Negative thoughts and potential answers

   Since I write a lot about how thoughts are influencing us and that we should counter them, I thought I should give some example. Below can be found the most typical so called “errors” we do from time to time and a potential adaptive response.

  • Thought: If he doesn’t call me back in the next hour, he probably hates me.

Response: Maybe he is busy with some urgent things he has to do. Maybe he wasn’t in the room when I called and he might not look at the phone in the next hour. I remember that yesterday sent me some cute texts and that’s a sign that he doesn’t hate me.

  • Thought: I’ll be so upset, I won’t be able to do anything.

Response: Actually, I don’t know how upset I would be. Maybe that doesn’t matter that much. I faced worse things in my life and I always moved forward so far. I can live with the outcome. My life is more important than this so I’ll do what I need to do.

  • Thought: I handled this situation great, but it doesn’t mean I’m competent. I just got lucky.

Response: It was a pretty tough situation and not lots of people could handle it the way I did. This proves that I am more powerful that I thought I was. I’ve learnt so much from this that I am stronger than before. I did the work and I cannot find any reasons luck had something to do with it.

  • Thought: If I have mediocre results it means I’m a failure and if I have great results it doesn’t mean I’m great.

Response: The fact that I am here proves that I’m good at what I do. If I have mediocre results it’s because I did not prepared hard enough. I’m not what I do in this particular situation. The results are based on the work I’ve put for this so far and it doesn’t mean I am in that way.

  • Thought: I screwed up this one thing so I’m a failure.

Response: I did good so many things that I know I’m better that this (insert some good examples here). I’m not defined by one thing. I’m only a human and it’s normal to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. I’m not defined by this one thing.

  • Thought: I know they think low about me even though they don’t show it.

Response: Actually, I don’t know that. They might also believe that I think low about them and I know I’m not, but they don’t have evidence about it just as I don’t have about them. They probably have their own problems to think about.

  • Thought: The cashier gave me a nasty look because it’s something wrong about me.

Response: She probably has other problems than me. The costumer before me was pretty rude and probably that’s why the cashier seems upset. She might also be upset because she had a rough night or she might have some problems at home.

   What do you think about these responses and how do you respond to your negative thoughts?

32 thoughts on “Negative thoughts and potential answers

  1. This is great. It’s really astonishing how many people have a so-called ‘interpretation bias’. The most important thing is that we observe and catch ourselves every time we have such irrational thoughts so that we can eventually push them out of our mind. Cool post! 🙂

    1. Thank you! Constant countering them might replace those thoughts and I believe we need to do that to have a better life.

  2. I really like your comment about “I screwed up I’m a failure”.
    It’s interesting how many people just jump to the seemly “most obvious solution”, even though it might be terribly dramatic and overstated.
    I’ve just started a new blog, and I can totally relate to some of these comments, especially when I am in a “dramatic mood”

    1. Yes, I agree. And in my opinion, the problem is not the fact that people jump to that conclusion, but the fact that they are not searching for other conclusions as well that can be at least the same “real” as the first one.

  3. I started to change my thoughts over 2 years ago. I am far from a master but I’m so much better. I do a Course in Miracles every day to help remind me. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is also a great starting point.

      1. Someone seemed to call me a bad name on my voicemail. Left by accident. At first my thought was he hates me, I made an enemy. However I immediately knew it has nothing to do with me personally it is just the situation. The next day he was so pleasant made me think it wasn’t even me he was referring to with the word. Just strange timing my voicemail picked up.
        By changing my thought to not take it personally I was also able to communicate with him the next day freely without any hurt feelings. The conversation went very well.

      2. Nicely done! The first impulse is to get mad when someone offenses us (or at least, that’s what we might think), but exploring additional options can help by cooling us down.

  4. I have to admit, what a wonderful idea you had. Many of the thoughts are right on point, at least with me. The responses are a very good alternative to the thoughts, i will try to use them wen necessary, I have to come clean tho on my dark side days usually anything that makes sense or a good thing for me fails to happen.

  5. It depends so much on the situation. If it’s a driver, I don’t even bother with trying to figure out what their malfunction is.
    What I do try to do when anxiety is being that demon on my shoulder is think on why I’m feeling so uncomfortable. Can I say something nice to make that person’s day a little better? Maybe I’m being touchy because of sensory overload. It’s a matter of taking that moment and thinking it through.

  6. Self talk is important. You cannot overcome lies unless you speak the truth. Having said that, I have two observations from my own experience that have helped me to overcome error in my thinking and acting. 1) Speak the truth outloud. (Make it to a mirror if you need to or alone on a walk or to a trusted friend. Just do it.) 2) Absolute truth about who God is and who your are in the light of what He has done (meaning you need a relationship with HIm) is the only truth that will pass the test of time and difficulty. For those that have trusted Jesus as their Savior, Romans 8:1 is a good start: “There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

    1. Great strategy! A problem might be when we don’t know the truth or we just think we know it, but we actually don’t.

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