I love the expression, ‘get out of your own way.’ Sometimes that’s the way of humans. Our behavior, starting with our thinking, can inhibit our actions and ultimately our success. So how does one tame or control negative thoughts? The first step would be:
1) Identify the negative thought.
Let’s use an example, the old, “If I could just be skinny then people would like me and I would be happier.” There, we’ve identified the negative thought. This leads to the second step:
2) Work on correcting the negative thought.
This is kind of hard at first because we really want to believe the warped thought that we’ve trained ourselves to believe. So, in response to this statement think, “But I am not skinny. I am overweight. I would rather not be; but this is part of my life now and anyone that wants to be part of my life will have to understand that.” It may make you feel better immediately and maybe it won’t. The point is to keep moving forward. Learn not to debate the matter, just make the affirmation and move on to the next step. The third step is:
3) Work at dismissing the troublesome thought from your mind.
That means trying to push it out as if it were a rapist trying to break into your home. This requires strong mental force, which many do not have initially. Simply because people who suffer from negativity are weary, but now is the time to realize the necessity of choosing your real life or your distorted life. Choose you. Deliberately. The fourth step makes the above process a little easier:
4) Get absorbed in something else, something upbuilding.
I will use myself as an example. For me, this means getting involved in writing, a cooking project, redecorating or just reading a good book. IT IS DIFFICULT AT FIRST! And still is sometimes when I’m having a major pity party. The trick is to expect it to be difficult, but know that, in time, it will get easier.
Negative thoughts are just like any other bad habit. Bad habits can be broken with time and effort. They are overcome only by conscious, determined effort. Be determined to never give up – no matter how long it takes. Sometimes you’ll feel so much peace and positiveness that you’ll just love everybody. Tomorrow you might feel like biting the family dog. Learn to deal with matters day by day, journal it, and repeat the steps from above.
Lastly, for those of us who are spiritual, prayer is a stronghold. This is not a choice of all, but for those who choose this option, it has proven to be a great help. Also, some have opted for therapy. As with prayer, not all choose this route, but it has been very helpful to many and should not be regarded for ‘crazy’ people.
In the end, it’s whatever works for the individual. Just like in math, so it is in life, positives add and negatives subtract. We can add to our lives – joy, love, and happiness. Or we can continue to take away – joy, love, and happiness. Be deliberate and make a choice for the positive. And for your own benefit, get out of your own way and into your real life!