Glass half empty or half full?
We often hear people say they’re their own worst enemy, but it’s really their negative thought patterns that are! When I started to pay more attention to my thoughts earlier this year, I was surprised at how many of them were negative, and where those negative thoughts took me in what I was thinking, saying, and doing (or not doing). A huge takeaway for me this year was that I had pretty negative thinking, ultimately flowing from a negative mindset, that was really hurting and holding me back, A takeaway that was incredibly powerful, because I was then able to do something about it. Our thinking flows from our mindset, but we can retrain the way we think, and therefore shift our mindset.
Negative thinking can take on many forms… complaining, comparing, criticizing, but what I struggled with most was fear. Fear in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad/negative, it’s what we do with it that typically is. Instead of accepting my fear, working through it, and fact checking, I let it hold me back. I spent so much time and energy worrying I wasn’t good enough, what other people were thinking/would think, what negative thing could happen, time and energy I could have spent actually working on what I was worried about or something positive!
A great example was how I was going afford staying in New York after not having work for a few months… before I started working on my thinking I would let my head catastrophize and go to worst case scenarios, like what if I never get work again, which led to more worst case scenarios like what if I have to leave NYC and/or find a new career, which would continue to lead to more negative thoughts and eventually just left me really anxious, miserable, or crying.
What I started learning to do is:
1) Stop when I have a negative or fearful thought.
2) Check the facts about it… is it really true or am I catastrophizing/exaggerating/just projecting a negative outcome on something unknown?
3) Focus on the facts and work on releasing the negative thoughts and feelings that were coming for me.
4) Flip it.
5) Pick something positive to do, whether it’s related to the negative thoughts or an act of self-care.
So when a negative thought cropped up about work, I stopped.
I checked the facts… What was the likelihood of me never getting work again, and was that something for sure, or was I making a negative assumption about what would happen? It was an assumption, and a negative one. It was pretty unlikely I wouldn’t.
I worked on focusing on what’s true, remembering what I believe and releasing my fear… the pandemic won’t last forever, I’m hard working, I believe my work is tied to my purpose, and if I’m meant to do what I’m doing, God will provide and I will get work again. If I don’t and do need to move home or switch careers, then that’s ok too; what God has planned for meant for me is always good for me and it won’t pass me by. It will all work together the way it’s meant to. It always has, and even the things that seemed bad at the time, were all part of my journey and I’m grateful for now.
And then flipping it… what if work is actually better than ever after this pandemic? What if this break was exactly what I needed to set me up physically and mentally to show up better for you guys and my brand partners? To figure out exactly what I want and the direction I want to go moving forward?
And then finally I worked on doing something positive, whether it was a bubble bath to ease physical anxiety that had built up, creating something to share, or writing an email.
This practice I started doing works especially well with fear, but can also work with other negative thoughts. It’s one of the top practices I started doing in 2020 and has done so much to change my thinking, and ultimately my mindset from a negative one of fear, lack, and scarcity to a positive one of faith, gratitude, and abundance. Just like you can choose to work out and not eat junk food to support your physical health, you can choose to train your mind and not accept negative thoughts to support your mental and emotional health.
As I mentioned in my first of these takeaway posts… it’s not quick, and it’s not easy, but wow does your thinking affect how you feel and what you attract! I’m still mindblown (and incredibly grateful) that I’m looking back on this spring from a drastically different and better, place (literally and figuratively haha). It attracted an amazing, emotionally intelligent partner who I’m very aligned with and adds so much love and value to my life, a beautiful, modern 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Brooklyn that I love, work with brands I love, more community and growth on my blog and Instagram, and so much more. Negative thinking is contagious and self-perpetuating, and self-fulfilling. But so is positive thinking! 🙂