Recently one of our consulting clients called me to ask a question about payment. My first thought was, “Oh no, I did something wrong!” In that moment I realized a pattern of defaulting to the thought that I made a mistake when it comes to money. In truth I have made mistakes in the past. But I’m also making good decisions. As is true for most of us it’s been a mixed bag of good and regretful decisions. So why default to the negative thought automatically?
We all have tapes and stories that play in our head. Some come from childhood and others we picked up along the way of life. Usually these tapes tell stories of how we’re stupid, lazy, unlovable, or worthless. And we get used to hearing these stories day after day.
Just because you think it doesn’t mean you have to believe it!
Andrea Sherman often says that thoughts are like clouds, they drift in and out and are constantly changing. Thoughts don’t need to be permanent and with a little effort you can change the outdated and untrue tapes and stories.
With practice these 3 simple steps will help you shift old tapes and thinking that is harmful to you.
- Recognize harmful thoughts! If you find yourself repeating a phrase that leaves you feeling unsure, worthless, or empty, it’s probably a harmful thought.
- Would you say this to a friend? If you’re unsure if the thought is harmful ask yourself, “Would I use these words with my friend?”
- Replace the thought. Find a new and truthful tape to play instead.
It takes repetition and practice to develop a habit. It took time for these thoughts to take root within you. Spend some time and energy weeding out the negative thoughts and planting new seeds of thinking. Check out our Thought Cloud worksheet to help you through this process.
Share your thoughts in the comments section. Let’s Learn. Change. Grow. together!