As a woman who grew up in New York, land of cynicism, I inherited some deeply ingrained negative thoughts and speech patterns. Everything was gloom and doom.
Ugh. I hate that.
This is so annoying.
There’s no way this will be good enough.
I don’t have enough.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
The list could go on and on. But here’s the thing, when I use these phrases I notice it impacts everything I do. My shoulders slump more. I’m more tense. Suddenly I feel less hopeful and confident. My mood grows more irritable. I start questioning my abilities in writing, parenting, and well, adulting.
In short, if I get verbally down on my situation, I make everything worse.
Seeing Negative Thoughts Everywhere
Since noticing them, I started seeing these patterns everywhere. They’re all over the news. I find them all over social media. In every conversation with a friend or family member, I find my breath catching.
Did you really just call yourself an idiot? Why did you just invalidate your experience by talking yourself down? Is it really impossible? Do you believe some people are essentially one thing or another? Are you truly incapable of seeing no single good thing in your life?
It is mind-blowing to hear how people speak about themselves, their loved ones, and the world. And every time they say “idiot,” or “I don’t know enough,” or call someone “bad” instead of their actions, their negative thoughts are reinforced.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Replacing Negative Thoughts
The key is to replace these negative thoughts and speech patterns with positive ones. This can be difficult – especially when everyone around you, including the media is pushing negative patterns on you. It takes practice and daily commitment until it becomes second nature. You may need to let go of some people in your life until you’ve cemented your new patterns. It’s possible you’ll have to let go of the news or social media for a little while.
That said, the changes you’ll experience are worth it. You can easily change things by using words with a positive focus. This is called reframing. For example:
I’m glad this is temporary.
This is a stepping stone to something else.
Every voice has value, and I have something important to say.
There are other ways to look at this.
I have so much in my life.
I take time to learn more everyday.
You see how this feels completely different than the statements at the beginning of this post? They feel like the opposite but they could be talking about the EXACT SAME SITUATION!
From Negative to Positive In Practice
Reframing made a big difference when I wore my wrist braces for joint issues. At first, I was grieving the loss of my hands. All I could focus on were the negatives: clunky, large, restrictive braces on my hands all the time. The velcro snagged on clothing and scratched skin.
BUT I was able to take a second look and change my thinking. I appreciated the wrist braces because they fostered healing. I am grateful they allowed me to type posts. I am grateful I was able to continue living my life because of these braces….and I am grateful the experience was temporary.
Recently I saw someone post about how they were working on a private beach on a private island. When I was younger, I would have been jealous. In fact, in 2013 or 2014, I would have been very jealous. I would have looked around at my life and said, “UGH!” among other things!
BUT… when I saw the post, I thought about what I would need to do that – the choices I would have had to make to get there. I didn’t like them. Instead, I looked at my son, knowing that every day he brings me joy (Literally I write at least 1 joy or love filled thing he brings me daily in my bullet journal!). It actually made me appreciate where I am MORE. There was no jealousy – only peace of mind, joy, and love. This was because I was able to see the choices that led me to where I am and their emotional, mental, and spiritual fruit.
All thanks to reframing!
More Strategies for Getting Rid of Negative Thoughts
There are a few things you can do to get rid of negative thoughts:
- Of course you can reframe as I suggested above – just change the words you use to talk about something from negative to positive and FEEL the difference.
- Begin a gratitude practice (see this blog post here on how to get started). They’re easy to start and yield results FAST!
- Focus on establishing stillness (it’s related – find out more about that here!). This gives you peace of mind and helps you detached from a particular outcome (which makes you more satisfied and therefore more positive).
- Rewrite your worthiness story (contact me here to find out more about this!). This is a great way to change your mood and general outlook on life!
Try out the above strategies and see how they work – you’ll be amazed at the changes you will experience in your life when you start shifting your negative thoughts to more positive ones!
What patterns could you reframe to change your experience? When have you noticed changes in your life from reframing or other practices?
Struggling with reframing your experience?
Still suffering with doubt? Guilt? Overwhelm? Fear?
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