9 Negative stories we tell our selves and how to change themJan 20, 2021
Mind Spring Cleaning
I am “spring cleaning” my closet and drawers, though we are starting the year, decluttering the unneeded items getting rid of them or donating them; after been asked twice by my husband to do it, it is not my idea of fun. While I was doing it I decided to turn it to a fun process.
I always like to challenge my mind so I started paying a game with my mind what if I also performed a spring cleaning declutter for my mind, getting rid of thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve me, or try to hold me in place hence the idea of this article
How many times have you heard someone telling you “just change your negative thinking to positive” and think will be fine, or someone tells you “just do “affirmations” in the morning and things around you will change, or even better just “manifest” what you need and the Universe will respond favorably.
I am not knocking any of these down, I actually believe in the power of positive thinking and in the vibrations of the universe but I also know that there a link missing between what I believe and what I mentioned above and I know you know that as you must have tried at least few tricks to change the world surrounding you thinking that you will blink an eye and things will happen as if touched by a magic wand.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way and I will explain why. The missing link is “US” and our actual execution of what we need to do to make the shift. It is a continuous conscious effort.
Learning how to shift the scripts and change thought patterns that have been a resistant tenant in your brain since you were a child are very difficult to evict even with a court order
So, let us start with a simple exercise, it will not work if you are not honest with yourself.
If I ask you for a minute to close your eyes and take a deep breath then write down the first three thoughts that come to your mind, they can be thoughts or feelings
What will they be? Will it be:
- I am not good enough
- I will never win anything- nothing will change
- No one will ever love me
Or would it be:
- I am so happy where I am now
- I am a working progress
- I feel blessed
Whatever you wrote down, I want you to think how did you feel when you had these thoughts?
- How did your body react?
- Were you tense and frustrated?
- Did you notice your heart rate? Was it high/er?
- Did you have a smile on your face?
- You were relaxed and enjoying the moment?
- You are grateful for everything you have
Also write them down for future reference and use them for the change.
The sad reality is that our brain is naturally wired for negativity. Negative thinking is our default thinking. it is automatic, we do not have to exert any effort applying it, like being on auto pilot. It takes a lot more energy and focused effort to make the shift to positive thinking and it happens unconsciously in a Nano second that we might even notice it.
We all suffer from “negativity bias”, it is how you deal with it that counts. While we appreciate positive experiences, we give more weight to negative experiences like fear, failures, threats, or even just bad news.
That is the same reason why we tend to dwell on what other people do wrong being focused on negativity. Every mistake, every misstep, and every slight fault is like a threat or potential loss, it affects our self-esteem and our performance suffers as a result as we are too busy concentrating on what we are missing rather than on what we have.
Let us start by defining what is negative thinking:
Negative thinking is a thought process where people tend to find the worst in everything, or reduce expectations by considering the worst possible scenarios. ... The opposite approach would be positive thinking, approaching situations or circumstances with a positive attitude.
It happens in response to uncertainty, anxiety, disappointment or other challenges creating a sense of helplessness and hopelessness
Our personality manifests our behaviors, our behaviors are based on a complex set of beliefs that are our blueprint for our reality that defines us and organizes the world around us.
We rarely question them, that is why they tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies. We almost never conduct feelings spring cleaning or emotional hygiene. Childhood experiences affect significantly our long-term emotional and psychological health, when trauma or bad experiences happen, it leaves scars on our psyche that will never disappear on their own and affect the beliefs and behaviors throughout our lives.
The negative incidents we pass through in our lives get stored in our long-memory part of the brain by default.
That is why changing the brain scripts and patterns is not like flicking a button and just decide to change it in a second. As long as the beliefs and perceptions remain unchallenged, they will continue shaping and controlling our actions and our fate is more or less sealed.
The good news is that we have the power to control our environment but until we declutter the old negative memories and thoughts to create a new space in our mind to host the new positive thoughts it is almost impossible to reach our destination.
Positive thinking is a LEARNED ability.
“We’re confined in mental prisons of our own creation.”
We make up scripts or others make them up for us and eventually we come to believe them. And the problem is that we think that it is reality. It is that story inside our head that keeps us from flourishing as we should. We are sabotaging ourselves. We are kept captive of our own beliefs
It’s not just about-facing fear, but also about coping with risk and uncertainty.
The first immediate action to take is examining the story we tell ourselves:
- How is your surrounding environment? Who are the people around you? Toxic? Blaming everyone and everything for their misery without taking any responsibility? Misery loves company and this should be your first clue
- Self-Talk: Did you ever notice how you speak to yourself? Are you kind to yourself? Do you talk t yourself as you would talk to a friend? Do you extend kindness, understanding and empathy to yourself? Or do you put yourself down, berating yourself? Chances are, you extend compassion to them.
- Do you have an All or nothing thinking? Exaggeration: My life will be over if I do not get this job?
- Do you catastrophize everything? Disqualify and refusing the positives no matter how good they have it (Doom & Gloom): Nothing good will happen to me
- Do you Need Approval? Always looking for approval and recognition from outside sources as to validate themselves and their work.
- Do you have a Should mentality? Should-Thinking is massively unhelpful because it takes a positive (I had like to …) and makes it seem obligatory (I should…)
- Do you live in a Victim mentality? Others Cause Misery: They make me miserable or life is not fair” to justify that they have no control over external pressures
- Do you Avoid risks or have unrealistic expectations? Avoiding conflicts and difficulties hoping they will go away on their own as it is easier than to do something about them. People and things should turn out better than they do, and I must fix them.
- Do you Live in the Past or in the future: Dwelling, and keep crying over spilled milk? Let the past determine who we are because once something happened, it will always influence our feelings and behavior. Everything will be better later. Disqualifying the present. It prevents us from doing something about it right now
Where do we start?
There is something inside of you blocking your positive, infinite power, making you hesitate to take action, and preventing you from reaching your dreams. That something is called paradigms. Paradigms are the old beliefs that you acquired while you were growing up.
Your paradigms can be very powerful, but with consistent effort and some awareness of what to look for, you CAN overcome them.
Here are some examples of how paradigms can interfere with your journey to your ideal life:
1. You begin to feel closer to your partner, but a fight starts over something silly because you have never experienced this level of connection before, and you don’t know how to handle it.
2. You set a goal to lose 2 pounds this week. You hit your goal, but then the following week you regain the weight as you fall back into your old habits.
3. You apply for a better job than you currently have, but then you begin to think that you’re not qualified enough, so unconsciously you sabotage the interview.
Paradigms are the attempts to keep you safe in your comfort zone, so as the previous examples you get out of it to achieve your dreams, it pulls you back to what you know best even if it is not in your best interest.
You are caught between two forces the one that wants to move forward and one that pulls you back to the familiar or paradigms. So, to change you always have a CHOICE.
The anxiety that you feel while choosing to move forward doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are on the wrong path, actually you have to have a bit of fear when you start the change
It’s critically to develop “paradigm awareness,” that puts you in touch with your inner thoughts, feelings, and actions when they are not in alignment with your dreams.
Research shows if instead of issuing orders to our self, we can ask our self-questions, we can create change in an easier way.
Most importantly NEVER deny your negative feelings in the contrary accept them for what they are and confront them.
You are NOT your thoughts.
It is not a huge change just a tweak on how you speak to yourself. Once you start hearing that inner voice inside your head criticizing you, try to change the statement into a question that opens up exploration and possibility.
Here’s some examples:
• Am I willing to do what it takes?
• When have I done this before?
• What if [insert worst case scenario] happens?
• How can I…?
Perception of reality is subject to mental filters that taint how we act
Brain always find what we focus on- so we need TO STOP thinking about what we do not want. Our brain cannot differentiate between positive and negative, our subconscious just hears what we think or say and acts on it – so we need to feed it positive to get positive actions.
Our brain acts like a digital thermostat if the temperature changes, it will be brought back to the temperature that was set, it brings us back to the comfort zone or status quo for protection hence negativity prevails as it keeps us presumably safe
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE. The truth is that within each one of us lies the power to cast all misery aside and to KNOW complete Peace and Oneness - to BE that beautiful creation of perfect harmony
The good news is that due to the modern neuroscience of neuroplasticity; we can actually rewire our brain to replace the negative thinking to positive thinking
I will share with you my 3 steps or tips technique to shift from negative thinking to positive thinking
I call it my “A.B.C. Technique™”
1- Acknowledge negative thoughts and fears.
- Face it and recognize when you get them
- Name it so they won’t be ghost haunting you
- Claim it
- Evaluate on a scale from 1 to 10 how much you are feeling it.
- Identify your specific negative thoughts and the beliefs driving them. They are cemented by our hard-core limiting beliefs that we accumulated since childhood, to always expect the other shoe to drop. I come from a culture when we laugh, we say “Pray that nothing bad will follow” as if we have to pay for the positive thinking or positive mood
2- Breathe & Release
- Deep breathing with every exhale; push out negative thoughts as “I used to…now I….”
- A total of 7 deep breath, I believe in the divinity of number.
- Each Breath is a count of 4 In, 4 Hold, and 8 Out
- It will shift you from the “war state” or Sympathetic System to the “peace state” or Parasympathetic system.
- You let go and calm down giving yourself the choice to decide despite of fear
3- Challenge & Commit: Challenge your beliefs and look for proofs:
- Reinvent it
- Look for the evidence that overwhelmingly refutes the limiting beliefs
- Avoiding the fears is the worst thing you can ever do
- Commit to systematically expose yourself to what you are afraid of
- Commit that it is a lifelong journey and it is not only about the destination but also about the journey
Are you ready to start the journey of becoming “BEST of ME” version of you yet?
My name is Sahar Andrade, I help organizations increase their employee engagement by investing in Diversity/Inclusion practices as well as through Leadership Development.
I also help successful Individuals that are stuck to reinvent their lives with courage, release their fears, get clarity on their purpose and pursue their dreams.
My teachings, my unique education and experience combined with singular approach to realizing change, form a proven system for long lasting positive transformation. My methodology is based on human psychology and research to break down issues, reverse engineer them, and deconstruct personal myths, while developing personal leadership skills development. It is a simple step by step program, modules, exercises, one on one and group coaching.
I am the author of “49 things about Entrepreneurship: That experts do not want you to know” on Amazon.
This is my TED TALK : Overcoming Negative Thoughts