Negative self talk and the stinking thinking behind it can be bothersome. Worse than that, deeply held negative beliefs, especially when unconscious, limit your potential for health and happiness. They influence you to close doors to perceiving, believing in, and taking action toward life-affirming possibilities.
Truth is, negative thinking patterns, limiting beliefs, and so called negative emotions are normal. Most of us indulge in some form of 'stinking thinking' about ourselves, a situation, or others throughout the day.
There is a biological reason for negative self talk. Parts of your subconscious mind are attune to the negative in order to alert you to danger.
Because we no longer have to maintain a vigilant watch for predators, this part of our brain takes to creating mountains out of molehills in relationships and life circumstances. It can turn what should be minor annoyances into consuming major emotional events that lead to unhappiness, strained relationships, and reactive decisions and actions you may later regret.
Too much stress from chronic negative self talk takes a toll on your health and well-being.
In addition to these innate natural tendencies, you can thank those who influenced you in childhood for a great deal of your unconscious mind programming. The 'truths' you acquired between birth and six years old about yourself and your world laid the foundation for the majority of positive and negative mindset patterns you still have today.
This happens because young childrens' brainwaves make them especially conducive to programming, especially from authority figures. They readily download 'facts' about who they are, others, and life based on their observations and what they are taught. This information, or misinformation, forms the basis of your thinking and shapes your beliefs, personality, thoughts, emotions and feelings. These facets shape how you interact with the world around you.
In addition, traumatic experiences cause instant, lasting imprints at any age.
Children grow up hearing and internalizing an abundance of negative self talk and limiting beliefs. They hear and see their parents, relatives, TV personalities and teachers focusing on the negative. Remember those big red circles and checks for wrong answers? They believe they are stupid, no good, unloved, or unworthy because they are told that by authority figures and see their disapproving looks. They are also adept at drawing their own negative conclusions, sometimes erroneously.
At about five years old, my youngest son illustrated how easily and innocently this happens. He felt hurt because he thought my mother, his grandmother, favored his older brother. Why? Because she always kissed him goodnight first. It never occurred to him that she just naturally climbed up to the top bunk before coming down to kiss him on the bottom bunk.
I hate to think how this may have harmed their loving relationship and his self-worth had he not spoken up, been listened to, and given the first kiss every other night after that.
Stinking thinking does not always sound negative. It can also be is also be exaggerated or false positive thinking. It is one thing to tell yourself you are worthy, loved, intelligent, and other forms of healthy self talk. It is quite another to tell yourself you are better than others, the smartest, most beautiful, richest, or most deserving.
In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck points out that children who are told they are smart or talented, and believe that self worth and success are based on fixed attributes are least likely to excel or stay at the top. They are afraid to take risks because they may fail and crush their fragile self-concept. They limit themselves to what is easy instead of applying extra effort and facing challenges in order to improve and grow. They believe risking failure and needing to try hard means they are not smart after all, and that is the biggest risk of all.
Lying to yourself and living in denial may pump up your ego, but it is not reality and it is not healthy. Not only that, but you are not fooling your subconscious, which aligns with your true beliefs. To make matters more difficult, you may not even know what some of those beliefs are. When you suppress and ignore your feelings, you are really sending them more energy and attention. That is why what you resist, persists. You add fuel to the fire and create more of what you do not want.
There is a common misperception among law of attraction fans that we should not acknowledge our negative self talk and beliefs. We must only focus on the positive when trying to change our reality. They understand that "as a man thinks, so he is".
This is true. What you focus your energy on is what you attract more of, especially when thoughts are paired with emotion.
Brain science bears this out. The brain creates neural pathways according to your thoughts. These pathways are strengthened and can even double in the span of an hour with repetition. Now get this - in order to have enough building blocks for this pathway, it will disassemble one that is not in use. So if you regularly focus on what makes you angry, you may find more opportunities to get angry while your loving thoughts diminish.
Not only is your brain changing, but your cell receptors also change. In a way, your body becomes addicted to those feelings and demands more chemicals from your brain to induce those feelings. So when you notice that you are caught in a vicious cycle of negative self talk and unhappy emotions, you are right.
Here is the problem. That statement is not referring to the conscious mind. It really should read:
As a man thinks in his subconscious mind, so he is.
You can tell yourself all day long how healthy and happy you are, but it will bacfire if your unconscious negative self talk is countering with "No you're not, who are you trying to kid?" And unfortunately, that would be the message that gets reinforced.
Do not concern yourself with random thoughts. Positive or negative, they are not likely to change the course of your life. If they have nothing relevant to say, just dismiss them. Occasional negativity is not bad. Sometimes it is an important, and quite useful way of propelling you away from danger or towards what you want.
What do require attention are the fixed negative mindset patterns that make you miserable, derail your dreams, and keep you stuck in old habits that are more hurtful than helpful. Fortunately, it is within your power to change them. You begin to heal when you acknowledge your stinking thinking and emotions, and fully feel the accompanying sensations manifesting in your body. It is healthy to acknowledge the truth. Then you are free to take the next steps to shift your negative self talk for real, and heal your mind.