“One day I looked at something in myself that I had been avoiding because it was too painful. Yet once I did, I had an unexpected surprise. Rather than self-hatred, I was flooded with compassion for myself because I realized the pain necessary to develop that coping mechanism to begin with.” ~~Marianne Williamson
“Failing well is a skill. Letting girls do it gives them critical practice coping with a negative experience. It also gives them the opportunity to develop a kind of confidence and resilience that can only be forged in times of challenge.” ~~Rachel Simmons
“I’m still coping with my trauma, but coping by trying to find different ways to heal it rather than hide it.” ~~Clementine Wamariya
Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
Recently, many women have felt triggered from numerous social and political developments. From the #Me Too movement and past personal traumas to the uncertainty with LGBT and reproductive rights, there is an air of fury along with an increase of raw emotion. Across this wide range of feelings some women are flooded with fear and negativity. Thankfully, the WFS community is a safe and restorative landing place.
Oftentimes, women can feel that intense emotions are negative. Throughout my life, thoughts of rage have led to extreme emotion, which can still feel frightening. Finding what resides under this anger has opened up healing, bringing understanding and action to light. A continued practice of Statement #2 enables a reduction in negativity.
Negative thoughts are often impulsive and can be reduced through identifying and processing. Instead of turning away from the raw feelings thoughts can bring, even slowly paced processing leads to increased feelings of ease. For instance, try logging negative thoughts into an impulse log. Here is a log with two examples:
Impulsive or Negative Thought:
- I can’t handle this, I need a drink!
- I am mad at the whole world, I want to hit something!
What am I trying to express with this impulsive or negative thought?
- I am afraid, I am in emotional pain, I feel useless and alone.
- Issues important to me are being dismantled and I feel alone.
What will I do instead?
- I can call another 4C woman, go on the WFS Forum, take a walk, or practice breathing.
- I will call my Senator/public official, join a committee, learn how to run for public office
How do I feel after?
- Instead of drinking, I now understand that I was feeling afraid and doubted myself and wanted to escape this intense emotion, so I called a 4C friend, we talked, laughed and I feel hopeful and very happy that I chose to call her, and she too was happy that I called. We are having lunch together next week. My mind is more at ease now.
- Instead of lashing out or getting into road rage, I found a group, signed up for their emails and am looking into what I can do today. I might run for office in the future but right now I am supporting those running for office whose values echo my own and made friends with two individuals at the last gathering. I feel focused on solutions and am putting my energy into helping advance this cause.
How do you move through negative thoughts? Which way is the most effective for you?
Hi 4C Women,
Love the exercise Karen has given us to process our negative thoughts. I related to her fear of experiencing rage as I have definitely felt that extreme feeling throughout my life. Understanding where that feeling originated was an eye opener. I realized that most of my rage came from feeling invisible, inadequate, rejected and powerless – feelings I carried from childhood into adulthood. And those are just a few that I have identified! I use to stay stuck in those negative feelings until I uncovered their origin.
Now when I feel those negative thoughts rushing in, I stop and focus on the core issue of where the thoughts are stemming from. I discovered that many times it is because I am not in control of the situation which means I am not in control of the outcome. Why this surprises me, surprises me! After all, I have learned a long time ago that I am only in control of myself, my actions, my decisions. So, it goes back to those initial feelings which tells me that if I were visible, heard, adequate and empowered enough, the people I love would follow my guidance and I would feel I had worth because they valued my input.
Now, just in case you’re wondering who those people are, it is my family. I share this because while I have learned and gained insight over the years, I think my feelings are typical when it comes to family members (spouse, partner, sibling, children and extended family members). Knowing this in advance, I am able to use positive self-talk, receive support from my friends and the WFS group, and even writing the Monday message helps me. No more running from my negative thoughts.
It’s amazing how my support system can bring me back to common sense, to what I already know deep down inside but for the moment, I lose track of it all. This is why I always emphasize that we are not alone. Reaching out, knowing there are people who relate to you, no explanations, no judgments, what a gift! And sometimes, we just want to be heard. I love being able to turn my negative thoughts around, knowing once again that I am in control of me, not anyone else and it’s my choice to set healthy boundaries as best I can. I am learning to challenge those negative thoughts rather than to be stuck in them. When I challenge, I see the core of “why” and it gives me a chance to create an action plan of how to cope, to create positive change that I am in control of and, as Karen said, focus on solutions and using my energy to advance a cause or find the path to keep creating my New Life.
Have you uncovered the origins of your negative thoughts? If so, how has this helped you turn those thoughts around?
Do you have a support system in place?
Bonded in support of each other,
4C WFS Member