In this second part, you’ll learn about some of the reasons why you need to stop negative thinking and also how to rid yourself of some of those negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are an everyday occurrence. Often times you’ll engage in these types of conversations with yourself without conscious choosing.
Why should you rid yourself of negative thinking?
If you tell yourself something long enough, you’ll start to believe it.
This is referred to as a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If you keep telling yourself you’re a bad person, you’ll not only start to believe it, but you will also begin to live it. Sooner than later, this way of thinking will begin to affect every aspect of your life. You will find stress within your relationship and friendships with others. Your performance and quality of work in your job will begin to diminish. Your overall health, both physically and emotionally, will feel extremely taxed. Soon everything in your life feels like a struggle, like the ascent of a mountain where you can not see the top.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
So, how do you rid yourself of negative thinking? Here’s the most important point of all – you don’t! Yes, you read that sentence correctly. It’s virtually impossible to keep those negative thoughts at bay. They are going to come and go in your life whether you want them to or not.
I disagree with the “professionals” who teach and preach the concept of replacing your negative thinking with positive. Is it really that simple? No! Right now, I want you to think about a dessert/treat item you really like. Close your eyes and picture it in your head. Can you see it? Can you describe what it looks like? Can you smell it? Can you sense whether it’s cold or hot, hard or smooth? Can you describe how it tastes? Ok, now stop thinking about that delicious item! Can you stop thinking about it? Of course not!
How to rid yourself of negative thinking.
The core principle to remember is acceptance. You need to accept the fact that you are going to have negative thoughts. Everyone has them. The goal here is to embrace those thoughts for what they are – just words – and let go of struggling with them. If you start expecting them to just go away, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration and a whole bunch of unnecessary struggles. Harboring those negative thoughts and feeding upon them is exhausting and non-productive.
As you think about your thoughts, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it helpful?
- If I pay more attention to this thought, will it help me create the life I want?
- Is this an old thought?
- Have I heard it before?
- Do I gain anything useful from listening to it?
- Does this thought help me take effective action to improve my life?
- What would I get for buying into this thought?
After reviewing your answers to the above questions, can you honestly admit that your negative thoughts are helpful? Probably not!
It’s not about countering your negative thinking with positive. It’s about accepting the fact that you are having those negative thoughts and choosing to move forward instead.
How do other people and society as a whole influence your thoughts?
How many times do you listen to the opinions of others? How many times do you compare yourself to others? How many times do you say to yourself you wish you were like another? Well, the fact is you and your life are not a contest! The only person you should be in a contest with is yourself. Just try to be a better person than you were last year, last month, last week and even yesterday.
During these Rio Olympic games, there are no gold medals to be earned for beating yourself up with negative thinking. Yes, all of this is easier said than done. As a stepping stone, be kind to yourself! Practice considering whether your negative thoughts are helpful. One step at a time and steady the pace.
One last thing, you haven’t forgotten about your favorite dessert/treat item have you? I didn’t think so. I’m going to go have a large ice cream sundae!