As I type, I can think of so many reasons why I shouldn’t.
“It’s getting late”
“I need to get some sleep”
“There are so many other blogs out there. Why would anyone want to read mine?”
They all seem to make sense. Each one has just enough truth to make me want to stop. But that’s the point of these thoughts. To get me to stop.
So, why would I be my own saboteur? Why short-circuit my own efforts?
Some would say that these thoughts are not my own, and I find some truth to this. It doesn’t make any sense for someone to be their own worst enemy. It would seem reasonable that negative thoughts would not have to come from ourselves, our past, or our interactions with others in every case.
Now I’m not saying that all negative thoughts come from without our minds. Plenty of critical, hurtful, nasty words are hurled at us throughout our lives, by people who themselves have been hurt. But when there is no good reason to explain why you are engaging in a pity party or a downward spiral of self-loathing, one has to ask where are those thoughts originating from, and if there is a person, a being, generating these thoughts.
A related question is this; where did the first negative thought come from? If we had no prior reference of negative and positive, how do we now know the difference? And for that matter, what do we measure thoughts against to determine which are good and which are bad?
But at the end of the day, we must deal with these negative thoughts. Because if we don’t, we will be like the kid who’s always shying away from the bully. Bullies get their power from our fears, and negative thoughts are the bullies of our minds.
Negative thoughts are like a cancer. They grow and multiply, crowding out positive and healthy thoughts until they overcome their host. To fight a cancer, one must use a combined strategy of offense and defense.
The offensive strategy is to foster relationships that affirm you and your worth as a living, thinking, feeling being. This can come from family, friends, loved one, and the divine. What has surprised me is that the best relationships are often few in numbers. Deep relationships take time, and most people can only go deep with a small number of people.
The defensive strategy is to limit or eliminate relationships that diminish you and your worth. Sadly, family, loved ones, pseudo-friend, as well as acquaintances, co-workers, and strangers can all bring negative baggage with them. Shallow relationship can often foster the greatest negativity, because there is little cost to establishing or breaking them, and there is little to lose by hurting others.
So when you have a negative thought, ask yourself; why is this thought in my mind? What value is this thought adding to my life? Will this though make me wiser, wealthier, more compassionate? If the answers are none and no, then the next step is to expel the though.
You make simply need to focus on the positive alternative to the thought. Other times, you may need to examine the thought to determine it’s source, which may be other negative thoughts.
Either way, removing the negative requires uprooting and replacing. Removing is not enough, because vacuums will be filled eventually. Fill your thinking with thoughts that are beautiful, not ugly; loving, not hateful; generous, not selfish; joyful, not depressing. Then let your positive thoughts fuel your emotions, and those emotions fuel your actions.
How do you deal with negative thoughts? How do you fill your mind with joyful thoughts? What tips can you offer me and others?