Banish Self-Destructive Thoughts

We seniors share many, if not most, of the challenges that our younger peers must face.  One of those struggles, at least in my case, is negative thinking.  By that I mean, the way we talk to ourselves.  It is often termed, self-talk.

I don’t consider myself to be a patient person.  Oh, I try to be patient with other people, but when talking with myself, I am certainly not patient.  Actually, I can get quite angry with the clown I see in the mirror.

How about you?  Do you notice when negative, self-destructive thoughts creep into your mind? If you’re like me, you likely even discourage yourself with negative self-talk. Beware of these negative processes! You can get overwhelmed with the negativity of your self-destructive thoughts.

Are you sending yourself these troubled messages?  Each example below is followed by suggestions about how to banish the thought for good:

1. No one understands me. If you feel this way, then examine how it is that you have many people around you – friends, family members, and co-workers – and still you believe no one “gets” you. 

  • Strive to ensure they know how you feel. Share your thoughts appropriately with the people involved. This action will help you gain confidence in your self-expression and quell the negative thoughts.

2. I don’t have enough time to “___________” (go after my dreams, get healthy, indulge in my beloved hobbies, or fill in your own other ideas). If the only things you have time to do are things you have to do, it sure doesn’t make life much fun.

  • Begin working to achieve a healthy balance in your life. Allow time each day to take part in things that make your heart sing. Fit your favorite activities into your very busy day.
  • Start small, if you need to, by scheduling just 15 minutes for yourself.
  • When you proactively take control of your schedule, you’ll be assured that you complete every activity you want to do.

3. I don’t deserve to have a happy life. Perhaps choices you’ve made in the past have caused you considerable psychological pain. You’ve been beating yourself up emotionally over those decisions. However, if you’ve identified them as poor choices, you’ve learned not to repeat them.

  • Congratulate yourself for learning from your mistakes. You’ve gained new knowledge to use from this day forward.
  • Confront this type of thinking by saying, “No, this thought isn’t right. I do deserve to have a happy life. After all, I learn well from my mistakes.”

4. Things never seem to work out for me. This is a general statement that colors how you feel about yourself. It sends a subtle self-message: “I must not be doing anything right.”

  • In reality, you likely do many things well. Spend some time identifying what those things are. Also, you may be focusing too much on what doesn’t work out well and barely noticing what’s going right in your life. Take time now to write down what you do well.

5. If I can’t do it perfectly, then I’m not doing it at all. It’s positive that you want to do your best in all that you do. But how will you try anything new if it has to be done perfectly? Thinking this way will prevent you from ever venturing outside your comfort zone.

  • Try adopting a new mantra: “If at first I don’t succeed, I’ll keep trying until I do.”
  • Allow yourself the opportunity to make mistakes. Remind yourself that making a mistake is a real learning experience you can benefit from. Optimistically embrace your errors.

6. I’m afraid to do the things I really want to do. What are you specifically afraid of? The source of your fears could likely be embarrassment, failure, or what others will think. In reality, it’s healthy to have a certain amount of fear when embarking upon something new or unknown.

  • The key is that, even though you feel the fear, you must do the thing you want to do anyway.  Otherwise, you’ll never know what positive things could happen as a result of following through with your hopes and dreams.

When negative thoughts begin to invade your mind, nip them in the bud with the above suggestions.  Banish your self-destructive thoughts forever and live a life filled with joy and serenity. After all, you deserve it.

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