“If I could just stop my negative thoughts (and emotions) then I’d be able to get confident, be successful, believe in myself and THEN I’ll be happy.”
“If I could just learn how to control my negative thoughts, then everything would be great!”
Well, unfortunately, it’s not my experience that works that way.
Believe me, I’ve tried with the best of them to control my negative thinking, and I’ve always lost the battle.
You see, 2/3 of our emotions are negative. They were designed to be that to help us survive, they’re wired in.
So I propose you “get control” over thoughts (which are deeply connected to our emotions), or rather your relationship to them, since they’re going to come anyway, by not trying to control them.
Much of what I speak about is paradoxical, that you actually gain control over your negative thoughts, by accepting them and then choosing to be different, because we are not our thoughts or emotions, though we may have them.
If we try to control them, we are constantly in contact with them and trying to resist them. Then they have us.
We need to have control over them, by not interacting with them, as it were, but letting them be and acting in accordance with the life we want to create, no matter if they come, or if they go.
I found, simply, that there is a tremendous amount of power in this paradox.
At the same time, we aren’t getting caught up in our negative thoughts by believing them.
I call it “don’t fight, don’t follow”. And working on the skill of self-acceptance helps greatly with this. So does the practice of mindfulness,
If you’re wondering about positive thinking, yes it does have an effect, but to rely solely on positive thinking…the picture is incomplete.
We want to go towards the positive, but never force yourself to believe it, because the mind will react and fight back when you always try to shove positive thinking down its throat.
You also lose psychological flexibility and ability to stay present with what is happening. So I would watch out for this type of “Polyanna” thinking.
Accept the negative thoughts and feelings as they come, but don’t fight them, and don’t believe them.
It’s also helpful to think in terms of Yin and Yang, which is the classic example of positive and negative.
There is a place for both positive and negative, but in the end they become one in the same and there are uses for both.
If you’d like support in really learning how to get control of negative thoughts, stop negative thinking from running your life, and creating the life you desire, you can read about coaching here.