Toxic thoughts can stop you from finding true happiness. For women living the StrongBlackWoman archetype, these toxic thoughts can take many forms. Thinking that your public identity is supposed to refute historical negative stereotypes, change negative images to positive ones by living an example of strength, and prove Blacks worthy of respect can create a very stressful personal environment.
Under those circumstances, thinking that you do not and cannot live up to the “perfect image” and the negative emotions that go along with those thoughts can drain you. They can affect each experience you have and make you feel resentful.
Beware of these toxic thoughts and use the counter-strategies listed below to increase your happiness:
1. I’ll always be alone. Being lonely and feeling isolated are normal human emotions. However, they become toxic when you think that things will always be this way.
This toxic thought can make you feel that you’re the only person on the planet. It can make you believe that you’ll never find lasting love or a partner. And it can stop you from feeling joy in your life.
Instead of thinking you’ll always be alone, focus on what you already have. Do you have loving parents or siblings? Do you have amazing friends or coworkers? If you look carefully, you’ll see you’re never truly alone.
2. I hate my body. Hating your body can be one of the most toxic thoughts in your mind, and this territory is all-too-familiar for Black women. Conflicting and negative messages from society and popular media can have StrongBlackWomen believing that they are too much of some things and not enough of anything. It can lead to eating disorders, self-esteem issues, and other challenges. Everyone can find an imperfection, but it’s important to avoid dwelling on them.
Understand that your body is a gift. It’s part of what makes you unique. Notice the things you do like about your body. Accentuate those characteristics, focus on them, and you’ll find it easier to start loving the body you have.
3. I’m not happy with my career. Your job can make you feel unhappy, but it’s another toxic thought that drags you down instead of lifting you up. Try to avoid thinking about how much you hate your work.
Of course, you may pursue a different career path. Seek out new work without dwelling on your hatred for the current job. Follow your passion for a new career without anger and resentment. It’s always more beneficial to go toward something instead of away from something else, and make sure you have financial stability by ensuring you have another position before quitting your current one.
4. I’m not worthy. This toxic thought can wear many outfits. You may feel that you’re not worthy of love, success, money, or other things. You may believe that you always have to suffer and struggle. You may decide that you’re not meant for greater things.
However, this toxic thought can stop you from enjoying life and finding happiness.
These feelings of worthlessness are only in your mind. You’re a unique person who has value, but you’ve convinced yourself otherwise.
Often, this toxic thought comes from what you think others are thinking about you. You falsely assume that others don’t see any value in you, so you’re self-esteem sinks to a low level.
Consider starting a new game: congratulate yourself each time you do something right. Find things that you do satisfactorily. Even small ones count. For example, if you made a tasty breakfast, congratulate yourself. If you like the outfit you’re wearing, kudos to you for picking out something nice. Let your thoughts dwell on what you do right!
5. I don’t have enough. This toxic thought can manifest itself in multiple ways, such as thinking you don’t have enough money, skills, talents, or abilities. You may also think you don’t have enough connections, friends, children, or things.
Scarcity thoughts stop you from appreciating what you already have around you. They prevent you from finding joy in being thankful. With these thoughts, you may never have enough material possessions or people to love, regardless of how many you actually have.
You can certainly strive for more, but it’s important to also be thankful for what you do have.
Toxic thoughts are easy to create and often hard to eliminate. They can overwhelm you if you aren’t careful. If toxic thoughts have gotten a hold on you, it’s important to take consistent action to shoo them out of your mind.
Notice when these toxic thoughts arise. Immediately, switch that thought to one that’s more positive and uplifts you – and use the power of your voice to speak the positive thought out loud. Meditate, repeat affirmations, and try these ideas to loosen the grip of toxic thoughts. Do these actions consistently, and you’ll find that things work out for your benefit more often.