This final part in the “Clearing out the Cobwebs” post is going to be about spiritual/mental/emotional clutter. Although it can be less noticeable than physical clutter, the kind that one can do the whole “shove-it-under-the-bed-or-in-the-closet” routine, the kind of clutter that clogs up our brain is a far more sinister creature indeed. Sometimes we notice those unproductive, unhealthful thoughts entering our heads…and we can choose to either entertain them-thus giving them power over us, or pretty much tell them to take a flying leap, and thus disregard the negativity of them. Other times we don’t take note of them, and we let it fall into the static hum of background noise. Although this may seem to be the easier option, to just ignore it (but not NEGATE what those disruptive thoughts are saying) it is not the healthy option.
I speak from my own experiences, of not taking the time and making the effort to address the myriads of thoughts…most of them negative in some way…that entered my head. I just went on with my day, and those thoughts continued to stream in, unchecked and unbound from any restraints of rationality or reasoning. Thoughts such as: “geez you look awful today” “you idiot, you should have figured that out sooner” “Why are you so clumsy, I mean really, it’s embarrassing” “stop babbling like a lunatic, you’ll never make friends like that” “you don’t deserve people to love you, you’re such a loser” “just give up, you’ll never succeed anyway” “you are such a disappointment” “you’re so ugly.”
Sound familiar? I’m going to bet that you have had all, some, or at least one of those thoughts roll into the Brain Station…and let me tell you, everyone that disembarked from that train is really awful. Those voices, those thoughts, they’re angry, rude, disgusted, slyly manipulative, and they take up residence in your mind and heart. And what’s worse is that they tend to come back, all day, every day. Poking their noses in where they’re not wanted, jabbing accusing fingers at you, tugging on your mental and emotional sleeves and nagging, constantly nagging for your attention. Say you made a mistake, big or small, and you and your negative thoughts were to have a conversation about your mistake, and you don’t address, and then dispose of that negative thought process, it would probably end up something like this:
Thought: “Ugh. you idiot!”
You: “Yeah…it’s pretty bad”
Thought: “See, you’re worthless, you can’t do anything right”
You: “No…I…I just made a mistake, it’ll be okay…”
Thought: “Ha…only a failure makes that mistake, and you are a failure.”
You: “But I did my best!” (or) “But I didn’t know that was going to happen!” etc.
Thought: “Failure. Failure. Failure. All you will ever be is a failure.”
You: “Failure….failure…all I will ever be…”
Do you see the toxic warfare that goes on in your head and heart? If we allow these thoughts to manipulate and control us, they will lie their way into the deepest reaches of our souls, and hang on tooth and nail, pulling the noose ever tighter as time goes on, and soon the acknowledgment of the lie in a non-negating way, turns into listening to that lie rant at you over and over, which then turns, at long last, into you BELIEVING the lie, and when you believe the lie…you make it a part of you. It becomes what I call “Internal Clutter”.
It took in my life a negative event to get me to even begin the processes of productive, affirmative self talk, and self thought. To sum it up in as few words as possible, I had placed myself in a negative situation for about three years, which I finally got out of, due to it being an extremely manipulative and unhealthy situation. I had by that time believed every thought and lie about myself that entered my head…those whispered words from the enemy of our soul, I bought them hook, line, and sinker. I not only bought into them, but I believed them so deeply that they became slashed into every part of my brain and heart. It took the ending of the situation for me to see those wounds, that I had allowed to be inflicted upon myself, due to me not taking control of the situation and banishing those thoughts for what they were: LIES.
I would like to introduce you to a book that really has impacted me in a HUGE way, and has been and is still helping me to begin the wonderful, life changing journey of self help, specifically “Self-Compassion”, and I HIGHLY reccomend it, it is well worth your read. I will write more about this fantastic book at a later date, but for now here it is, and I will share a link to her website where you can further check it out.
“Self-Compassion” by: By Kristin Neff, Ph.D.
Please check this website out, and read this book! I promise it will help you in more ways than you can imagine. 🙂
To close, let me boil down my favorite formula, if you will, of negating harmful self talk and self thought:
- Stop and recognize that you are having a negative thought
- Once you recognize it, acknowledge that it this thought does not define you, it is not who you are, it is a lie.
- Take that thought and turn it around, i.e. go from: “I’m such a failure” to “I did my very best, and even though I did not succeed, I will try again. I am a success for doing my best and for keeping going even when it gets tough.”
I promise that if you make an EFFORT to do this every single time you have a negative thought, and believe me, it is an extreme effort sometimes, it is so well worth it and you will become a much better person for it.