Negative thinking has a way of polluting our perception of people, the world and ourselves. The ways in which we talk to ourselves about ourselves and the world around us has a profound effect on our thinking, emotions and behavior. The pitfalls of negative thinking are are usually based in the core belief of a deficient self. This can be accompanied by the automatic thoughts of; “nothing ever goes well,” “the world is a terrible place,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m not deserving.”
When we are stuck in the past we are usually telling ourselves that things should have been better, different, more fair, less painful. We personalize the pain because this happened to me and thus begin to question our own “goodness.” Believing, in a sense, that “bad” things must only happen to “bad people.”
When we are stuck in the future we are usually living in a sense of fear, dread and anxiety. “Things are bound to go wrong,” “It will be terrible,” “What if I fail?” “How will I make ends meet?” We fool ourselves into believing that we need to control everything. This is an automatic set-up for failure because everything cannot always go as planned. As a result our anxiety spikes and we deepen that sense of something must be wrong with me for not having done enough to control the future.
What can you do? Take time to recognize what you are experiencing. Acknowledge your feelings both emotional and physical. See if you can make space within yourself to allow for those unpleasant feelings “to just be.” As you go deeper ask yourself, “What an I believing right now?,” “What do I assume to be true?” Pay attention to any hints of, “I’m not good enough.” Bring a sense of kindness and compassion to your findings. You deserve to talk to and treat yourself better!
It may feel difficult to change that “negative tape” in your head. Stay with it and be patient. If you feel stuck or too overwhelmed, then contact a therapist for further guidance and support.