Reorienting from the Negative: There’s always something good to orient to…find it!


Let’s face it, there are times when it seems like the whole world is coming down on top of us. Bills are due, work is late, we’re out of milk and the car has a flat tire.

We have all experienced those times when it seems like the perfect storm has us in the crosshairs.

Once the negative experiences take up residence in our lives, the negative thinking is often not far behind.

“I can’t do this!”

“I can’t get ahead!”

“This is never going to work out!”

It is so easy to fall into the downward vortex which creates a never-ending negative, self-reinforcing, self-destructive feedback loop.

Sadly some of us get so “good” at thinking negatively we don’t even realize we are doing it.

As the old saying goes, “I think, therefore I am…”

But what if what we’re thinking isn’t true?

Just because I have a thought, does not make it so.

Negative thoughts are often based on fear, not on truth.

Sometimes the thoughts we have are holdovers from messages we learned when we were young: messages about ourselves...

messages about safety or lack of safety in the world.

Messages which are all too often outdated at best, and just plain wrong at worst. For more on this see my post on “This Negative Tape Playing in My Mind.”

Negative thoughts are a way of protecting ourselves against something bad happening: Negative thoughts are a defense mechanism.

If the negative thoughts convince me “I suck; I’ll never get this project done on time…” then when I don’t get it done on time, at least I won’t be disappointed.

Negative thoughts are a way of hedging our bets--a strange attempt at softening the blow when something disappointing does happen.

But at what cost?

We’ve got the rest of the world out there waiting, indifferently perhaps, to knock us down a peg. Why do it to ourselves?

If we are content to roll around in negative thoughts then we are also less inclined to find the motivation to push through an obstacle, to reach a little higher and to overcome the low bar we’ve mentally set for ourselves.

This is self-limiting.

We owe it to ourselves to think carefully about our thoughts…to examine the thoughts we have and consider whether or not they are true and accurate, or whether they are holdovers, old learning which is hanging on to fear.

So what do we do about the negative thoughts invading our space?

The first step is to recognize we’re caught in a negativity cycle.

We need to recognize when our go-to thoughts are on the negative end of the spectrum!

With that knowledge we can then choose a different direction.

We can reorient to the positive!

How?

We can begin to see opportunities we may have been overlooking.

We can start small by making a conscious effort to embrace with gratitude the good things we have.

The good people in our life, the clean air we breathe, even the sunshine on our face.

We may even consider working with a trained counselor who can help us sort out the old, outdated ways of thinking and help us connect to the capable, competent person we really are.

The first step is to notice the negativity;

The second is to decide it is worth the effort to make a change.

Remember:

“Every day may not be good…but there is something good in every day.” ~Unknown

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Julie Shewman, LPC

4141 B Street, Suite 206

Anchorage, AK 99503

Please call for an appointment:

Phone: 907.538.4622

Fax: 907.868.8692