Negative thoughts in short
Negative thought patterns can be a significant factor in a wide range of problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
Even an indistinct whisper of negative “truths” in the ear that we barely notice, can affect our view of the world and our actions very much without our being conscious of it.
Instead of trying to make the thoughts go away, we work on increasing awareness of negative thoughts and how to change them in a more constructive direction.
Actual coaching – a woman with negative thoughts
Recently, I was coaching a woman who felt like there was a “devil” sitting on her shoulder, whispering her discouraging words all the time. For example the devil would whisper: “You know very well that you will not succeed, right? You know well that you are not skillful enough, right?”. And a quiet insecure voice in the woman would accept the devil’s toxic suggestions.
Instead of fighting the devil, we chose a dialogue. We examined how her devil had helped her through life. Further we considered the possibility that the devil, in fact, was trying to help her. We imagined that the devil was like a young child, who tried to help her, in childish ways, that seemed counterproductive. We worked on respecting and accepting the devil and on entering a dialogue, where we suggested new thought patterns for the devil to try out.
When we parted the “devil” had become less dominant. It had also become friendlier both in words and tone of voice.