By Megan K.
Disclaimer: Everything in this post comes from my personal experience with mental illness. I am by no means advocating that the things I have done along the way to improve the way I think and feel about myself will work for everyone. But I encourage everyone that has experiences with negative thoughts to try the tips — they have been very impactful for me and I hope they can help others too.
I was thirteen when I had my first feeling of unworthiness. I felt as if my life was crumbling down on top of me. I hated the way I looked, felt, acted and everything in between. Those feelings continued to build for about 3 to 4 years until I realized that beating myself down was just making everything that I was feeling about myself worse. Now, that might seem like a simple concept to grasp, but the brain is a magnificent thing, and it had tricked me into thinking that I was nothing.
It wasn’t until one day, I was sitting in the car with my mom when she started bawling. She was crying so uncontrollably that I couldn’t understand her, but then I finally made out the words. As she was driving the car she said to me “I love so much. You are my baby and I don’t want to lose you.” At that moment, I realized something: she cared for me more than I ever knew. No matter how many fights we had gotten into, she still loved me SO MUCH. This was a pivotal moment in my life, which is why I wanted to share some suggestions on getting rid of harmful negative thoughts.
Tip #1: Understand that someone out there loves you more than you will ever know.
The love that a person or multiple people have for you is UNCONDITIONAL. Realizing how important you are to someone else helps you begin to see how special you are.
Tip #2: Remind yourself of how special you are.
People used to tell me that I was a perfect, beautiful, kind person that everyone loved. Honestly though, when people said those things to me it would just annoy me. My brain was just pushing it aside; that wasn’t what my mind had been telling me for the past few years. Therefore, what other people were saying to me could not be true; that is not what I had taught myself. In order to reverse the negative thoughts, you have to teach yourself otherwise. The best way I have found to remind myself of my worthiness is the lock screen on my phone. It may sound silly but every month I change my lock screen to a motivational quote that makes me feel good about myself. This practice is filling your brain with positives rather than negatives.
Tip #3: Do something kind for someone else every single day.
It can be something simple like giving someone directions or giving someone a cart at the grocery store. The little things that make other people smile will also make you feel amazing inside. I met someone new in town the other day and invited her to lunch because she did not know anybody. Not only was she thankful for that, but I found myself happy and smiling for the rest of the day because of the kind gesture that I made. An unexpected act of kindness is a great way to feel positive about yourself and make another person’s day at the same time.
Tip #4: Be patient.
Negative thoughts do not go away over night or in a week or month; IT TAKES TIME. It is a process. It is not a simple one, and I completely understand that. Think of it like running. Poor running form can lead to using more energy than you need to and will eventually result in injury. In order to fix poor running form, you have to practice. But once you have your form perfected, you will be able to run more efficiently and injury free. That is what reversing negative thoughts is like. Practicing these four tips everyday has been helpful for me and I hope they can be helpful to all of you as well.
Make no mistake, I am not completely confident and kind to myself all the time, nor am I completely comfortable with who I am. However, I am one million times better than I was at my darkest point. I have now realized that I am perfect the way I am, and for the first time in as long as can remember I am starting to love myself again.
I have learned to void the negative thoughts in my mind and replace them with positive thoughts and feelings. I really do feel that the four tips above have helped me along the way, and I hope they help you too.
It is alright if you can’t do these things every day, I know I don’t. But that is okay! Together it can be our challenge to try to incorporate these four tips into our daily lives. We can do this!
Feel free to leave comments about your progress or any other advice you believe may help others.