Am I Good Enough? 5 Ways I have Found To Silent My Negative Thoughts
I don’t know about you, but I think it is easy to get dragged down with negative and destructive thoughts. I wish I didn’t care too much about what others think of me. Actually, at times I find myself making choices that aren’t necessary right for me. I find my own thoughts bullying me around. Even though, in my opinion, bullying is nothing but wicked and damaging. I get real upset every time I hear or see someone being pushed around and oppressed. And yet, it can be real hard to protest against the lies and nonsense that goes on in my own head. I’ve rejected compliments given to me many times, because of my own harmful thoughts about myself. Fact is, it’s really easy to create these fabrications in our minds. To take our personal illusions about others and then blowing them up into fictional realities, leaving us vulnerable for destructive thoughts. I try each day (even though it’s not easy) to avoid comparing myself with others. Instead I consciously try to notice my own growth and progress, thru affirmations and mindfulness. And by identifying my own strengths while working on my personal journey.
Effects of Childhood
When I was growing up, I remember the impact my environment had on my young mind. Unfortunately for reasons (cultural prejudice and racism) out of my control, I did find myself being bullied often. Frequently at school or at the playground, by peers as well as adults. Even though I was considered a tough little girl, this was very hurtful and damaging for me. Then there was the sibling rivalry, where we would at times teas and be mean to each other, which also effected my thoughts of myself. My parents could have done much better in some aspects, nevertheless, they did their best. In all reality, there are very few people who end up having an ideal childhood (ask my kids about that!). Because of all my personal experiences, I really want to affirm the importance of resolving our personal negative thoughts. Because these harmful thoughts, can eventually stop our development, and prevent us from become the best we can be.
Recognize The Great Illusion
Unfortunately not only are our thoughts influenced by our own experiences, but we are now also fighting another beast, Social media. As life has become easier in many ways, it has also become lots harder in other aspects. We now have front row seat to everyone’s lives. We can see what people eat, their “perfect kids”, and their accomplishments, where they live, who they associate with and of course all their vacations and so on. By watching this “movie” which I like to call it, it is easy to create a great illusion, a perfect front page news ( no one likes to publish their inadequacies and challenges). Our minds start a fabrication of what our lives should look like. This does not make social media all wrong, but it can become an additional crutch for our subconscious to lean on, if we allow it.
You’re In Power
None of us can truly control every single thought that enters in our head. Majority of our thoughts go on subconsciously, and few show up in our conscious. The problem occurs when a thought that is negative or damaging pops up, and we entertain that thought. For instance, “Who am I, to think that I’m smart or can be successful?”. Or how about, “Haven’t you caused enough problems?” or “My ideas are always dumb”. There are so many other painful and negative thoughts that one can have. Slowly, I’ve learned that I need to stop feeding the negative thoughts and starve them out by replacing with clear positive words. This is of course easier said than done, but the good news is, we can all rewire our thinking. We can all choose to change the quality of our thinking to positive.
Here are some specific ways that has helped me to silent the negative thoughts in my head.
*Verbalize Positive Thoughts
This has been a powerful tool for me, to communicate verbally positive words about myself. By practicing positive affirmations, we can replace our false thoughts with positive confidence about ourselves. For years I thought affirmations were silly, until I started understanding the significance of its power in our minds. By repeating specific beliefs about myself, I’m gradually becoming the person I was intended to be.
To be able to express ourselves in a non-judgmental, caring and loving environment can be very rewarding too. It can help us to realize that we should not allow negative thoughts to control our mind and actions. I’ve sat multiple times on the opposite side of the phone and just listened to people’s fears and feelings of flaws. And been able to encourage and remind them how valuable and wonderful they are, exactly the way they are. Many times I have found, that while I was the one offering a listening ear and encouraging words, I was being helped just as much with my own thinking, and encouraged to see things from greater perspective. That’s the power of helping others, it benefits the helper.
*Don’t Give Your Thoughts Any Power
Part of the problem of trying to get rid of negative thoughts is, that when we get an invalid or false thought about ourselves, we may automatically think we are bad. I recall several years ago putting myself trough a lot of misery. I had a negative thought, that I felt I should have not had to begin with. This led to another conclusion about myself, which influenced me to make a wrong choice, and consequently one thought ended up costing me (both physically and emotionally) dearly. The point is, sometimes, the best thing we can do with our negative thoughts is, just ignore and get rid of them. We can spend time trying to identify each emotion and analyse where they are coming from (there is nothing wrong with that), but, I did that for a long time, and it always led me back to the same place, flawed beliefs about myself, since I was a young girl. So why carry this luggage with me? Instead I can tell the negative thoughts when they come (and they do come) along, “Sorry, I’m busy living my life, and I really don’t have time for your nonsense”.
*Identify Your Strengths
Instead I’ve learned to identify my personal strengths. We all have special gifts and abilities. I know I’ll never be tall, slender and beautiful blonde. But hey, who says I have to be? I’ll most likely will never have double Bachelor’s and double Master’s degrees like my sister (in another lifetime maybe 😉 ), but that does not make me less smart. My journey in life is different than everyone else’s, just like yours is. When I finally figured out, that each journey needs different set of gear and packing, that’s when I realized, neither should I expect to have the same strengths as someone else. You see, I can’t beat myself up for not owning a nice fishing pole, while I’d rather be gardening. I don’t need a fishing pole to make me happy, I need flowers. So next time, I allow my negative thoughts tell me otherwise, I just have to say, “Listen brain, I don’t look like a model, because I didn’t choose to be a model, because that’s not my journey”. Or thoughts like, “you’ll never succeed”, I’ll have to say, “give me one good reason why not, because I can give you ten reasons why I can”.
*Practice Mindfulness Meditation and Prayer
Taking time for mindful meditation and prayer has helped me tremendous. Trying to focus on the current moment, and being in the moment has helped to aim at the positive instead of the negative. Thru meditation and prayer I’ve been able to clear my thoughts and see things from higher and clearer perspective. Actually, practicing mindfulness has helped me in so many ways, beyond clearing my thoughts of damaging thoughts. It’s helped with stress management, alleviated anxiety and provided me a heart of gratitude instead of fear. There is scientific data that shows how meditation can help us control our thoughts and manage negative thoughts, as well as other health benefits.
As you practice in your mind, also occasionally write down some of your positive attributes and memories of yourself. Keep a journal of gratitude. These exercises will help and act as a reminders of the good and positive about you, when your mind decides to play tricks on you.
*It’s All About Growth Not Perfection
The key element for me has been to come to the full understanding, that it’s not about perfection. It’s about me, and each one of us reaching our fullest potential, as individuals on different paths. My ideas will probably never be exactly the same as my neighbors’ or even my husbands’ and that’s okay. That does not make either theirs or my thoughts wrong or bad. It just means, well, different. I like to compare this to all the flowers in the fields. Imagine if each flower smelled the same, or looked the same. I can’t even envision that, that would be so sad. Each flower has it’s purpose and its personal weakness as well as its strengths. The important part is to learn the needs of each flower and plant. I try to remind myself often, that I am, as you are, one of a kind person that is created by two other unique people, with each striving to do the best we can. And there is no room for comparison. So by judging ourselves for not reaching perfection, will not benefit me or us in any way. The crucial question should be, am I reaching my personal goals?
So next time you get tempted to listen to a negative and destructive thought, that popped into your mind unconsciously, just take a deep breath and say, “Brain, I’m bigger than you, come back when you have something better to say!!”.