I posed this first question to my kids and they pretty much freaked out: “Mom, you don’t have bad thoughts do you?” “Mom, what kind of stuff’s going through your head that would be a problem?”
Oh, honey, if you only knew!
Thank goodness my brain isn’t hooked up to a microphone. Because, I have to admit that I have a lot of thoughts that I wouldn’t like to share!
And, you know what I do with those thoughts?
I know I espouse the “let’s be positive” way of living but we can’t be that way all the time and frankly – forcing positive is like the high fructose corn syrup of the thinking world – it’s not natural nor is it good to pretend for us (sorry kids for the food analogy — they hate when I do that!).
So, when we feel bad – rather than pretending to be something else or looking for a bandaid, just try sitting tight. It’s totally natural to have negative moments about who we are as a parent, lover, friend, person. Look what we do with our kids: when they’re having a fit, we send them for a time out to calmly examine their thinking at that particular moment. We don’t them to fake it and come up with a smile on their face (although I would have liked to do that a few times!).
Did you know that research has shown (out of Canada of all places!), that when people suffering from low-self esteem reached for positive thinking, it backfired and they felt worse about themselves after saying positive affirmations than they did before. But, when they were told to just hang with those feelings, they found a way to move to the positive much quicker.
So, back to my original question: what do we do with negative thinking?
- You can choose to ignore it, go for a walk, enjoy the birds chirping and just let it pass.
- You can examine your negative thoughts because there’s always a kernel of truth to those thoughts and you can actually (and honestly) look at what you can change in your life to move in a new direction.
- You can try to broaden your perspective. When I have a negative thought(s), I’m usually missing the trees in the forest – just plain focused on the wrong thing.
- You can talk to your “group” – those people who love you no matter how sh***y you’re feeling.
Most of the time we’re happy. And, of course, it’s great to feel and be positive — that’s genuine. But, when you’re not feeling that way – that’s authentic too. And, it’s likely a way for us to learn more about ourselves, our thoughts and needs.
So, while I’m not going to broadcast my feelings – I am going to enjoy the moments when I have a few negative ones. Maybe I’ll learn something new about myself or maybe it will give me an excuse for a time out – a long one!!! 🙂
Have a great day!