You’ve just come up with a great idea. You’re jazzed and can’t wait to share it with the world. And then without warning your excitement is hijacked and replaced with…
“Who do you think you are?
You could never pull this off.”
“What if no one else thinks it’s a good idea.”
“This is just silly.”
Da, Da, Da, Daahh. Enter the dreaded negative thoughts that try to stop you in your tracks.
Every single person on this planet has negative thoughts. They happen.
The issue isn’t really the negative thoughts themselves or that you have them. It’s how you react to them. That’s the real issue.
Do you let them sit smack dab in the middle of your ideas until the air is squeezed out?
Do you allow them to be soul-squashers, confidence crushers, and dream killers?
Or do you find ways to quiet them?
I learned a long time ago that most, if not all, of my negative thoughts come from my ego, which is rather loud. So I used to think that if I was louder, my ego would slink away like a dog that had been scolded for messing on the rug.
I’d internally scream at it telling it to shut up, to go away, and to leave me alone.
Did it? No. The louder I got the louder it got.
Now, rather than waste my energy or allow it’s negative diatribe to run away with my personal power I do any of the following.
1. Learn, Lean, and Leverage. Negative thoughts hold information. They’re trying to tell you something and it’s often not what you think.
They’re not trying to tell you that you aren’t enough, (even if that’s what they’re saying) or that you can’t handle something, do something, or be something.
To get beyond the negative bluster it helps to explore what they’re really trying to tell you. And to do so it helps to ask this question, “What is driving this negative thought?”
It might be trying to tell you that you’re afraid, that something you are about to do is important to you, or that you need additional support.
Once you know the source of the negative thought you can diminish it by exploring your options. It’s those options and engaging them that helps you to quiet the negative thoughts.
For example, if the source of my negative thought is fear of failing at something that’s important to me, I’ll start making a list of options to deal with the fear of failing.
I could quit. (Not really an option for me, but I list whatever comes up.)
I could break down my objective into tiny steps and begin with the easiest step first.
I could ask for help.
Once I have brainstormed all my options I pick one and do it.
2. Choice. One way to quiet the negative thoughts is to ask the question, “What do I choose?” and then allow those choices to just flow.
Here’s the thing; you always have choice in any given situation or circumstance. You can choose to listen to your negative thoughts and allow them to derail you or you can choose to focus your energy and attention onto something else.
The act of choosing helps you to take your personal power back from that negative thought and silences it.
3. Why Questions. When your negative thoughts are telling you bold–face lies it helps to combat those lies with believable questions that begin with “why.”
For example, let’s say your negative thoughts are telling you that you will never find the love of your life. In your head you hear things like;
“You’re not thin enough or gorgeous enough.”
“No one is going to want someone like you.”
“You’ll never find your special someone.”
Instead of choosing to let your ego make you feel like crap, counter its negativity with a question like, “Why am I the most lovable person?”
It’s not your job to answer the question, just to ask the question and let your brain look for evidence. This nifty little trick was created by Noah St. John who calls it an “afformation” (not to be confused with affirmations).
You might think that asking such a question would lead to more negative thoughts but here’s the key…
When you craft believable questions that create a sense of excitement, the negative thoughts don’t stand a chance.
Ask that believable “why” question.
Don’t look for the answer, just ask.
Let the excitement deal with the negative thoughts.
4. Focus Shifting. Yep, shift your focus on to something else. This is not where I ask you to use an affirmation or to tell yourself just the opposite of what your negative thought is telling you.
All I’m asking is that you shift your focus on to what’s around you. I like to use my senses to do this. What am I feeling on my skin right now? What am I tasting? What am I hearing? What am I seeing?
And to change things up I also use some good old gratitude to drown out my negative thoughts. For example, I’m so grateful for the comfy chair I’m sitting on or the soft t-shirt I’m wearing.
When there’s a focus shift, there’s no room for negative thoughts.
5. Breathe. Speaking of focus shifts, this little exercise helps to focus your attention away from the negative thoughts and on to your breathing. (Just as an aside, negative thoughts and fear hate breath work.)
I love using what I call the 4,4,&4 Breathing Technique. Take a deep breath to the count of four. Exhale to a count of four. Repeat four times. That’s it. Easy.
YOU ARE SO MUCH STRONGER THAN YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Now imagine coming up with that amazing idea, but instead of allowing the negative thoughts to hijack the excitement you pull from your arsenal of negative thought quieting tools. Imagine those negative thoughts slinking off with their tail between their legs.
Just remember, you’re so much bigger and stronger than anything that comes from the three-pound organ that sits on top of your shoulders. Negative thoughts have nothing on you! NOTHING!