Sometimes, seemingly innocent thought processes can hold some majorly dangerous power. They enter into our minds when we’re weak, tired, angry, hungry, sick or feeling alone. They creep their way into our thinking and start wreaking havoc on the way we view and feel about ourselves and our lives.
They’re patterns of negative thinking that lead to nothing but frustration and pain.
At the risk of sounding “holier than thou,” let me start off by saying that even as a professional counselor, at some point in my life, I have uttered every one of the below phrases. Over the past decade, I’ve learned a lot about the power of my mind, and being careful of the things I think about. It’s true that our thoughts have so much power over our feelings and behaviors … and in turn, the things that play out in our lives.
So, if you’re single and feeling frustrated, here are a few mental traps to avoid:
1. There is Something Wrong With Me.
This mental trap is dangerous because it shifts the spotlight from God’s bigger picture to you. It’s a seemingly innocent question that makes you start to doubt who you are and who God has made you to be. Soon enough, you find yourself struggling with your personality, body image, spiritual life, and feeling like you don’t measure up.
Being single doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you—it simply means there is a bigger picture unfolding in your life.
Being single doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you—it simply means there is a bigger picture unfolding in your life. It’s important to use this time to become healthy and whole, but never at the expense of degrading yourself.
2. I’m Going to be Single Forever.
I heard a statistic once that over 90 percent of the population will get married. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but it’s funny how much comfort that truth brings to some people.
But no matter when (or whether) you’re going to find someone, this question is a mental trap because it causes you to dwell on what you may see as the worst-case scenario of your future, rather than tuning into all the good that is happening in your life here and now.
God is bigger than statistics, and He knows exactly what you need. God’s best plan for our lives is always better than our best plan, no matter what that plan entailed. So turn this worry into a prayer, because He knows what you need. Trust God with your tomorrow.
3. Everyone Else Has Someone to Love.
This mental trap is dangerous in that it magnifies the good in other’s lives,and minimizes the good in our own. Even beyond “relationship status,” we can wind up doing this with so many things in life: looking at the good all around us but failing to see the good inside of us.
God calls you to look up, at what He is doing in your life, and to look around at all He has given you. Don’t allow your thinking to fall into these extremes of seeing what everyone else seemingly has that you don’t—because your perspective of their lives is not the full truth.
4. God is Punishing Me.
God doesn’t “punish” His children in wrath, but protects them, shepherds them and leads them in love.
It’s easy to wonder if God has something against you when you’re struggling with a particular stage of life. But this mental trap is dangerous because it challenges one of the very key characteristics of God: goodness. No matter how we feel or what is going on in our lives, we need to hold on to the truth that God is good, that He is for us, and that His plans for our lives are better than we could expect or imagine. Nothing is truer than that.
God doesn’t “punish” His children in wrath, but protects them, shepherds them and leads them in love. Rather than allowing these lies and worries to taint our perspective of God, we need to focus on who He actually is and remember His great promises to take care of us.
As a Christian and therapist I truly believe that so much of how we live comes down to what we think. May God begin to challenge, heal and transform our minds—and in turn the quality of our lives—today.