Our thoughts determine our lifestyle. Many people suffer from destructive thinking. That’s why the Bible emphasized the renewing the mind, the re-programming of our thinking very strongly. It is the primary way of recovery, healing and a lifestyle filled with satisfaction and joy. The renewal of the mind has two components.
The two components of renewing of the mind
„Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails. Therefore this is what the Lord says “If you return (from this thinking), I will restore you that you may serve me; that you may serve me;” (Jeremiah 15:18-19)
The first component focuses on identifying and destroying the patterns of destructive thinking. And the second component involves replacing the lies with the truth. Thus we can develop a life-asserting mindset. This is a mindset in harmony with the spiritual reality shown in God’s Word. What is the process of forming of destructive thinking? And what characteristics does such thinking have?
Main indicators of destructive thinking
The most important thing about a false, destructive way of thinking is that it deviates and distorts the reality shown in God’s Word. It distorts the truth about ourselves, God, others, to the world. In other words, it is a kind of distorted perception of reality. Like a distorted filter through which we look at everything and make choices and decisions.
As a result of destructive thinking people can develop the following problems:
- Permanently recurring episodes of depression, discouragement, hopelessness, anxiety
- Feeling of inferiority, and being a failure, being not enough
- Deteriorated, dysfunctional relationships
- Inability to take responsibility
- Blocked goals
Forming of the destructive thinking
The entrance door of destructive thinking is almost always a traumatic experience. One of the definitions of psychological trauma is: “harm to man’s mental health as a result of the intense impact of unfavorable environmental factors or severely emotional, stressful effects of others on his psyche.” For example experienced оr inflicted violence and misuse (psychological, verbal, physical), rejection, humiliation. Or any kind of heavy or sudden loss of things and people we value. For example loved ones, job, health, fertility, etc.
Particularly “fruitful” are traumas in the family, those with high intensity and/or duration. These are traumas and wounds we have not processed. The trauma which is not properly healed is an open door for drawing wrong conclusions based on one’s own experiences. In its turn, it develops into a fixed distortion of reality and misconceptions.
Once rooted, false thinking and beliefs begin to bear fruit such as bitterness, guilt, aggression, and depression. This leads to a lasting destructive change of thinking and a defensive way of living. As a result, a person is blocked from being himself and achieving goals, from realizing one’s potential. The end result of a mindset, woven by a multitude of deeply rooted misconceptions, is separation from the true self. This usually manifests in diseases of the soul and body.
Examples of such false beliefs:
- Regarding God – we think He can not be trusted. We view Him as a cruel judge, unjust, a distant observer. We identify God directly or indirectly as the cause of the trauma, or the one, who has not prevented it. The book of Job is a brilliant illustration.
- Regarding ourselves – a complex of inferiority and self-perception as a victim. Identification with the trauma that becomes determinant for the identity.
- Regarding others – we think they should not be allowed too close. We feel contempt, mistrust, isolation, inability to share, etc. We see others again as the cause or possible cause of hurt and pain.
- The world – we see it as a bad place to live without a future and hope. Source of suffering and problems.
In addition, any subsequent trauma reinforces the destructive mindset. And in its turn, it defines and programs the way we live. So it is not easy to break this cycle.
However, there is a way out and hope. In the next post, we will look at the way out God points to and guides us along.
Do you struggle with some of the false beliefs mentioned in this post? Come and share your thoughts in the comments!