Ever stop to notice the negative B.S. that runs through your head? “I’m a loser. I’ll never amount to anything. I can’t do anything right. No one will ever love me. I just said the dumbest thing ever.” All of us have thoughts like this, don’t we? The difference among us is that some know not to believe every thought that runs through their brain, and others take them as gospel truth.
Unfortunately negative thoughts, if we’re not aware that THEY’RE JUST THOUGHTS and not necessarily true, dictate how we live our lives. If we think we’re a piece of crap, then we act like we are, and others will treat us that way. If our thoughts disrespect and devalue us, the outside world will follow suit. Our thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The irony is that most of the stuff that runs through our heads is not even ours. We’ve been sold a bill of goods by a society that wants us to conform, our 5th grade teacher at school, the class bully, the father who left, the mother who neglected us. These people were either trying to control us, or were projecting their own misery onto us. Now their judgments and criticisms have become our own; the tape that continually plays in our head.
How can you change this? First of all, heighten your awareness about what you are thinking, and for god’s sake, DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK! Be aware that these lethal darts you’re throwing at yourself, if taken as gospel, can absolutely ruin your life. Left unchecked they become your own private torture chamber. Is that what you want? To tear yourself to shreds until you’re a whimpering, shell of a person? I don’t think so.
So when you have a put-down thought, notice it, then let it pass through rather than holding it tight and waltzing around your brain with it. Then replace the negative, with something positive…a loving thought about yourself, something you’ve done that’s good. Come on. You can do it. Being positive might not come easy since you’re so used to going in the other direction, but I can assure you, it gets easier with practice.
Another trick that has some research behind it is to write down your negative thoughts, then tear up and discard the paper. Or if you can safely burn it, that works wonders too. Watching those unwanted thoughts burn-baby-burn is wonderfully cleansing. You could also type them on your computer, then drag them to the trash bin. Wouldn’t that be fun? More than that, it works!
How about positive thoughts? A good trick for enhancing them is to jot them down, then keep them in a handy place (a pocket or purse, or taped to your office wall) where you can look at them often. The more you see them, the more positive their impact is on you.
So will you please watch what you think and not let an old negative mind tape have its way with you? How do we live our best life anyway? By thinking badly of ourselves and whipping ourselves to death? Or by forgiving ourselves for our mistakes, encouraging ourselves, giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. I know how I feel best…how about you? I would love to hear.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about how to live a great life. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.