Old thought patterns will forever and always show up, and this is where the concept we have already talked about, watching yourself think, comes into play. Self love is wonderful, and we have more opportunity than ever to be exactly who we are, and feel good about it. But concepts like self love are really just that, concepts. You don’t just decide one day to feel good in your own skin and give no fucks what anyone thinks about you, and then never have an ill thought about your body or who you are ever again. It sounds lovely, but that is not how it works. It’s a great start, but there is more work to be done. Now we learn how to get out of a thought loop.
There will always be days when you don’t believe yourself when you say, I love my body just as it is. This does not mean you have failed at the concept of self love. Old thought patterns are stubborn and take almost constant work to overcome. The good news is that over time it becomes easier. Eventually you wont even notice that you are shutting those old non useful thoughts down.
When I began a new relationship after my divorce, I was hyper aware of the things that I did not want to bring from my old relationship into my new relationship. However years of conditioning myself to think this certain way was not going to change over night, just because I was now aware of what I needed and wanted to change. When I was first practicing noticing my thoughts when I was having them, it was super overwhelming. Every other thought felt like one that I needed to change. It seemed like I would never be able to get out of the cycle of these non-serving thoughts.
So you’ve mastered the first step of watching yourself think, which really just means that you are recognizing your thought patterns. Now is where you can really start digging in and not only recognizing your thought patterns, but identifying which ones need to change. This is my favorite part of the process because we are making some real changes here.
I am a person who, when I set out to make changes, I want things to be different basically immediately. This is obviously unrealistic, but it does not stop the thought from being there. I will find myself getting annoyed with my significant other because something that we talked about a week ago, still isn’t fixed. It might be better, but it isn’t exactly how we talked about it being. I get stuck in this thought loop of frustration and irritation because I perceive things not to be better at all, because they’re not just right.
Clearly this is unrealistic, but no one ever said that our thoughts are always rational. The point is to recognize it and to change it to a thought that is realistic and serves you. Now when I find myself in a loop like this, I replace it with thoughts that feed a more productive outlook. Instead of thinking about how annoyed I am that this thing we are working on isn’t perfected after we talked about it that one time, I think about how we had a productive conversation that led to a better understanding of each other.
The process is not perfect, and old thought patterns will always be trying to sneak in and wreck shit. But now you know better. You know how to shut those thoughts down and find better ones. This is a much deeper level of watching yourself think. You are really digging in to find those thoughts that work against you. You may even come up with different replacement thoughts every time. That’s totally cool. The important part is continuing the work of recognizing the non serving thought loops, and getting ourselves out of them.
Tell me, what is a thought loop that you find yourself stuck in at times?
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