A Constitutional Right To Exist

 In Learning to Listen, Living Our Best Life

Some of our thoughts believe they have a constitutional right to exist. Like protesters standing on the street corner with a megaphone and signs, there is no way to ignore them. Try as I may to look away, turn up the volume on my music or avoid the area, I can’t not hear them. Their dedication is unstoppable. Yes, I’m talking about negative thoughts.

Just the other day a new one appeared, apparently I was not up to the task of handling a particularly difficult case and it was not going to let me forget it. I have no idea where it came from.

Why don’t I have equally positive and constructive thoughts that won’t go down with out a fight? Usually their is someone across the street marching to support other sides right, equalling trying to be heard. No. Such. Luck.

Honestly, I don’t get it. There needs to be some permit process before these thoughts appear. Some constitutionally appropriate time, place and manner limitations on their showing up. A fee that’s too expensive for them to pay. Some loophole in the system to keep them off my mind. With politics the way they are today, there is always some person (or is it a corporation?) that has deep pockets to pay for whatever is needed though.

I bet there’s even a vetting process that goes on behind the closed doors of my minds. All these negative thoughts sitting around a table in a smoke filled room arguing over who is the best of the worst to send out. Each one voting for themselves. Then one thought says something that makes all the others stop, nod their head in agreement and it’s unanimous.

Then they all change their signs to unite behind the victor. They rehearse their lines, practice marching in unison and come up with really creative lines to chant. Then, here it comes, from some deep dark pocket in my brain, unannounced and uninvited to seize the day, the negative thought that beat them all.

Sometimes I find this whole process simply overwhelming. I don’t know what is more exhausting: hearing them or battling them. I’ve tried lots of different techniques to minimize their disruption over the years. I yell back equally loud or ignore them. I’ve even tried reasoning with them. All these tactics have done is leave me tired, unsuccessful and not winning.

The best idea I have come up with to date is to find a simple statement of truth about the situation. Whenever I hear these thoughts fighting for their right to exist, I say my simple statement of truth for what it is- the truth.

What strategies have you developed to deal with negative thoughts?


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  • Brian Cox

    Nice article on stopping the march of the ANTs* – keep stomping!

    (*Automatic Negative Thinking)

    • Jim Dwyer

      It is amazing how vigilant I have to keep aware of negative thoughts. They seem to sneak in and it can take a while for me to be aware that I’m thinking them.

  • Jennifer

    I find by writing each stakeholder’s comments down, helps clear out the smoke filled room, giving me a veto power that crosses them all out. By opening the closed door, which gives an illusion of power and supremacy , I am able to clear the smoke and find the truth.

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