I've mentioned over and over that I'm listening to a ton of work from Kara Lowentheil. In her work she teaches about a thought ladder exercise and this is my lighter version. When you have a terrible thought, think to yourself, "what's the next best thought?"
It is very well documented that humans make an egregious error where we think our thoughts are real and true. This causes us SO MUCH SUFFERING. Your thoughts are just sentences in your mind. They are not real. They are not true. AND they can be changed.
How many times have I read the benefits of being a "positive thinker?" Yet, when I try it never seems to work. Kara says that is because our brains are too smart for us. We think, "I'm too heavy, no one will ever find me attractive." Positive people tell us to replace that with "I'm a sexy goddess and everyone thinks I'm stunning." But our brains are too smart. They DON'T believe this new thought. It is TOO FAR from the truth.
It's like telling your kid that the guacamole tastes good. It's green, slimy and chunky. Their brains cannot make the stretch that this green food could ever actually taste good. We have to meet them somewhere in the middle.
With my kids, that meant putting little bits of avocado on their nachos, then putting little pieces on their plates with salt, then having them dip the corner of their chip in the guac and so on. Now, my youngest will eat guac off a spoon.
We have to play the same game with our brains. The next time you have a negative thought, why not replace that thought with the next best thought? Not the pie in the sky, totally unreachable thought but the next best one.
"I'll never get this done" could be "I can at least get part of it done."
"I'm such an idiot; I'll never be able to do this job" could be "I was smart enough to land this job."
"I look so fat" could be "I look better than a did yesterday"
These thoughts seem kind of lame, I know! But they will lead you down a better path in the long run. Once you believe the "I was smart enough to land this job" (even if it only makes you feel incrementally better) it's easier to get to "I'm super intelligent." Which by the way is a great thought even though most women would cringe at having it in fear that they are being conceded.
The next time one of those nasty, negative, blinding thoughts pops into your head see what the next best thought can be. Not the greatest thought. Not the one you are striving for. Just the next best one. The one that your brain can get behind. The guac hidden under the cheese.
And go from there.
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