You attract your dominant thoughts.
Regardless where we're at (or think we're at), as a participant of life's unpredictable journey, it's always going to be helpful to have a litany of tools to tap into whenever the need calls. For me, these can vary from quotes, to videos, to books, to activities, to just remembering to slow down and breathe. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of what helps get me out of a funk and get my hands on that, pronto.
Along the journey I've collected my very own scroll of solutions, bit by bit. When I was feeling insecure, it was all Louise Hay everything - affirmations, videos, books. When avoiding vulnerability or emotion you can bet I'll be watching/reading/breathing Brené Brown. For stress I could connect with movement, self care, writing and as many scented candles as I could light without the smoke alarm going off. You get the picture; whatever I was feeling I discovered ways to meet my needs. Where there is a deficiency in our lives, we need to be able to provide for ourselves.
What I'm learning now is that recovery doesn't mean that I'll never feel these things again; I won't be so mentally perfect that I'll have no need to delve into my store of solutions. I realise now that that makes no sense and that's not really the result I want at all. Recovery actually just means I'll know what to do for myself when I do encounter these feelings and I won't respond to them in a self-destructive way.
It's not about becoming invincible, it's about becoming capable.
With that in mind, I've been coming back to one of my most used and most crucial tools recently - changing my thinking. Now and then, we can get negative thoughts circling around our minds, maybe a worry or concern that we just can't seem to fob off. We can scare ourselves, doubt ourselves or unintentionally enter those thinking patterns that simply don't serve us. Personally I believe that what we think about, we bring about - so these thoughts have got to go. I love the fact that I now know how to change them and with practice, this works to make me feel better anytime I need it to.
1. Suppression Is Not A Solution.
Sometimes when we become aware of these thoughts, there's a reaction of shame and 'ugh I shouldn't be thinking this'. So we try to just shut them up, act as if they're not actually after getting pretty comfy in our subconscious. But unfortunately, in the same way that we instantly look for something when told not to, our mind darts to the thoughts that we try to avoid or suppress. Telling yourself you shouldn't be thinking about a thought just puts more focus on that thought. It's not a great system.
So we need to check in and ask, do we want this to be true? Allow yourself to become aware of the thought and accept it because that's what needs to happen before we can change it. That doesn't mean we give in to it, it means we say 'Ok I hear what you're saying, but I disagree', and then saying something back and saying it enough times and with enough conviction that it's all we can hear. Repeated theory becomes fact.
Be gentle with yourself when you recognise the recurrent thoughts that are there. I remember watching 'The Secret' back when my thoughts were mostly negative and freaking out about them all coming true and creating my life. I panicked about thinking them but of course that led to me just giving them more energy. Obviously this worry was not ideal or necessary, so make sure to take it easy on yourself when becoming aware - this is a process.
2. Change It
Once we know what we don't want, it's time to think about what we do want. The negative thinking creates negative feelings so how can we create positive feelings? I think this bit is particularly lovely because you get to think about all of the things you truly want. What do you want to be real? What reality would be more satisfactory? How would that feel? If you could choose anything, what would it be?
If I realise that I'm feeling insecure, I'll write how I want to feel - confident, secure, comfortable etc. I'll say affirmations to keep reaffirming this. We can say it out loud, write it over and over, whatever works. Any time that niggling negative thought tries to give us the same old story, we can have our new one ready at the tip of our tongue. 'Guess what, I am confident, good enough and I enjoy feeling secure within who I am.' Make it present, make it real, make it personal to you.
3. Repeat, Feel & Believe It.
Negative thoughts can quickly become the dominant soundtrack in our minds, so we need to work to ensure that our new thoughts are being heard loud and clear instead. This means being vigilant and batting those thoughts away each and every time they come in. Take control and respond to them as many times as it takes.
Something to note is that once you become aware of your thinking, you might be surprised by the frequency of the ones you don't want, (as said above, this contributed to my little 'Law of Attraction' freak out) but all it actually means is that we need to be consistent with our positive ones too. We need to keep repeating what we want and we need to believe it. Believe in the possibility, believe in ourselves and believe that we can create the things we want.
Step into these thoughts, feel what it'll be like when they come true. Step into how that reality is going to look. Visualise everything about it. Make it real. Even if it's a bit challenging to connect with it as a reality, fake it 'til you feel it. Imagine, dream, get creative. Allow yourself to commit to the vision of your life without these negative thoughts.
The practice of this is where the crux of change begins. Our thinking has incredible strength over our perspective and how we feel within our lives. We're not going to magically stop having negative thoughts, but when they do come we can have our tools ready to combat them. This is one I'll keep coming back to whenever I feel the need, quite simply because it works.
"Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life". Tony Robbins.