Is this Thought Helpful?
(even if it might be true?)
“I’m fat”, “I’m incompetent”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m too old”, “I’m too young”, “I’m boring”, “I’m a loser”, “I can’t handle this”…does any of this sound familiar?
Most of us have some pretty nasty self talk. And usually there is a fairly lengthy story attached to these thoughts as well. We all have a very well defined belief system promoting the notion that these nasty thoughts are absolute fact.
Regardless of whether they are true or not, are these thoughts helpful? Do they propel you forward and inspire you to take actions to improve your situation?
I doubt it. More likely, they stop you in your tracks and lead you to do more of what already makes you feel bad.
If the thoughts help? By all means, keep them. But for most of us, thoughts like these do not help at all.
But, we’re often too caught up in these thoughts to stop the story in our heads.
Simply questioning if these thoughts are true, won’t make them be less harmful. And actually getting rid of them is next to impossible, though doable over time. So, what can we do RIGHT NOW to take action in the face of these thoughts?
Ask… “Is this thought helpful?” If no, then, add a few words… “I’m noticing I’m thinking___”
“I’m a loser” = “I’m noticing that I’m thinking I’m a loser”.
Chew on that for a minute. Do you notice that there is a slight separation between you and the thought?
Write out your own nasty self talk…the whole hideous story. Pick the thought that is the nastiest. Ask yourself, “is that thought helpful?” Then, add the “I’m noticing I’m thinking___” in front of it. Does it have less of a hold on you? Maybe it’s not quite as ‘personal’ as it was before?
Practice this through out the day as these thoughts pop into your head. Start to “notice” your self talk and question if it’s helpful. Remember, the self talk will not likely go away, but you don’t have to connect with it…just notice it. And ask, is this thought helpful?