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Today is Christmas. And if I could give you one gift, it would be freedom from your own poisonous thoughts and beliefs.

Since I can’t actually give that to you, I hope that you’ll take these words and give this gift to yourself.

Our minds are extremely powerful tools— much more powerful than any other tool on the planet. They are capable of shaping our entire reality.

And, when poisoned by negative thoughts and beliefs, the reality they shape isn’t a pleasant one. This super powerful tool we have in our possession then works against us and becomes a source of self-sabotage and limitation.

In this article, we’ll explore how poisonous thoughts and beliefs hold us back and discuss strategies for breaking free from their clutches. We will also delve into the importance of giving ourselves grace and offering forgiveness as essential steps on the path to personal growth.

The Chains of Poisonous Thoughts and Beliefs

We could fill an entire volume of encyclopedias with the poisonous thoughts and beliefs humans use to hold themselves back and keep themselves stuck. For this article, we’ll focus on some foundational areas that cause the most problems.

  1. Limiting Self-Worth Beliefs: Poisonous beliefs about our self-worth, such as “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve to be happy,” or “I’m not lovable,” create a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we believe these things, we don’t allow ourselves to be good enough, to be happy, or to be truly and deeply loved. These thoughts hold us back from what we want and from pursuing our dreams and taking risks.
  2. Negative Self-Talk: Constant self-criticism and negative self-talk can keep us stuck in cycles of self-doubt and anxiety. Believing in our inadequacy leads to missed opportunities, unrealized potential, and not living our best lives.
  3. Fear of Failure: A belief that failure is unacceptable or shameful can paralyze us, preventing us from trying new things or pushing our boundaries. We become trapped in our comfort zones without the freedom to spread our wings and fly.

Stories and Examples

Self-Worth Transformation > Early on in my blended family experience, I noticed I was walking on eggshells all the time. And I’m not a walking-on-eggshells kind of girl. I was trying so hard to do everything right and make sure everyone was happy. But I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t being myself, and I was driving myself to madness, trying to control things I couldn’t control. Through coaching, I realized that, deep down in my core, I was afraid of finding out that I was unlovable.

I am unlovable was a core belief created through past trauma that kept me shackled — unable to be myself, unable to do what I wanted to do, unable to move forward, and unable to create the life, marriage, and family that I wanted.

Only when I let go of this poisonous belief, using the coaching tools I use with my clients, did I have the freedom to move forward and love my life.

Banishing Negative Self-Talk > One of my clients, who we’ll call Emily, struggled with a deep-seated belief that she wasn’t smart enough to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Not only that, she wasn’t creative enough, clever enough, funny enough, etc. After years of negative self-talk with accompanying self-doubt, she sought help to address this issue. As we coached, she began to challenge her beliefs about herself, recognizing they were rooted in her childhood experiences. As we unraveled her poisonous thoughts and beliefs, she started to write regularly and published her first book. By giving herself grace and offering forgiveness for not pursuing her dream earlier, she was able to embrace a new chapter in her life.

Overcoming Fear of Failure > Another client, who we’ll call Sarah, had always dreamed of starting her own business but was paralyzed by the fear of failure. As we coached, she learned how to confront her fear and what was behind it. With determination, Sarah leaped, and her business faced some initial setbacks, as all businesses do. However, rather than dwelling on these failures, she used them as valuable learning experiences. By offering herself forgiveness for any missteps and maintaining a self-compassionate attitude, Sarah’s business eventually thrived.

Escaping from Their Clutches

  1. Identify Poisonous Thoughts: The first step in breaking free is identifying the poisonous thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back. Keep a journal and take note of recurring negative self-talk patterns.
  2. Challenge Negative Beliefs: When you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough,” challenge those beliefs. Ask yourself if they are based on facts or if they are simply self-imposed limitations.
  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Give yourself grace and compassion. Understand that it’s okay to have flaws and limitations; no one is perfect. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer a friend facing a similar challenge.
  4. Offer Forgiveness: Forgive yourself for past mistakes and the times you let poisonous thoughts control your actions. Remember that your past doesn’t define your future. You have the power to change.
  5. Hire a Coach: It can be difficult to identify and challenge negative beliefs on your own. Just like a fish doesn’t see the water it swims in, you often don’t see your poisonous thoughts and beliefs for what they are.

Questions to Consider

  • What poisonous thoughts and beliefs are you holding onto? Why are you choosing to keep them?
  • How do you talk to yourself when you don’t do something perfectly? Why do you choose to talk to yourself this way?
  • What do you think about yourself when you “fail”? Why?


Poisonous thoughts and beliefs can be formidable obstacles on the path to happiness.

By identifying and challenging your negative beliefs, practicing self-compassion, and offering forgiveness to yourself for past shortcomings, you can break free from their clutches.

Embrace grace and forgiveness as essential tools for happiness, and you’ll find the strength and resilience needed to pursue your dreams and live a more fulfilling life.

Remember, your past does not define your future; you have the power to shape your own destiny.

Live Free. Love Life.

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