatever you wish. The ability to have the power to wish for anything will make you unleash your inner greatness.
5. Identify Your Resistance
When your subconscious mind holds you back from pursuing something that you love or something you know you deserve, it is because you are holding a conflicting belief about it.
It is important that you identify with what this resistance is and question why you are holding yourself back from it. You may believe that you are not ready for the job or you do not meet the exact criteria that the employers are looking for. It is at this stage that you are becoming a barrier to your own progression. By attaching these emotions, you are training your subconscious mind to become a barrier and a resistance to moving forward as these fears relating to self-worth will continue to arise at every opportunity given.
We have to learn to program our subconscious mind so we can block out the negative thoughts in order to encourage the acceptance of positive affirmations. We are able to achieve mental and emotional stability by casting aside our ego and opening ourselves to wonders which we can achieve by embracing our subconscious mind.
I would like to end with sharing a poem which I read every morning that has helped me in the past with my career and has continued to motivate me daily. The name of the poem is Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be.
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance.
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears.
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul”
This poem was also very important to Nelson Mandela during his time in prison. Whenever Mandela lost courage or felt like giving up, he would recite this poem and it would give him what he needed to keep going.
Comment below and let me know which of these changes you have made and what result it has made to your daily life or in achieving what you desire.
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