The Power of Positive Thinking
You could be sending negative messages about yourself to yourself. Lots of individuals do. These are signals that, when you were young, you learned. You heard about discrimination and shame in our community from several different outlets, including other children, your teachers, family members, caregivers, even from the media. You may have repeated these negative messages to yourself over and over once you have learned them, especially when you were not feeling well or when you were having a rough time. Maybe you’ve come to believe them. By thinking up any adverse messages or thoughts of your own, you might have even aggravated the issue. You feel bad about yourself and lower your self-esteem through these negative thoughts or messages. I’m a jerk,” “I’m a loser,” “I never do something right,” “No one will ever like me,” I’m a klutz,” are some examples of common negative messages that people repeat to themselves over and over. Most people believe these messages, no matter how untrue or unreal they are. For example, if you get a wrong answer, you think “I’m so stupid,” they come up automatically in the right situation. They may contain terms such as can, should, or must. The messages tend to imagine the worst, particularly you, in all, and they are difficult to turn off or unlearn. You can believe these thoughts or send yourself these adverse signals so much that you are hardly aware of them. Pay them mind. As you go about your everyday life for several days, take a small pad with you, and jot down negative thoughts about yourself if you find them. When they are tired, sick, or coping with a lot of tension, some individuals say they notice more negative thinking. You could find more and more of them as you become conscious of your negative thoughts. To check whether or not they are real, it helps to take a closer look at your negative thought patterns. To support you with this, you may want a close friend or counselor. When you are in a good mood and have a positive outlook about yourself, ask yourself the following questions about any negative thought that you have noticed:
- Is this message true?
- Will an individual tell another person this? If not, why am I asking myself that?
- What do I get from thinking about this thought? Why not stop worrying about it if it makes me feel bad about myself? If you were to believe this thought for yourself, you might also ask someone else, someone who likes you and who you trust. Sometimes, differently, simply looking at a thought or circumstance helps.
The Path to Constructive Action
The next step in this process is to construct constructive words that you can say to yourself when you find yourself thinking about them, to replace these negative thoughts. You can’t think of two thoughts simultaneously. When you constructively think of yourself, you can’t think of yourself as negative. Use positive terms like happy, peaceful, caring, excited, warm in creating these thoughts. Stop using negative terms, such as concerned, afraid, angry, tired, bored, not, never, can’t. Don’t comment on “I’m not going to worry anymore.” Say “I concentrate on the positive” instead, or whatever feels good to you. Often use the present tense, e.g., “I am healthy, I am well, I am happy, I have a good job,” as if the situation already exists. Substitute “It would be nice if” for “should.” Using the name I, me, or your own. You can do this by folding half the length of a piece of paper to make two columns. Write a negative thought in one column and write a positive thought in the other column that opposes the negative thought, as seen on the next page. You will work to turn your negative thoughts into constructive ones by
- Replacing the negative thought with the positive one if you remember that you consider the negative thought.
- Repeating your good thoughts to yourself over and over, out loud whenever you get a chance, and even sharing them, if possible, with another human.
- Writing them over and over and over.
- Create signs that say the good thinking, hang them in positions where you always see them-like on your fridge door or on your bathroom mirror, and repeat the thought to yourself many times when you see it. When you repeat yourself over and over when you are fully relaxed, or when you are doing a deep-breathing or calming exercise, or when you are just falling asleep or waking up, it helps strengthen the optimistic thinking. It takes time and patience to transform the negative feelings you have about yourself into positive ones.
If you regularly use the following strategies for four to six weeks, you will find that you don’t think so much about yourself as these negative thoughts. You will replicate these behaviors if they recur at any other time. Only don’t give up. You deserve to think of yourself with positive feelings. Activities that will make you feel good about yourself All of the activities below will help you feel better about yourself over the long term and improve your self-esteem. Through them, read. Do those that seem to you to be most relaxed. At a later time, you might want to do some of the other things. You can find that doing some of these tasks over and over again is helpful. Create affirming lists Make lists, read them regularly, and rewrite them from time to time to help you feel better about yourself. You can write your lists there if you have a book. If you don’t, they’ll do some piece of paper. Create a list of the
- At least five of your attributes, such as persistence, bravery, friendliness, imagination,
- You respect at least five things about yourself, such as how you raised your kids, your good relationship with your brother, or your spirituality.
- The five biggest accomplishments so far in your life, such as recovering from a serious illness, graduating from high school, or learning to use a computer.
- At least 20 milestones should be as simple as learning to tie your shoes to get an advanced college degree.
- Ten ways to “treat” or reward yourself that do not require food and do not cost anything, such as walking in forests, shopping windows, watching kids play on a playground, looking at the face of a baby or a beautiful flower, or talking with a friend
- 10 things you should do to make yourself laugh
- 10 things that you can do to help someone else
- You do 10 things that make you feel good about yourself.
Positive Techniques to Achieve Positive Image
Reinforcing a good picture of yourself: You will need a piece of paper, a pencil or pen, and a timer or clock to do this exercise. Any kind of paper is going to do it, but if you just like paper and pen, that’ll be even better. Set a 10-minute timer or record the time on your watch or clock. Write your name on top of your file. Then write down everything you can think of about yourself that is optimistic and healthy. Include unique characteristics, abilities, and accomplishments. Single words or sentences, whatever you want, may be used. If you want to highlight them, you can write the same things over and over. Don’t think about grammar or spelling. You don’t have to arrange your thoughts. Whatever comes to mind, write down. You’re the only one that’s going to see this paper. Avoid making any negative comments, just positive ones, or using any negative terms. Read the paper for yourself when the 10 minutes are done. When you read it, you might feel sad because it’s a fresh, distinct, and positive way of thinking about yourself, a way that contradicts some of the negative thoughts you might have had about yourself. As you re-read this article, those feelings will decrease. Read the article many times over again. Put it in a comfortable position next to your bed, your pocket, purse, wallet, or the table. To keep reminding yourself of how amazing you are, read it to yourself at least many times a day! Find and read a private room aloud. Read it to a good friend or family member who is helpful, if you can. Positive Affirmations Creation Affirmations are positive claims you can make about yourself that make you feel better about yourself. They explain ways that you would like to feel all the time for yourself. However, they may not describe how you feel about yourself right now. The following affirmation examples will help you make your list of affirmations.
- I feel good about myself
- I take care of myself well. I eat well, exercise a lot, do things that I like, get good health care, and take care of my hygiene needs.
- I spend my time with individuals who are kind to me and make me feel good about myself.
- I’m a good person, a good person
- I’m worthy of being alive
- Lots of people like me
Use a List
Create a list of affirmations of your own. Keep this list, like your pocket or purse, in a convenient location. You may want to make copies of your list so that you can quickly access them in many different locations. Read the affirmations to yourself over and over, aloud whenever you can. When you feel like it, share them with others. From time to time, write them down. The affirmations appear to eventually become real for you when you do this. You come to feel better and better about yourself steadily. Your “celebratory scrapbook” and your place to respect yourself. Create a scrapbook that honors you and the incredible individual you are. Include photographs of yourself at various ages, writings that you like, memories of things that you have done and places that you have been, cards that you have got, etc. “Or set up a place that celebrates “you” in your home. It may be on a desk, shelf, or table. Decorate the room with things that remind you of the unique individual you are. Put the items in a special pocket, box, or purse if you don’t have a private room that you can leave set up, and set them up in the space while you do this job. Whenever you need to bolster your self-esteem, pull them out, and look at them. Exercise for gratitude. Write “I like” (your name) at the top of a sheet of paper because:” Have friends, acquaintances, family members, etc., write an appreciative statement about you on it.” Do not deny it when you read it, OR do not disagree with what was written, just accept it! Over and over, read this paper. Hold it in a place where you can always see it. Calendar for Self-esteem. Get a calendar for each day with big blank spaces. Schedule a little thing you’d like to do every day, such as “go to a flower shop and smell the flowers,” “call my sister,” “draw a sketch of my cat,” “buy a new CD,” “tell my daughter I love her,” “bake brownies,” “lie in the sun for 20 minutes,” “wear my favorite fragrance,” etc. Now make a promise every day to update your “enjoy life” calendar and do everything you have planned for yourself. Exercise of mutual complimenting. Get together with an individual you like and trust for 10 minutes. Set a five-minute timer or mention the time on a watch or clock. One of you starts by complimenting the other person for the first five minutes, saying something good about the other person. And, for the next five minutes, the other person does the same thing to that individual. Before and after this exercise, remember how you feel about yourself. Also, repeat it. Tools for self-esteem. Go to the library. Look up self-esteem books. Read one of them, or read many. Try some of the activities suggested. This booklet, in conclusion, is only the beginning of the journey. You will find that you feel better more and more frequently when you focus on improving your self-esteem, that you are enjoying your life more than you did before, and that you are doing more of the things you have always wanted to do.