The power of our thoughts can greatly impact our emotional well-being and overall perspective on life. It's important to question the validity of our thoughts and challenge them when they become negative or burdensome. One effective way to do this is through this four-step process that I regularly recommend.
The first step is to ask yourself is "Is this negative thought true?" When negative thoughts arise, it's easy to take them at face value and assume they're accurate. However, taking a step back and questioning their validity can help us gain perspective and clarity.
The second step is to ask yourself is "Is this really true?" This step is especially important because it forces us to examine the evidence behind the thought and determine if it's based on fact or assumption. Take your time on this step if you are struggling. It may even be helpful to put yourself in the other person's shoes and consider how they may view the situation differently.
The third step involves exploring how the thought makes you feel and behave. Negative thoughts can be powerful and cause us to feel a range of emotions from sadness to anger. They can also impact our behavior, leading us to withdraw from loved ones or avoid certain situations.
The fourth step involves considering who we would be without that thought. This step can be empowering because it helps us visualize a reality where the negative thought doesn't exist, and we can move forward without its influence.
One woman who struggled with
negative thoughts about her relationship with her mother was able to apply this four-step process and find relief from her pain. At first, she believed that her mother didn't love her and was never there for her. However, when she was asked if it was really true, she began to consider alternative perspectives. Maybe her mother did love her but had difficulty expressing it or had a different way of showing it. The woman also explored how she would feel if she didn't have that thought, and she realized that she would feel lighter and even want to reach out to her mother.
By challenging her negative thoughts and finding alternative perspectives, the woman was able to shift her perspective and find relief from her pain. This four-step process can be a powerful tool for anyone struggling with negative or burdensome thoughts. By questioning the validity of our thoughts and exploring alternative perspectives, we can find new ways of looking at the world and experience greater emotional well-being.