Negative self-thoughts are the kryptonite to personal goals and dreams

One can remember the excitement one feels whenever one dares to dream about accomplishing something great.  When a great idea pops up as a solution to a problem you imagine how its application could make things better for oneself or others. For a moment, one feels strong and smart, but soon after it’s quickly being buried next to the other great ideas and dreams we once had due to the killer of all dreams and ideas, self-doubt and negative self-thoughts. “What do you I know?” , “Now that’s a stupid idea.”  “No one would benefit from that idea.” “People would laugh at that idea.” “I’m not very smart.”   “I can’t do that” …and so on.

Yes, maybe that idea or dream wouldn’t work out, but again, maybe it would. Why don’t we allow ourselves to consider all of the positively things that may happen if try to accomplish our dreams? Why do we choose to fixate over all the different ways that idea or dream would go wrong? Why do we give up on ourselves so easily? Why do we create justifications for why and how it would not work out? Why do we listen to those dream-killing thoughts as though they were coming directly from god/goddess?

Studies have shown that people who practice negative self-talk (thoughts) often deal with high levels of stress, which has been directly linked to anxiety and/or depression.  When one uses internal negative mantras to help one make decisions, we are training the mind to perceive life as being riddled with negative outcomes. This way of thinking leads to never being able to recognize or actuate opportunities that present themselves, often making life feel pointless.

You don’t have to live this way. You can do something about it, and it does not take a lot of effort to retrain the mind to think more optimistically about our dreams.  Here are some ways that you can restructure your thoughts so that they can help you instead of hinder you:

One thing you can do is catch that negative self-thought in the act. Learn how to notice when you are telling yourself things that you would never say to a good friend.

Remember, your thoughts are just that, thoughts, and they’re not necessarily based on reality.  Your thoughts and feelings are often influenced by the mood you’re in which changes throughout the day.

Challenge those negative thoughts. Its important to catch your negative thoughts and question the validity of it. Most of the time a negative thought is an exaggeration so its important to ground yourself on what’s real versus what your mind makes up to keep you in a negative place.

It’s important to give negative thoughts a voice. Saying what you’re thinking out loud to yourself or to someone you trust can make you realize how unrealistic or unfair you’re being to yourself. 

Fake it until you make it. Replace those negative thoughts with positive and encouraging thoughts that are true. Keep doing this until you start noticing that you need to do this less and less.

Understand that change takes time, so, give yourself the patience you would unselfishly give to a loved one. Last but not least, learn how to be compassionate and loving towards yourself, you deserve it, and you also deserve the opportunity to finally make your dreams come true.

Author
Alejandra Luna LCSW, Mental Health Therapist/LGBTQ+ Specialist

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