I am in Pasadena, California to attend the Rose Bowl game and parade. I noticed an article in the well-being section of the local magazine titled “Quit Beating Yourself up over a Lousy Childhood.” I am always interested in learning more methods of helping others thrive so I naturally read the article.
As is so often the case the reading left me not only disappointed but somewhat frustrated. It begins with a successful gentleman, Otis, who describes his current life as including a loving family and lady in his life but who often feels negative emotion related to his long ago childhood. He compounds the negative emotion by feeling guilty about feeling the negative emotion since he has a good life now. The response from the psychotherapist is accurate in the goal (stopping the negative self-talk) but provides no guidance about how to accomplish that goal.
There is little point in telling someone to stop doing a destructive behavior if they are not given guidance about how to stop that behavior. It is as unproductive as telling someone to ‘Think Positive’ without providing the knowledge and skills for them to successfully master the ability. In my opinion, such advice without knowledge and skills can actually compound the problem. When simply told to stop the negative self-talk or “think positively” an individual is likely to believe other are able to take that advice and successfully achieve the goal and think even less of themselves when they are unable to do so.
The truth is that our thoughts are habits – as much as any habit – good or bad are habits. Smoking is a habit. So is the way you greet and say good bye to loved ones – whether it involves heartfelt hugs, kisses and hello’s or casual attitudes that show one another that they are taken for granted.
There are many techniques that can change habits of thought and every individual is capable of far more control over these habits than most use. But without basic knowledge about how the mind works to reinforce existing habits of thought and proven techniques to change those habits an individual is not likely to succeed in changing.
Our programs teach many techniques that can successfully allow an individual to change their own habits of thought to ones that will enable them to thrive – often in ways they never imagined they could.
Often the first step is to stop believing everything you think. The knowledge we share about how the mind works and how it filters information received by the conscious mind helps an individual realize that more than truth plays into what they think. Once this awareness is gained it becomes far easier to use techniques to change to more productive habits of thought.
Refuting thoughts that do not serve you makes more sense when you realize that just because you think a thought does not mean it is true. Most people have given far too much credence to what other people think and say to them not realizing that others’ opinions always reflect far more about the one with the opinion than the subject of their opinion. In our programs we demonstrate this in ways that make it very apparent and allow individuals to give less power to harmful input from others.
One technique that can be effective (and far more effective once an individual understands key aspects of the functioning of minds) is to negate the negative self-talk. Looking for examples that demonstrate the lack of truth in the negative belief about oneself can eliminate the power of such thoughts. There are many other methods detailed in our programs.
Our goal is to help individuals thrive. Everyone, no matter how awful or wonderful their current life feels, can improve their experience.
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