The Positive Psychology movement is all about changing our view of the world. It is impossible to rid ourselves of negative thoughts completely, and it’s our ability to recognize and put these negative thoughts into perspective that help us shift that world view.
Some negative thoughts are needed to help bring our attention to situations that may need addressing, but others are simply thoughts we use to help explain away our self-doubt and fears.
Here are five negative thoughts that aren’t worth your attention:
“I Don’t Have The Time”
“I’m too busy” and “I don’t have the time” are common excuses. And that is all it is – an excuse. If it’s important enough, we find the time. It is as simple as that.
“I’m Not Qualified to Do That”
This negative thought only serves to hold us back from achieving our potential. When we are in a state of self-doubt, we will look for any reason to avoid taking risks and moving forward because it is so much easier to stay where it’s safe. If you are committed to your personal growth, you will go after what you want without hesitation.
“People Won’t Understand”
It is not uncommon to make decisions that will upset the least amount of people. The only thing that decision serves to do is not be the right decision for us. We owe it to ourselves to make the best decisions for us knowing those people that truly matter will understand and support us.
“I’m Not Ready”
No one is ever ready. If we wait until we are ready, we will never get anywhere. Plan, prepare and at some point you just have to take the step. That first step is always the hardest. Take it and learn from the mistakes and lessons you encounter along the way.
“I Don’t Have The Energy”
Much like “I don’t have the time,” “I don’t have the energy” is an excuse. Nobody says life is easy. I think we can all agree, a happy life takes work. We all come home tired from our day but when something is important, you find the energy and will to make it happen.
Changing our negative thoughts is not easy by any means. Even the most positive of people get stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts that can deteriorate their confidence and self-esteem.
So how do they get out of it? Well, it’s a simple four-step process.
1. Recognize The Negative Thought
There isn’t anything to be done until we start recognizing the negative thoughts that are holding us back. A good exercise is to end each day by writing down some of the negative thoughts that came up during the day, especially the self-limiting beliefs. Note what was happening at the time and it won’t be long before patterns begin to emerge.
2. Question It
After we begin to recognize our limiting negative thoughts, it’s time to question them. Are they true or not? And why? We should keep asking questions until we get to the root of the problem. Once there, it is helpful to put the thought into a more realistic perspective.
3. Reframe It
To change the thought, we need to reframe it into a thought that is more serving. This isn’t to suggest that we should be taking all negative thoughts and making them positive. Instead, it is about reframing it to include a more realistic approach and the actions necessary to relieve the hold it has on us.
4. Let It Go
With the newly-reframed thought, it’s time to let go of the less serving thought. We recognize it, know it wasn’t true in its original form, and reframed it to better reflect our reality. Now, it’s time to let the negative thought go. This may sound silly, but something as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper and throwing it away can help your mind let it go.
The voices in our heads can be overwhelming and sometimes even paralyzing. They grow louder and infiltrate our self-esteem the longer we leave them there. Initially, they formed and grew from influences in our lives but we are the ones that feed these negative thoughts by letting them stay.
Don’t fight them, because fighting expends too much energy in a negative space. Instead refuse to accept the negative thoughts at face value and question them relentlessly until you get to the truth.
We owe it to ourselves to challenge the voices in our head that say we are less than we are. Knowing which thoughts aren’t worth our attention and how to go beyond just changing them is what we need to take a step into a better version of ourselves.