Some of you are in the throes of spring cleaning (admit it, that closet is bursting).
Perhaps you’re transitioning from cold weather to warm weather clothes or you’re shopping for new tools despite your packed-to-the ceiling garage.
You have a relationship with the stuff you haven’t bothered to toss out or organize because you’ve told yourself you just don’t have the time or there is too much to deal with right now. So stuff just piles up. Can you even see the floor anymore?
As part of our Spring of Fear series (this is episode #1), we at Productive Learning are piggybacking on those cleaning sprees. We invite you to approach the closets of the unquestioned thoughts in your mind while you think about those items that over-stuff your house and generate less than desirable feelings.
We’re not asking you to de-clutter and clear out these thoughts! We’re suggesting you poke around and take stock of what’s influencing your thinking that you may not be completely aware of and what emotions you feel. Maybe you spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others. Maybe there are thoughts of guilt or anger associated with your family. Or you’ve convinced yourself you’re stuck at a job or in a marriage. These are hard thoughts to dust off and pull out of the closet.
Avoiding this thinking is an unhealthy behavior we were conditioned to accept. We avoid it because we were also conditioned to believe that it brings up unwanted feelings (e.g.. fear, anger, hurt, sadness, etc.). We know how others responded to those feelings in the past: “Don’t be sad…. There is nothing to be afraid of… I won’t tolerate that tone of voice…If you’re going to cry, go cry in your room… I don’t want to hear it…” Our caregivers, parents, and teachers unintentionally taught us to get away from these feelings and subsequently these thoughts. They meant well, but they misled us.
When you ignore thoughts it’s like ignoring that pile of stuff in your house. It just adds up to more work, stress, time, and procrastination. And of course, ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.
As humans with a brain that’s wired for survival, not happiness, we are natural avoiders. It’s our deepest desire to get away from anxiety, anger, rage, and fear. Instead of using these thoughts and emotions to enlighten ourselves and enhance our well being, we avoid, suppress, and bolt from them.
So many of us have suffered from anxiety and depression because we don’t have a healthy relationship with painful thoughts. We try suppressing these thoughts, but that only leads to subversive behavior. We skip out on a romantic date, we don’t say what we mean, we don’t lose the weight, and so on… This is why affirmations, vision boards, and telling yourself to “just think positive!” don’t work. They only serve as another form of avoidance.
In fact, it creates an issue. If one needs to “think positive” then it suggests there is such a thing as negative thinking.
But what if we told you there’s no such thing as negative thinking? That’s right. Negative thinking is a myth!
Emotionally intelligent people know that no emotional state is negative. There are no wrong feelings—especially fear. They don’t go around avoiding unpleasant thoughts, wanting to feel good all the time. Emotionally intelligent people translate their thoughts into an empowering decision-making force. Imagine trusting that every one of your thoughts is an emotional indicator guiding you with a higher intelligence. That means your thinking is NEVER, ever negative.
It’s time to consciously disrupt avoidance, dismantle the myth of negative thinking and experience all mind chatter as empowering thinking. You may imagine it’s not possible. You have too many worries and fears. Our mind is meant to protect us from fear so imagination blows those worries out of proportion.
Instead, imagine experiencing life without being afraid of pain. What if you didn’t fear rejection? What if you could summon your trauma and use it as a rocket propelling you toward exceptional personal growth? What if you appreciated all your thoughts, feelings, judgments, opinions and concerns? What if you saw it all as useful?
Undesirable thoughts have a purpose. To love the sad, the mad, and the fear is to listen to its enlightening messages. These so-called “negative” emotions are not negative at all! They can deliver clarity and when translated properly give you direction and create intimacy. Coming to terms with what you may call “negative thoughts” takes time, but the time you devote to it doesn’t compare to the freedom it reaps. You may be uncomfortable, but comfort is so overrated.
Productive Learning trainers have seen hundreds of clients use “negative thinking” as the catalyst for breakthroughs in the workplace, personal relationships, self-care, and spirituality. Acknowledging and embracing uncomfortable thoughts that create hardships is an act of self-love.
An extraordinary life isn’t a fearless life. It’s a life that uses fear to create “extraordinary.” An extraordinary life is when everything inside of you is welcome and met with understanding. When you love everything you think, that is true freedom.
Take stock of what you may call “negative thoughts.” Roll up your sleeves and get ready to go through that closet in your mind. Acknowledge what’s there. Go through it piece-by-piece, thought-by-thought. You can’t begin to imagine the treasure you will find nor the joy you will feel from repurposing what you once thought was useless. There is nothing inside of you that isn’t absolutely, 100% necessary for your extraordinary life!