We all have thoughts that seem to take on a life of their own in our heads. For some of us, they are negative, destructive thoughts that have been with us since childhood. Dad may have called you bird legs or a teacher in frustration said you were stupid. What they said not only stuck but was played over and over in our minds thousands of times. I want to show you how to take every thought captive and make it obedient to the truth.
First I need to let you in on a secret. Your mind lies to you! I know it comes as quite a shock but it is true. Okay, so you probably already know that, but don’t keep it clearly in mind when you are having destructive thinking patterns – destructive thoughts. Just because you can think something does not make it true. Right! I can think I am Donald Trump – President of the United States of America – thankfully that is not true – that is too tough a job for me. That one is obvious. My step-father told me that everything I touched turned to sh*t when I was a kid. I was a kid so I did make mistakes, heck as an adult with a bachelor’s degree in physics and two masters degrees I still make mistakes. But that statement put took on a life of its own, long after he had said and forgotten it, it raged in my head. It was never true, not then and not now. And if I could ask him now I am sure he would not even remember saying it. But in my head it played over thousands of times – every time I made a mistake or felt like I might have made a mistake. I felt worthless.
Okay, so how do you break the hold of these destructive thoughts that aren’t even true? The key lies in several steps.
1) Accept that not everything that you think is true and be willing to question your thoughts.
2) When you have a thought that changes your mood or you notice is a problem – put it on trial. Question it! What is the evidence to support it, what is the evidence that refutes it?
3) Write down the negative thought at the top of a sheet of paper.
4) Now think of anything and everything that could be just as true if not more so but that you can feel good about. This is called brainstorming and anything you think should be written down. Keep writing because you are looking for a statement that resonates for you – a statement so powerfully true that you can’t think the old way anymore because it is so clearly false.
Before we go on with the list let me give you a physicist’s definition of resonance. Resonance is a frequency at which the system becomes unstable and self destructs. For example, there is a famous case of resonance involving the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Shortly after the bridge was built there was a wind storm – this bridge that was built to withstand decades of service started swaying and rocking and when it hit the resonant frequency it crumbled! It was never the same again. This is what I want for your destructive thoughts – I want the resonant thought to destroy the negative thought and replace it with a positive that has so much power for you that you cannot think the old way anymore.
Okay back to the list.
5) You may not find thoughts that truly resonate for you but even a good one – resonant thoughts are almost magical – I want you to make a card that has the negative thought on one side. On the other side write the most powerful of the positive thought that you have come up with.
6) At night and in the morning I want you to read the positive side thoughts out loud ten times with as much passion and emotion as you can – I want an Academy Award-winning performance.
I know you might feel stupid talking to yourself. However nowadays, if you are talking to yourself people think you are on a hands-free and not schizophrenic so it isn’t so bad. Do it in private. When people are in a relationship they need 5 to 10 positive comments for every negative one for them to feel good about the relationship! Now think of those thoughts that have run through your head thousands of times – are you scared yet? I am. This is the proactive phase, first thing in the morning and last thing at night read the positive thoughts out loud 10 times. Okay, so why out loud? Simple, when your mouth speaks your brain has to stop and listen. Ever been reading silently or worse yet praying silently and all of a sudden you are not “there” anymore, you have wandered off in your thoughts. Read out loud, pray out loud, and read these positive thoughts out loud and you will find that you now listen to yourself and do not wander off in your thoughts.
Another reason for the repetition is that the human mind is like a computer it can take only one instruction to program it forever – like what my step-dad said to me- but unlike a computer, the human brain is reprogrammed by repetition. Actually, it is generally programmed by repetition in the first place but those statements from people that we trust and revere can have instant uptake, especially the negative ones. Parents beware! As humans, we are wired to focus on negative statements.
7) In addition, to your am & pm repetition for 4 weeks – whenever the thought comes up I want you to stop and blast the thought with your resonant truth. You want to choke the life out of those destructive thoughts. You will find that the power of the negative thought will diminish even if you do not find that truly resonant thought and that my friend is a success!
8) As it says on the shampoo – rinse, lather, and repeat. Okay, what I mean is take on the next destructive thought in the same way.
Sound simple? It is. Sound like work? It is! But it works better than anything else I have ever found both for myself and for my clients. Okay now go out and put this to use. Remember whatever you learn, if you do not put it into practice – use it – practice it – make it a part of you, when the going gets tough you will revert to doing what you know how to do best. If it is not the new thing by practice it will be the old way you had of coping that was destructive.
When you are working on this feel free to drop me an e-mail and I will be happy to give you some help. I look forward to hearing from you.