A friend of mine recently asked me, “If you could get rid of any negative thought, then which one would it be?” It was a question I haven’t thought about in years. I actually don’t believe we can control or eliminate thoughts. We can only acknowledge them and then choose whether to accept them or not.
Yet, it had my mind whirling. What would I choose to lose?
- Negative thoughts about my body.
I think this is the area that harms my well-being the most. I struggle to see truth in this area so when a negative thought comes, I have no idea what to do with it. Accept? Let go? No clue. Am I fat? Overweight? Clinically, yes. Does this thought help me? Not necessarily. In fact, it mostly overwhelms me. At the same time, if I never had a negative thought about my body, then would I even be interested in healthy change? I think not. Perhaps our negative thoughts are more of messages or arrows pointing us to areas of improvement. Regardless, this particular area confuses me and I don’t know the truth or the way forward most of the time. If I could avoid this particular pain (which I cannot), then I would (but I cannot).
2. Negative thoughts about my purpose in life.
Some days, things feel really meaningless. Yes, my baby does need his bum wiped. No, I do not feel it gives my life meaning. Yet, it is one of things I do most frequently and so in my head the negative thoughts come. What am I doing with my life? Am I really helping the world? How can I make a difference? Just today, these thoughts rendered me immobile and I lay in bed questioning the meaning of life, while listening to the activities of my household in the background. For hours I did this. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get past these thought – to choose – accept or let go? Oh, how I wish I could! But I cannot.
Those are the two things I would ditch (if I could), but, unfortunately, we can’t skip pain in life. We can’t skip negative thoughts and, as I said earlier, this is probably a good thing. Negative thoughts, like failure, are simply arrows to areas that need attention. Just as I’ve said about failure, we must meet negative thoughts with curiosity, not condemnation.