In my world, there are thoughts and then, there are THOTs.
Not to be confused with uh, that type of THOT (I'll let you do some internet sleuthing on that one), THOTs are destructive, harmful, and generally unpleasant thoughts.
And you know what? Everyone has them.
Yup. It's not just you.
Some studies indicate that we have around 6,000 thoughts; others show that we have closer to 70,000. According to the National Science Foundation, up to 80% of our thoughts are negative with 95% of them being repetitive.
That's a LOT of THOTs.
Aside from a mental health crisis, it's no wonder why so many people feel a sense of malaise or unfulfillment - our brains are keeping us sad.
Here are some common and very destructive THOTs:
I should be further along (in my career/relationship/life) than I am right now.
I’m not good enough.
I’ll never make it.
I don’t make enough money.
I should have it figured it out (I mean, everyone else does, right?).
I’ve made so many mistakes - how could something possibly good happen to me?
People who are famous are better/more special/more significant than me.
I always procrastinate.
I always choose the wrong things.
I’m a failure.
The problem is, if we let these THOTs take the wheel, we will create the results to match our thoughts. In other words, we create our own self-fulfilling prophecies.
See, our brains are incredible when used properly.
The issue is that our brains are so obsessed with keeping us alive that they often send us messages that are harmful, destructive, and just plain untrue.
It happens to ALL of us (including me).
That’s why it’s important to catch these thoughts when they occur, observe them, forgive them, and let them go. It’s also important to find a suitable replacement for whatever they’re trying to say (in their own dysfunctional ways).
So, for instance, instead of thinking “I should be further along (in my career/relationship/life) than I am right now,” how about “I’m taking things at my own pace”?
Instead of saying, “I always procrastinate,” how about, “I'm learning better ways to do my work”?
Here are some of my favorite replacement thoughts:
Inch by inch, it’s a cinch; yard by yard, it’s hard
Progress, not perfection
Practice, not perfection
I do the next right thing, and the next right thing, and the next right thing
My needs are met
One day at a time (this is good even for people aren’t in recovery)
I learn something new every day.
All of my previous mistakes have served me.
Now that I know better, I do better.
I show up for myself.
Again, this isn’t some positive thinky b.s.; choosing your thoughts wisely means you’re choosing your life wisely.
Thoughts become things: it’s as simple (and as hard) as that.