“Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place.” ~~Judith Wright
“You don’t have to be a positive person all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.” ~~Lori Deschene
“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.” ~~Tracee Ellis Ross
#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
Have you ever watched a toddler express themselves? One moment they can jump at the chance to try something new or be absolutely wide open in varying degrees of delight or distress. Kids are swept up in the moment; living in the present without regard to how they are perceived. Little ones have not learned how to emotionally regulate themselves or disconnect from their feelings. Somewhere along the lines of learning and growing, we can learn short cuts to experiencing this natural process.
Addiction is an attempt to escape this progress. Instead of experiencing and moving through thoughts or emotions, alcohol or drugs in effect, put a barrier in front of this development. This can lead to an excess of negativity. For instance, instead of feelings of wonder or curiosity, we can react with an overabundance of worry or dread to something different. In our WFS Program booklet it states “Negative thoughts can cripple our spirit and paralyze thinking. They often come from feelings of inadequacy. We invite bitterness into our lives when we think negatively of ourselves.” Here is where Statement #2 in action aides us in creating and then maintaining balance.
Challenging negative thoughts begins with awareness of them. In sobriety, our mind is clearer and we have access to our thought process. Here are 4 tips in managing negative thoughts:
- Examine your thoughts: Slow down and examine what you are thinking. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by thoughts when you first start to acknowledge them.
- Identify patterns: Write down your thoughts. Are some of your thoughts repetitious? Look for patterns.
- Challenge usefulness of negative thoughts: If your thoughts are telling you that you are not worthy, challenge that thought by asking how that thought helps you.
- Add affirmations: Counter negative thoughts by affirming something positive about yourself. If you are unable to do _______and your thoughts say you are useless, counter it by affirming that you have the ability to learn, practice and then achieve your goal.
Hi 4C Women,
I am a firm believer that words are powerful. They can hurt and they can heal. I think back to a meeting I had with my guidance counselor as a high school junior. She looked straight at me and told me I was not college material. What I heard and internalized is that I was stupid. I took the commercial course in my senior year and because of my strength in shorthand and typing, I got one of the highest scores in my application to work in Washington, D.C. Even though I was proud of my accomplishments, I truly never felt completely confident and thought any minute they would see I was a fraud as I saw myself.
Sadly, negative thoughts permeated my life. When I started working at the YWCA in NJ as a secretary, I never dreamed I would eventually be promoted to the Director of the Women’s Center Dept. I was still waiting for them to realize they made a mistake, waiting for the director to call me in to her office as the counselor did in high school and tell me I wasn’t leadership material. In fact, after one year I got my first negative review being told I was a maintenance person, nothing new established.
I remember going to my first WFS conference that year and feeling so defeated. Well, that conference was a life changer. It finally sunk in that I had the choice to change my thinking or continue devaluing myself. By the end of the next year, I created 17 new programs and brought WFS to the YW. Initially, Statement #2 asked us to “remove” negativity from our lives.
I am so appreciative of the new wording in asking us to “reduce” negativity. For me, reducing seemed natural and in line with WFS philosophy that I would not deny my feelings but work through them. The second quote Karen shared with us speaks to my heart because feelings are just that and what I have always loved about WFS is the ability to acknowledge and express our feelings authentically. There were days when I was always looking for the other shoe to drop because I felt I didn’t deserve anything good in my life and the consequence would be a negative outcome which I truly believed I deserved. There was no being in the moment, enjoying a positive experience. In reflection, I realize that I missed a lot of wonderful moments due to my negative thoughts.
I finally began to bask in the positive moments. What I realized is that I still had strong negative thoughts about me, my worthiness and that was when I understood the process of reducing negative thoughts. If I were to learn how to love myself, those negative thoughts about my being had to be exchanged with positive, life affirming words. Karen’s questions 3 and 4 are exactly what is needed to start the process of self-love from negative, self-devaluing words to uplifting, empowering words. And while negative thoughts destroy our well-being, it can also harm relationships, friendships and our ability to set boundaries. Loving ourselves, promoting our well-being can heal ourselves and our relationships.
What empowering words are you using to define yourself?
What is in your tool box to reduce the negative thoughts either about yourself or life in general?
Are you ready for a negative reduction and an increased positive buildup?
Bonded in making positive thoughts the habit you are developing, Dee
June 11-13, 2021
The WFS Virtual Conference 2021 will feature three Keynote Speakers this year, as well as 18 different presentations over the course of the weekend! Six WFS Zoom meetings are scheduled! Saturday is not only filled with presentations, but also the WFS Auction will be held as a virtual silent auction! Later Saturday evening we’ll Say YES! to WFS with a paddle raise fundraiser as well as some fun lead by the WFS online facilitators. This year there will be Ice Breaker activities the week before Conference as well. Hope to see you there!
Agenda (not including Icebreakers) – all times US/Eastern:
Friday, June 11
7:30-9:30 pm Opening Ceremony & Keynote Speaker Rebecca Ray
9:15-10:15 pm WFS meeting
Saturday, June 12
8:30-9:30 am WFS meeting
10:00-11:30 am Breakout Sessions I –choose from 1 of 4 presentations!
12-1 pm Keynote Speaker Mary Beth O’Connor
1:30-3 pm Breakout Sessions II Choose from 1 of 4 presentations!
3:30-4:30 pm WFS meeting
5:00-6:00 pm WFS Auction!
6:00-7:30 pm Celebrate the Possibilities! Fun-Fundraising-Entertainment
10-11:00 pm WFS meeting
Sunday, June 13
8:30-9:30 am WFS meeting
10-11:30 am Breakout Sessions III –choose 1 of 5 presentations!
12-1 pm Keynote Speaker Ester Nicholson
1:30-3 pm Breakout Sessions IV — choose 1 of 5 presentations!
4:00-5:00 pm Closing Ceremony
5:30-6:30 pm WFS meeting