We like to think we’re optimistic, positive people. After all, no one wants to be considered a grump. Besides, isn’t it true that what we’re taught from the time we’re children is to smile and think the best of those around us?
In truth, we don’t always quite hit the mark. We might mean to be positive, but those negative thoughts have a way of creeping in, especially if we’re tired or anxious. Strong emotion has a way of derailing us, as do the negative influences around us. In short, we’re constantly being broadsided by negativity, and we can’t help but respond in kind.
How do we learn to recognize when our self-talk is turning negative and stop it before it gains a foothold in our lives? We start by learning how to identify the most common culprits.
Black and White Thinking
The minute you start using ‘all’ or ‘nothing’ statements you’re already falling into a negativity mindset. When this comes up, the best thing to do is to remind yourself the world doesn’t really work that way. In fact, there are more shades of grey than you might think.
When you can only see the bad in everything, it’s no wonder you can feel lost in a sea of despair and negative self-talk. Here you see the world as only negative and seek out proof by pointing out every flaw or failure. This is defeated by rewording the statements as they come up. Look for the positive spin you can put on things.
The Disaster Plan
When you can only see the negative outcome in everything. For this, accept that sometimes, failure happens. You can even use dire predictions to work out a ‘plan B’ in case you need one, but also remember to remind yourself there’s also a chance of success in what you try. There’s no reason to assume the worst.
In this, you assume you know what someone else is thinking, and it’s never good. But how do you combat it? Try having an honest conversation with the person instead. Let them speak for themselves. They might even surprise you. Again, quit assuming the worst.
The Guilty Conscience
You messed up. Once. A long time ago. It’s time to let it go. For some people, their brains are expert at bringing up the past, regardless of how much time has passed or what you’ve done to correct the mistake. Here you need to remind yourself of the lessons you’ve learned. Remember, the past is in the past. Look forward, seeing the possibilities. Let go of the rest.
The world really is a more wonderful place than you might have realized. When you let go of negative self-talk, you’re giving yourself the ability to try out a new frame of mind and see just how good things can be. Embrace positivity. Discover what the world has to offer!