“He definitely had sex with her.”
“But he told me he didn’t – why would he lie?”
“They slept in the same bed! Of course, it happened.”
“He went out of this way to tell me that nothing happened. He brought it up. It doesn’t make sense…”
“Look, everyone does it and he’s a man. That’s just the way the world is. Trust me, they had sex.”
This was part of a real conversation I had with a trusted friend.
Within a matter of minutes, my mind had latched onto my friend’s convincing statement and I started to believe her.
Later, as I went about my day lost in thought, I spiralled down a rabbit hole of dark negativity. In my mind, the guy in question had become an untrustworthy, lying douchebag. I began to question my judgement of character, imagine all sorts of ugly scenarios, feel disillusioned with humanity and before long my world began to turn into a lonely, sad place where no one could be trusted. All I wanted to do was hide under my duvet with a massive tub of ice cream.
That was when I realised what was happening…
Whether this guy had lied to me didn’t really matter – I simply didn’t know and had no evidence to back it up. It was a story I’d made up in my mind to be true so actually, I was lying to MYSELF. Fact.
Have you ever done this?
Have you ever believed a thought then turned it into a story that wasn’t true and let it ruin your day? Maybe it was because of someone’s comment or action, or it could have been something you said, did or believed about yourself, such as:
“I’ll never have enough time”
“I’m shit at my job”
“I’ll never find a boyfriend”
I’m willing to bet that the answer is YES.
The truth is, we all do it; and, from conversations I have with others, I see how quickly this dangerous mistake can ruin a day, an experience or even our most important relationships, and how this behaviour ultimately traps us in a vicious circle of unhappiness.
I didn’t understand this until I learnt the concept of mind management and the difference between true and untrue thoughts.
I was first introduced to this by my coach. Before then, I’d never considered that I would lie to myself all day. Or that thoughts influence feelings, which influence actions, and ultimately influence the result of any given situation.
I knew that I was smart and able to make sensible decisions. I hadn’t realised that my thoughts had a mind of their own or that they weren’t part of me. I felt safe in my own head because I 100% trusted myself to do right by me.
If this sounds like you, you’ll love this simple system based on The Work by Byron Katie. You can use it to free yourself from unhealthy or stressful thinking.
By paying attention to your thoughts and asking yourself some simple questions about them you can change how you feel about the situation, decide what action to take and impact the end result. WIN!
Here’s the simple 3-step system to free yourself from stressful thoughts:
1: Pay attention to your thoughts
This works when your thinking is spinning out of control or after it’s happened. By doing this you’re already halfway there (even though there two more steps!). Bringing awareness to your thoughts means that you’re now able to change the unhealthy pattern.
2: Question your thought
Ask yourself the following questions. To begin with, you may find it easier to write it all down.
- Is the thought true?
- What part of the thought is an opinion?
- How does the thought make you feel?
- How do you behave when you feel this way?
- What is the result of this action?
3: Find a new thought
Now that you’ve figured out if your thought is true and how it makes you feel and behave, use this simple turnaround to stop yourself sinking back into the negative thinking trap. Doing this brings your unhealthy thinking into perspective.
- Who would you be without this thought?
- What is a better thought that is believable to you?
- What are three reasons why your new thought might be true?
By using this system over time, the entire process will become second nature and you’ll be able to stop yourself in mid flow of self-destructing, just like I did.
It’s not always easy to observe your negative habits and how they may be holding you back. That’s why getting an outside perspective by working with a coach can give you the clarity, tools and confidence you need to quickly transform them and feel happier.
If you’d like to know more about how this can work for you, grab a free 30-minute Happiness Exploration with me by clicking here