No matter how far we’ve come in our self-love journeys and life in general, we can’t be 100% positive all the time. It’s just not realistic! But there are things we can do to overpower the negative thoughts that pop up so we don’t stay stuck in that chaotic mindset.
I’ve read a lot of self-help and even spiritual books that talk about a variety of ways we can conquer the negative self-talk in our heads. Usually when I read about those exercises, I don’t to them because I think, “yeah, yeah, but I’m doing fine. Other people probably need these more than I do.”
But that’s not true. I’m not better than anyone else. I’ve gotten better at being mindful and focusing on the positives in life, but I still slip up from time to time, of course. Usually I just move on and don’t think about the negative thoughts much, but I recently decided to try to conquer them, and it was really healing for me.
A few months ago, I connected with life coach Jess Wagner on Instagram. I entered a giveaway she did about a month or so ago, and I won a pro bono one-hour session with her! I took that as a sign that this was a time of big growth for me, so I decided to give it my all.
We talked about a lot of things in that one-hour session, including an activity that really helped me shift my mindset, especially around my imposter syndrome. The activity itself isn’t groundbreaking, but whatever it brings up for you sure can be. I’ll explain the exercise and then show you how I did it.
Think about at least three stories you’ve told yourself about you and your life, and be specific. What are some things you’ve been telling yourself and believing, even if they’re not true? For example, “no one cares what I have to say” or “it’s not worth trying something new because I always fail.”
It’s so easy to repeat negative thoughts in our mind, but once we start to really think about those thoughts, it gets easier to break them down and prove them wrong. Here’s my version of the exercise:
- No one cares about what I have to say, so I should just stop writing on my blog.
I’ve thought this a lot. I often feel like I’m speaking into the void and I wonder if it’s even worth it. Do people even care about what I’m saying, or am I just doing this for no reason?
Deep down I know that’s not true, though. I’m not doing this to get praise from others. If others want to say something positive, that’s great, but that’s not why I have this blog. I have this blog to get my thoughts out into the world and say things I wish I had heard when I was younger, whether that was months or years ago.
So after thinking about it some more, I changed that phrase above to say: “My words hold so much value, for others and myself.”
- I’m not qualified enough to actually help people.
This is something I’ve struggled with for a really long time. I know I want to help others, and even myself, with this space, but then I think who do I think I am to be able to help people? I’m nobody. I don’t have any official training; I just ramble.
But deep down, I know this isn’t true either. I write about my life because I don’t want people to feel like they’re alone. There are plenty of things I’m not qualified enough to talk about, but I don’t talk about those things anyway.
I write about things from my heart and soul, and I know that comes across. I’m not selling any programs or anything. I make no money from this blog. My only goal is to help others, and I’m definitely qualified enough to do that in my own way.
So I changed that phrase above to say: “I’m exactly qualified on the topics I’m discussing and sharing.”
- No one wants to hire me because I’m worthless.
Oh yeah. This one has been a huge one for me recently and for the last few years on and off. I’ve been let go from two jobs in a row, and that was all really hard for me to work through.
At first I couldn’t help but take that personally. What is wrong with me? Why do places keep hiring me and then getting rid of me? Will I ever find a job I love that won’t let me go?
The truth is that there’s nothing wrong with me. Both times I was let go were all business, not personal. I wasn’t fired for my behavior. I was let go due to restructuring. And both of those times have worked out so much better than I ever could’ve imagined.
I want a job that inspires, motivates and challenges me. I want to work at a place with a strong culture and consistent feedback. In fact, I have a list of all the things I want, need and would like out of my next job, and a lot of jobs don’t align with that. And that’s okay. I know I don’t want just any job anyway.
So I changed the phrase above to say: “I’m ready and waiting for the job that’s right for me. I have so much worth that it’s too much for some people who aren’t ready for me.”
If you’re struggling with constantly looping negative thoughts, give this exercise a try. At first it can be really hard to try to turn a negative into a positive, but really think about it. Don’t give up on yourself and your happiness.