Advice on Life, Living Your Dream, Leadership, and Love
This week’s Dear Genie letter is from someone who is concerned about their negative thinking. Dr. Genie talks about facing these negative thoughts and healing the wounds and limiting beliefs behind them.
Thinking Negative Thoughts writes:
I was hesitant to write about something I feel within myself. I have so many negative thoughts that run through my mind. How do I control my thoughts that sometimes bring fear within me?
Dear Thinking Negative Thoughts,
This is such an important question and something in which EVERYONE deals with. You are not alone and I’m very glad you had the courage to write.
Negative thoughts arise from the secrets and limiting beliefs you try to hide from yourself. We call these secrets SHADOW. They are wounds or beliefs that are painful and so you ignore them and don’t heal them. Healing can be uncomfortable – in fact, it usually is. So we disown these feelings and try to forget them.
These painful beliefs, memories, and wounds lie in your subconscious and try very hard to become conscious – they try to get you to notice them.
Negative thoughts are a way that your hidden wounds are saying, “hey – I’m here and I need your attention.”
Some of the ways that your wounds try to get your attention are:
Negative Self-Talk and Negative Thoughts
Dislike in Others What Needs Healed in You
Triggered by the Behavior of Others
Deflect Feelings About Yourself on to Others
Anything that you put off healing and ignore will just keep coming up to try and get your attention. And it will get louder – which means your negative thoughts, deflection, triggering, and pet peeves with other people will get worse.
Negative thoughts are a symptom of a wound inside you that needs your attention and healing.
The first step to healing, is to notice them. Give the negative thought some attention – but in a way that a teacher notices a student who raises their hand. You say, “how can I help you?” You don’t take it personally.
“How can I help you?”
Then listen to see what else your mind says. You’ll find that your mind will give you reasons for thinking the negative thought.
For example, what if your negative thought is, I’m not good enough to do my job.
“How can I help you?” you ask this thought.
Your thoughts begin to tell you WHY you think you aren’t good enough…
I don’t have the qualifications that others have – I am not as good at sales – I don’t seem to be liked by my co-workers – my boss doesn’t notice my efforts…
You can ask any negative thought you have, How can I help you?
Work with your own negative thought now. What is the last negative thought you had? Ask it, “how can I help you?”
What does it tell you? WHY does your mind think this thought?
Take that information and write it down.
Now look at it. Are those statements true? No. They are not. They are fear and pain.
What is true? Change those negative statements to positive ones.
From the example, you could say:
My qualifications are exactly what I need to do my job.
I will continue to learn and grow the longer I work.
My sales increase as I get more at ease with my job.
My co-workers will love me once they get to know me.
This is work. Stopping negative thoughts takes time and practice. Most of all, it takes you being willing to notice your thoughts and question what is really going on within you.
This is called Shadow Work. It means bringing light to all the things we keep in the dark.
Accept them, acknowledge them, and then you can address them.
If your thoughts are leading you to harm yourself or others, of if you cannot face these wounds on your own, please reach out for therapeutic support with your doctor or a counselor. They will help you create a safe space in which to work with your negative self-talk and thoughts.
For more information on working with your shadow, you can sign up for my course Life by Design at our Academy.