Most of us are probably guilty of some form of negative thinking – even if just occasionally. Do you notice when negative, self-destructive thoughts creep into your mind? Many of us will discourage ourselves with negative self-talk without even realising we are doing so. Becoming aware of our language and thoughts will bring these processes to our attention and then we can begin to change them.
Are you sending yourself negative messages? Look at the examples below and see if you recognise any of these scenarios.
“I don’t have enough time to ……………” (go after my dreams, get healthy,indulge in my hobbies, pamper myself). If the only things you have time to do are things you feel you have to do, then life isn’t going to be much fun.
Allow time each day for those activities that you really want to include in your life. Start working towards achieving a healthy balance of fun versus mundane. Tell yourself you have plenty of time to achieve all that you want to.
Start small, if you need to, by scheduling just 30 minutes for yourself. Try mapping out a schedule of your perfect day or week. Compare that with your current schedule and notice what’s in the gap. Then start to move from your existing life to your ideal life – even if its one small activity at a time. When you proactively take control in this way and focus on what you do want, then you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can turn things around.
“Things never seem to work out for me.” This is a defeatist statement that colours how you feel about yourself. It sends a subtle self-message: “I must not be doing anything right.” In reality, you are likely to do many things well. Spend some time identifying what those things are. Also, you may be focusing too much on what doesn’t work out well and barely noticing what’s going right in your life. Think back over the past month or the past year and write a list of all the good things that have appeared in your life. Express gratitude for these and don’t dwell on the things that didn’t happen.
“I don’t deserve to have a happy life.” Perhaps choices you’ve made in the past have caused you considerable emotional pain, and you’ve been beating yourself up over those decisions ever since.However, if you’ve identified them as poor choices, hopefully you’ve learned not to repeat them and if so congratulate yourself for learning from your mistakes.
Confront this type of thinking by saying, “No, this thought isn’t right. I do deserve to have a happy life. After all, there is no such thing as a wrong choice – just an opportunity for growth and learning. Always look for the silver lining in the cloud.
“If I can’t do it perfectly, then I’m not doing it at all. ” It’s to be applauded that you want to do your best in all that you do. But how will you try anything new if it has to be done perfectly? Thinking this way will prevent you from ever venturing outside your comfort zone. Try adopting a new mantra: “If at first I don’t succeed, I’ll keep trying until I do.” Allow yourself the opportunity to make mistakes. Remind yourself that making a mistake is a real learning experience you can benefit from. Optimistically embrace your errors.
“I’m afraid to do the things I really want to do.” What are you specifically afraid of? The source of your fears could likely be embarrassment, failure, or what others will think. In reality, it’s natural to have a certain amount of fear when embarking upon something new or unknown. The key is that, even though you feel the fear, you must do the thing you want to do anyway. Don’t allow your fears to limit you. Otherwise, you’ll never know what positive things could happen as a result of your following through with your hopes and dreams.
So when negative thoughts begin to invade your mind, nip them in the bud by following the above suggestions. Remember what we focus on expands, so if we continually allow ourselves to think negative thoughts then we are likely to attract more negativity. So turn your thoughts around, think positively and start to attract more joy and serenity into your life.
Do you engage in negative self talk? What do you frequently tell yourself?