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Understand that the origins of your negative thinking lie in a self-protection mechanism, the fight or flight response, serving to alert you to any potential danger. This is a normal part of our biology and survival instincts rooted in caveman times. We no longer face prehistoric dangers, and yet our mind continues to detect and alert us to any perceived threats to our safety. Today these threats are often emotional, and can FEEL more dangerous than they are.
2. Acceptance and Self Compassion
Once you know that this is a normal part of yourself, you can stop fighting it and work to accept it. Begin to realize that it is a part of everyone, a part of you that deserves compassion, and something that through awareness you can address.
3. Insight and awareness
Now that you know why this occurs and work to accept it, you can create space to identify what it is you are telling yourself and start to challenge that. Sometimes we have created a narrative about ourselves throughout life to criticize ourselves around, other times we are simply self-critical. Whatever the case, figure out what you are telling yourself, and where it is rooted, so that you can start to deconstruct and change it.
Once you identify your negative thought patterns and their origins, you can take action to challenge thoughts. A few different suggestions for angles that you can take are listed below.
Use Positive Psychology to focus on the positive, identify your strengths, or do things that help you to feel good about yourself.
Use Self Expression to release the negativity and use it constructively, or share with others.
Use Thought related techniques including writing positive affirmations, reciting mantras, challenging negative self-talk.
Use Self-exploration to learn what you need to love yourself and accept yourself for who you are no matter what you learned in life or the experiences that you have.
It is crucial to love, honor and appreciate yourself in this lifetime and to find ways to let go of ego, self-criticism and judgment to increase satisfaction. There is no reason for us to criticize ourselves as we are all imperfectly perfect in our humanness, and destined for unique glory.
Lisa Resnick, LPC, LMHC, CHHC – www.Lisaresnicktherapy.com