Worried your negative thoughts will attract more negativity?
*We all have negative thoughts from time to time, here’s what to do next time you feel like you’re spiralling into a vortex of anxiety
A few years ago my partner of now six years announced that he was jetting off to “Europe” on a boys trip the following year. I’ve written about this ‘couples traveling separately’ quandary before, but today I want to focus on the head-fuckery that can ensue after something you perceive as being ‘awful’ happens to you and you anxiously rationalise in your head whether everything will be okay.
And I do hate to keep coming back to this example in my life, but it was, at the time, one of only two pretty shitty things that that really ‘tested’ me — and the other thing I’m not prepared to write about yet.
When shit hits the fan, so to speak, it’s only natural that we at least momentarily agonise over it in our heads, imagining all the possible scenarios that could then play out, and getting sucked in deeper into the anxiety vortex quicker than you can say “Go f*ck yourself”.
So, here I was, a month after his announcement that he was jetting off to the land of partying with a bunch of his mostly single mates, still trying not to be personally insulted that he hadn’t consulted or included me. And then deathly afraid of my mind and the hell it could potentially create for me from now until then:
Will he cheat on you? Will you be an anxious mess and fuck it up and leave him? Will he get caught up doing something stupid and be thrown in an Italian prison?
The thing is, all those self-help books and Instagram quotes kept telling me that positive thoughts are good and negative thoughts are bad. That, “What we think we attract, what we imagine we create” and what you “resist persists” so, in the back of my mind I was slightly terrified that:
“What if all my negative thinking and anxiety about this MAKES something awful happen?”
As you can imagine, it terrified me that this last thought might be true and I then tried my hardest not to let any negative thoughts pop into my head. But this is a fools game. An exhausting and fruitless fools game. I don’t know if you’ve realised yet, but in my 25 years on this earth, I’ve never been able to ‘stop’ certain thoughts from being ‘birthed’ by my overthinking brain. There’s just no use even trying.
Know what we do instead?
1. Quit judging your negative thoughts, and;
2. Make friends with the negativity.
As my favourite female-empowerment author, Marina J, says in her book “Turn yourself on”:
“Did you know: it’s actually your judgement of your negative side that is actually the problem? Not, your negative side?
Make friends with the negativity. Welcome it in. Let it be there momentarily, have tea with it and then kick it out to the curb when it’s time for ‘happy hour’ down at your Local Bar.
The mind is a great storyteller, and in fact, it never stops. Rather than trying to push the negative thoughts away or plastering over them with ‘positive’ thinking, calmly ask yourself these questions:
Is this an old thought? Have I heard this one before? Do I gain anything from listening to it again?
Can I do anything about this problem?
What am I gaining if I buy into this thought?
Is it true? Is it 100% true and can I be sure of that?
Be ruthless in your attitude towards your thoughts, like Beyonce would be towards her ‘haters’. Beyonce is fierce and confident in herself, and she would scoff at the thought of whether or not someone likes her, whether she looks good enough in what she’s wearing, or whether Jay Z would cheat on her.
And, in fact, turns out Jay Z did cheat on her (allegedly) and her response? beautifully unperturbed. In her lyrics ‘Sorry’ she sings:
“Suicide before you see a tear fall down my eyes”
Let’s all be like Beyonce in our attitude towards our bitchy and negative thoughts.
**Feel free to replace ‘Beyonce’ with some other fearless boss-bitch (or dude); whose attitude you admire.