Blocks – Excuses, Faulty Thinking or Something Else?

I wonder what it is about life? Many of us want life to change on the outside, however we tend to look for things outside of us to change, instead of looking inside? Maybe it goes back to how we grew up, our past experiences/memories or how we have been conditioned to think about life and how we view the world? Or maybe it is easier to blame or shame people or even justify what is happening on the outside instead going within? Or just think there is not enough? There are so many variables…

However, as the Lao Tzu quote indicates – “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny”.

As change starts with awareness (and acceptance), what could be some of these blocks or resistances (thoughts, beliefs, judgements, excuses or ??) be that are going on inside of us and are contributing to our outside experiences?

In Dr Wayne Dyer’s book Excuses Begone!, he talks about 18 excuses we can use in our life to remain stuck. These include –

  • “It will be difficult”
  • “It’s going to be risky”
  • “It will take a long time”
  • “There will be family drama”
  • “I don’t deserve it”
  • “It’s not my nature”
  • “I can’t afford it”
  • “No one will help me”
  • “It has never happened before”
  • “I’m not strong enough”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “I’m too old (or not old enough)”
  • “The rules won’t let me”
  • “It’s too big”
  • “I don’t have the energy”
  • “It’s my personal family history”
  • I’m too busy”
  • “I’m too scared”

Do any of these resonate with you? If so, the great news is they can be changed!

Based on the work of Aaron Beck, psychiatrist David Burns discusses 10 forms of cognitive distortions (faulty thinking) in his book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, they are as follows –

  1. All-or-nothing thinking – you see things in black-and-white categories – there is no grey. For example – if an action isn’t completed then it is entirely wrong or useless.
  2. Overgeneralisaton – you see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. For example – if it happened once, it will always happen again.
  3. Mental filter – one (negative) part of the picture is examined to the exclusion of the larger (positive) part, like the drop of ink that discolours the entire beaker of water.
  4. Disqualifying the positive – dismissing or ignoring any positive comment/achievement/compliment.
  5. Jumping to conclusions – you think negatively about something without supporting evidence. There are 2 errors:
    • Mind reading – you think without any evidence that someone is thinking negatively about you;
    • The Fortune Teller error – you truly believe that you know what will happen in the future, without evidence.
  1. Magnification (catastrophising) or minimisation – this is making small things much larger that they deserve, and making other things much smaller that they are in reality.
  2. Emotional reasoning – thinking that emotional states legitimately reflect reality. For example – “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
  3. ‘Should’ statements – thinking in terms of should, must, ought imposes a view about the way the world in which may not tie with reality, and which induces emotional unhappiness, resentment and guilt.
  4. Labeling and mislabeling – this involves describing actions or events in an over the top, emotionally coloured way. Also name-calling.
  5. Personalisation – this involves attributing blame to self for an event where the responsibility is not fully yours, only partly yours or not yours at all.

The above 10 forms or patterns of cognitive distortions (faulty thinking) are just that – patterns or habits. Subsequently, they can be broken down and dissolved over time through awareness and ongoing practice.

There are also many beliefs and judgements we can take on during our life and some of these include:

  • “I am not worthy” or “I am not a worthwhile person”
  • “I am not ________ enough” (insert pretty, smart, fit, rich, tall – basically anything!)
  • “I don’t deserve it” or “I deserve that to happen to me as I am not a nice person”
  • “I don’t have enough ________” (jnsert time, support, experience, money, brains – again nearly anything here!)
  • “There is not enough for everyone, so I will do the right thing and miss out” (going from lack instead of abundance) – I have definitely been guilty of this one!
  • “It’s not spiritual to have a lot of money”
  • “I don’t want people to think I am ________” (insert your own word here)
  • “I don’t trust myself”
  • “I am going to fail, so why bother trying?”

Maybe you can relate to some of these? Many of these blocks or resistances (thoughts, patterns, beliefs etc.) are in our subconscious mind. A little bit like the following diagram –

Levels of Consciousness

These thoughts, beliefs, judgements and patterns are also linked to feelings and emotions. Instead of turning gently towards these feelings and emotions, many people turn away from them – ignore them and pretend they are not there (until the day comes when the universe comes knocking at the door)!

The interesting thing is, with awareness (and total honesty), conscious action and alignment with our heart, many of these blocks (thoughts, excuses, beliefs and judgements) from the past lose their power. Now I am not going to say this is easy and happens over night (as my journey was quite different from that, however that was just my experience, yours will be your experience). What I will say is, life does change when we turn gently towards and face these blocks and feel the associated emotions, vulnerabilities and body sensations.

As the Buddha says – “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind” and “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

So how are you going to change your future in this moment? If you would like some support, please feel free to contact us here.


References –

Burns, D. (1980). Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. New York: New American Library.

Dyer, W. (2009). Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits. Australia: Hay House Australia Pty Ltd.


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