Okay, so we all have been around for the past decade and half when positive psychology has reared its smiling face and has taught us there is more to study in the realm than disorder and dysfunction. It is a field in its infancy so there is a lot of room to grow and understand and there is tons of value there. There are also a lot of unknowns and misunderstandings.
Think Good Thoughts?
One of these misunderstandings is the idea that we can just think good thoughts all the time and boom, life is magical. I do believe that life can be magical when you are in that space, and the momentum carries you forward and everything turns up roses. But when you are down in the dumps and having on of those days it’s not so easy to think yourself better in an instant. We have all experienced that.
So what is it a matter of then? I believe it is a matter of where those thoughts come from. There is all of this underlying preconditioning and programming that is the well from which our thoughts are sprung. There are belief systems and paradigms, there are habits and addictions of thought and mind and cognitive biases. I’ve talked about a few of these things, how to eliminate a limiting belief, what to be aware of in terms of cognitive biases, but we haven’t talked about the process of inquiry that we can sometimes control consciously that may lead to a lot of our “answers”, also known as thoughts.
Stay with me it’ll begin to make more sense in this next sentence. We are always asking ourselves questions, whether we are aware of them or not. After we ask ourselves a question, our brains will seek to find or create an answer to that question and will not rest until it does. It will pull from places like our subconscious, our memory banks, our belief systems, our immediate environment and our creative imagination. (Many of these places overlap.)
Ask me! Ask me! Ask me!
Most importantly, it will take your lead and answer based upon how the question is asked. Most questions point towards an answer or have a partial answer built in to them. Like the question, “What is wrong with me?” It has determined that there is at least one thing wrong with you and must know what it is. So if you ask this question to yourself after you’ve made some mistake or perceived mistake or upon reflection of said perception, you better believe your brain just kicked into overdrive looking for a laundry list to please you. It will find great evidence, and things that look like evidence and if it can’t find anything, it’ll make things up! Oh yes, we do it all the time.
How to Change It
So how can you throw this pattern out of commission. It is super detrimental to your well being and clarity of thought. I’m going to ask you to begin noticing the questions you are asking yourself. Did you just forget your keys, what did your brain tell you after that?
“Why do I always forget everything?”
Well, you just set that labrador free to fetch everything you’ve ever forgotten and come up with at least 3 good reasons why you forget everything. You are forgetful, dumb and/or careless. I’m not calling you this, I wouldn’t talk to you that way, and you wouldn’t allow me to talk to you that way (hopefully). But you do allow you to talk to you that way. And what you say to you matters more than what I say to you any day of the week.
Ask Better Questions
Ask yourself better questions, put a reminder in your phone or on your bathroom window right now that tells you ask yourself better questions. Especially before you fall asleep. Think of all that time of deep slumber. Don’t fall asleep on a self deprecating question – it may show up in your dreams or having you waking up feeling blaugh. Worse yet, it could fuel more bad questions that give you more bad results. Your mind may be so good at this that you could go from confident to self-conscious in seconds.
It won’t be hard to find these questions, we usually blurt them out. If we knew how heavy those words are in their creative strength we would think twice. Especially with the questions as opposed to statements because they do not go out once and do their destruction then, but they start a process within our minds that continues on until it is done. We don’t really know how long that is. You are not sure how to ask yourself better questions? Well, let me give you some tips.
#1. Ask the opposite of what you just asked in self deprecation. What is wrong with me? Nay. What is right with me? Why am I so dumb? Nay. Why am I so super-gosh-darn-smart? I look terrible! Nay. I look like a bad mama-jama. Okay, the last one was a statement, but that’s good too!!
#2. Ask questions randomly based upon the weakest part of your self-perception. If that is your ability to do math and it makes you feel bad about yourself. Instead of constantly affirming, “I’m not a math person! Uggg!!”, or “Numbers hate me!! Booo.” You can ask, “Why am I always getting better at math all the time?” Hehe. See it’s easy.
#3. And here are some free questions you can put in your pocket and turn that negative train of thought around. Pun intended!!
Why am I so inexplicably awesome?
Why is life so good to me?
Why do I look so beautiful today?
Why am I surrounded by such amazing people?
Why do I feel so good?
Okay folks, have fun with these questions. It’s all about what you do with what you have, and I can tell you, you probably have a lot more than you think.
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