There are certain negative thoughts we have about ourselves that we replay over and over. If you’re trying to break the habit of thinking terrible stuff about yourself, here’s a helpful hint: cancel that thought.
This relates to a recent post on /r/LifeProTips, shared by u/Falcia, who wants everyone to stop shit-talking themselves all the time. In fact, if you do say something bad in your mind or out loud, say two nice things as a follow-up:
Every time you say one thing about yourself that you don’t like, accompany it with saying two things that you do like. You may begin to love yourself a bit more this way.
They expanded to say this was a New Year’s resolution, and the benefits showed themselves immediately:
I find this to be a good method of retraining my brain and the way I view myself. This allowed for the times that I was down on myself, to be overrid[den] by an immediate pick me up, and soon I found I was actually running out of things to say that I didn’t like about myself, and the list that I do like could still continue on.
This tip reminded me of a phrase I learned recently on my birthday: To celebrate, I like to go see a tarot card reader and inject a little magic into my life. My reader told me to draw a card, and when I flipped it over she grabbed it to hide it.
“That ruins my surprise,” she said.
Feeling embarrassed, I joked, “Oh, I’m sorry. You have to tell me everything — I can’t be trusted!”
“Cancel that thought,” she replied. “Say, ‘I cancel that thought. I am trustworthy. I can be trusted.’”
And because we were in a small room together filled with incense, I repeated the words, “I cancel that thought. I am trustworthy. I can be trusted.”
I felt immediately better! Even jokey self-deprecation can add up in your self-perception. The best tarot card readers tell you what you need to hear, and I needed to hear that I should be kinder to myself. Since then, every time I find myself thinking some negative “truth,” I cancel that thought, and say the opposite, positive truth instead.
If you fear that saying only positive things about yourself is delusional or will skew your view of the world, consider that it’s already skewed to see the worst side of everything. There is also a big difference between acknowledging reality and predicting a negative future that hasn’t come to pass.
For example, saying “the house is on fire” when the house is actually on fire isn’t the same as saying “the house will catch on fire, because houses always catch on fire, why live in a house.”
Learning to acknowledge terrible thought patterns takes work and this phrase is a catchy way to remind yourself that they’re just thoughts, not fate. Don’t get stuck in an old story that’s no longer working for you. Be the TV executive in your mental network and cancel it.