When we're having trouble thinking positively, it can feel like there's something wrong with us—like we need to change something about ourselves. But what if instead of focusing on changing ourselves or our thoughts in order to be happier, we could just accept that we are who we are and work with what we've got?
Now hear me out. Yes, I know: We've all heard the advice about how we should focus on the positive and try to think more positively. I get it. But for some of us, that can feel like an uphill battle—and the harder you try to be positive, the more negative you feel. It's like a kind of cognitive whiplash.
We were told to replace "I can't" with "I can." To replace "I hate" with "I love." To replace "It's impossible" with "Anything's possible!" But now that we're adults, we realize: Sometimes those negative thoughts are right. Sometimes the thing you want to accomplish is impossible. Sometimes you do hate something. Sometimes you can't do something.
But what if it doesn't have to be that way? What if you can actually work WITH your brain and your thoughts instead of against them? What if you can learn to embrace your negative thoughts and turn them into something that actually serves you? What if instead of trying to silence those negative thoughts altogether, we could actually turn them into something good? Something productive? Maybe even something that helps US be a little happier?
Instead of trying to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, why not try actually listening to your negative thoughts for once? Maybe they have something useful to say. Maybe you should listen to them for a bit and let them tell you what's on their mind. If you listen long enough, maybe you'll learn something about yourself, about where those thoughts are coming from, and why you're having them in the first place.
I used to be a negative thinker. I mean, I had plenty of good ideas, but when I sat down to write, I'd catch myself thinking things like "this is terrible" or "no one is ever going to buy this." In the past, these thoughts would cause me to give up and move on to something else. But now, I know better. I know that the only way to create something great is to do just that: create.
I can't expect my first draft to be a masterpiece. Those things are rare. And if they're not rare, then they're probably not very good. The point is this: if you want to write something people will read, you need to keep writing until it's something people want to read. It won't happen on your first attempt (probably). It might not even happen on your second or third attempt—but eventually, it will happen if you keep trying.
I've found that the best way to combat negative thoughts is by following a simple process. First, I acknowledge and write down whatever it is that's on my mind. Now that it's in front of me, I can look at it objectively and dissect what's wrong with it. Often, this reveals that the idea isn't as bad as I initially thought! If there are still parts of it that aren't working for me, however, then I can work through them without fear of losing sight of the first draft or the original idea behind it.
Another thing you can do when you're caught in a negative spiral is to take a step back and look at your work from an objective perspective. When you look at it again, envision how someone else might see it. Is it really so bad? Can you find something good about it? You'll usually be able to find some redeeming quality in your work, and by focusing on that instead of the negative, you'll be able to get back on track with a more positive attitude.
I am trying my best to understand myself as a negative thinker. We should not be criticizing ourselves for every small mistake we make, rather, appreciate it as we learn from it. Sometimes we even learn from our mistakes and become a better person.
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