Negative Thoughts - A Key to help us Heal
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
According to people who have taken the time to research these things, we have about 60,000 thoughts per day. And out of these 60,000 thoughts, 80% are negative. So it’s safe to say that avoiding negative thoughts is a near impossible feat. I think as human beings, it is part of our nature to push away darkness or hide from it. Whether it’s the New Age philosophies of ‘only love and light and positive thinking’ or the Western culture of popping pills that make us numb, we seem to cringe when faced with negativity, and retreat to a safety zone where we don’t have to deal with pain. Ironically, this tends to keep us in a perpetual cycle of living with our pain in a way that robs us of true living.
So what can we do with our negative thinking? I think a good first step would be to acknowledge it. I’m not saying to dissect every negative thought that arises, that’s about 48,000 thoughts and would take up the whole day, but we can acknowledge the persistent ones, because usually they’re part of a pattern, one that can take us down the rabbit hole of negativity within our subconscious. If we acknowledge and observe these thoughts, observe them rather than engaging with them, we can become aware of the deeper place they’re generating from. Our negative thinking is a protective mechanism of our minds to keep us distracted from the fears they are trying to mask; so, in observing these thoughts, we become aware of the fears behind the thoughts which is where our pain hides. The second step then, is to acknowledge the fear(s) that is behind the negative thinking. Usually, this can even be felt in the body as a physical sensation since our bodies and minds are intimately connected. Connecting to where the fear resides in our bodies helps us to get close to what we are actively trying to avoid with our negative thinking, i.e. our pain.
I woke up this morning with negative thoughts about a man I was with for two years. It was a difficult and often unhealthy relationship where there was a lot of hurt and pain. While I was with him, I would often feel angry and upset and have certain negative thoughts about him. It’s been a while since that relationship has been over, and even though I’ve had a lot of time to process and heal, here I was thinking very similar thoughts as I used to in the past and feeling angry and agitated. So instead of fighting these thoughts and pushing them away claiming ‘I’ve moved on’, I decided to observe them, and allow them to inform me of where they were coming from.
As I observed this pattern of thinking that was within me, I was surprised by the intensity of the negativity that was there. I understood that these thoughts were arising from aspects of me that still felt wounded by my entanglement with my former partner. As I acknowledged that wounded aspect, I was then able to allow the fears to come to the surface. I had to accept that I felt afraid; afraid of never being able to open myself up to someone again, afraid that I was going to be alone and afraid that the mistakes I had made in that relationship we going to repeat themselves or follow me around. And as I allowed these fears to reveal themselves, I felt a heaviness in my heart; and I sunk into the feeling of grief and sadness that was there. I realized behind all of the negativity and fears, what was really there was the loss of this person in my life and what we shared. And so I wept for a while, letting my body release the pain I was trying so hard to fight. Afterwords I felt much lighter and I noticed that my mind had calm down, and the negative thoughts were no longer there.
One of my mentors likes to say, what we avoid looking at, gets stronger and what we look at disappears. My acupuncturist likes to say ‘when you feel it, you heal it’, whenever I express my extreme discomfort with his carefully placed needles. When we look at our fears in the face rather than avoiding them, they lose their power over us and even better, we are then able to tap into the pain the fears are helping us avoid. And when we acknowledge, accept and get intimate with what hurts, we can release this energy from within us and create more light and clarity for ourselves.
So don’t fight your negative thinking or allow it to run amok without any supervision. Rather I encourage you to use your negativity as a portal into your deeper self where dwells the ability to heal and open up to love.