Changing thought patterns

I’ve been working on this for years, how to change the negative tapes in my head that say:

I’ll never amount to anything.
If you’re so smart, why aren’t you more  ___________ 
What the fuck are you doing with your life?
I can’t do anything right.
I’m too disorganized to do anything the “right” way.
No one likes me.

And on and on and on and on. 

I know that these thought patterns are destructive, and they only feed depression.

I know the origin of most of them; they have the same voice in my head. 

I used to think it was completely programming I had as a child, but now I’m not so sure. Because C grew up with a LOT of positive reinforcement. I never said those things to her. And yet, somewhere around age 14/15, these started coming out of her mouth – her own internal programming brought these same words up, including body/beauty image issues.

Maybe there is a biological component to these thinking patterns.

But can we change them?

M recently accused me of being an optimist, which is pretty funny if you’ve only known me in the last ten years, but he knew me long ago, when I was very optimistic about everything. 

I did ask my friend sync if he thought I was an optimist. His response:

You are more so than you think.

You generally do think you can accomplish various things, although when push comes to shove you often need to be pushed and shoved.

You can make it RIGHT UP to an important point, then you kinda freak out about it and try to talk yourself into thinking you can’t do it.


Hmm. 
I’ve been running that around in my mind for the last week or so, since the conversation. And he’s right. 
I still can’t believe that I totally choked on the finish line of my credential. 
I blurred out my name, but there it is, framed and hung on the wall.
After taking 7 years to finish my B.A., after an intense year of working and tutoring while taking grad school classes, after a horrendous semester of student teaching, including surgery in the middle of it (and only missing 4 days of teaching for it), I choked on the finish line. The list of what I had to do to complete the process was ONE freaking paper (and I had until June to do it), two of these stupid things called Teaching Performance Assessments (and the groundwork is all done), a CPR class (I used to teach it, for fuck’s sake). 
That’s it.
Everything else was done.
I was only doing about 5 hours of contract work a week, and a little tutoring between January and June.
I had time to work on it.
But I didn’t.
Self-sabotage at its best. I seem to be an expert in that.
I could have been actually teaching this year, instead of worried about how I’m going to pay the bills now that unemployment has run its course.
But I have been making a conscious effort to work on changing thought patterns ever since J called last May
Another imaginary intermaweb friend, Monday’s Child, posted on my recent happiness post about her step-mother’s philosophy:

Happiness is a decision.
She taught me that happiness isn’t something that is *caused* by anything. It’s a deliberate decision you make, moment by moment if necessary.


Which falls right in line with a wallpaper image I got from Goddess Leonie (yeah, I know I’m talking about her a lot – I get fixated on things, ok?)






At first, this was the only one I downloaded, but now I have all of them, plus a few pictures I thought were beautiful, and a couple of random things, like this mandala I colored a long time ago. They rotate as my desktop background every 15 minutes.


Last year at this time, if the computer was on, I would have always had a browser open and would not even see my wallpaper. But the longer the “Joy is an Option” poster was up, the more I closed the browser and just left the computer on. I usually set the laptop up on a shelf right across from my comfy chair [“nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”] and I now leave it open so when I glance over I see an inspiring message or just a pretty picture.

I really think that the Joy poster is at least partly responsible for finally flipping my mood around.

So, I am really getting into the affirmations this year. And I’ve even decided to go ahead and do a Vision Board. I’ve never actually done one before. I understand the psychology of it – it’s not really magick, per se, but it keeps certain things happening in your head to help you recognize and bring about your goals. I guess I just thought I was  . . . above? needing something like that. 

I bought this pretty (and cheap) poster board with clouds on it, and I’m ready to get started. . . 

As an aside – What sparked this post was a conversation on Facebook. I wanted to talk about how another of my internet friends today reposted one of my “inspirational” reposts on Facebook. When one of his friends said, “I did not expect this from you,” his response was that he was trying to make changes in his life, to wit, to become “less of a dick.” He also said, “I cannot explain how much better my attitude is about everything after just a few months of reprogramming.” If RJ can change his attitude about things, with a little “reprogramming,” maybe I can, too?

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4 comments on “Changing thought patterns
  1. <3
    So what can we imaginary friends do to help you stay on a more positive track? What would you like us to do if we think you're falling into negative thought patterns?

    I understand what you're saying aout the vision board. I've also pooh-poohed the suggestion of doing one. I know what my goals are, and I know what steps I have to take to get there, and what help will pretty pictures be? Aren't I awesome that I can totally know something won't help me even though I've never tried it? 😉 I love the poster board you chose for yours. And you've inspired me to make one of my own. Though I think I'll do mine digitally and make it my wallpaper.

    Keep up the good stuff, Ish. You're awesome.

  2. Thanks, MC. I honestly don't know what you guys can do besides what you always do – help me see things more clearly.

    And yeah, “that won't help me”

    “How do you know, have you tried it?”

    “Well, no, but. . . .”

    Yeah, I've had that conversation on both sides about different things. And I always wonder why the other person won't just do what I tell them to, except I also don't follow the advice.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If I may….

    >
    C grew up with a LOT of positive reinforcement. I never said those things to her. And yet, somewhere around age 14/15, these started coming out of her mouth – her own internal programming brought these same words up, including body/beauty image issues.

    Maybe there is a biological component to these thinking patterns.
    >

    Perhaps less biological than you think? Harken back to your high school days. Peer pressure abounds. Bunch of “soon-to-be-women” gathered at lunch, one of the bunch actually having carnal knowledge of the school “stud”. Hearts flutter, words are said, and images flash in brains, calculating short falls. Boobs not big enough? Ass too big? Too short? Too skinny? Too thick? Compound this with, let's say, 2-5 “friend” groups. See all the angles that bombardment would come from?

    It's society..humanity…population density.

    Yeah, some may be genetic…but you know, the life you live is the life that shapes you.

  4. ****If I may..*****

    Always

    *****Perhaps less biological than you think? Harken back to your high school days. Peer pressure abounds. Bunch of “soon-to-be-women” gathered at lunch, one of the bunch actually having carnal knowledge of the school “stud”. Hearts flutter, words are said, and images flash in brains, calculating short falls. Boobs not big enough? Ass too big? Too short? Too skinny? Too thick? Compound this with, let's say, 2-5 “friend” groups. See all the angles that bombardment would come from? *******

    I don't know.

    Her insecurities started in middle school. But her school experience seems to be so much different than mine. When she watches teen shows and movies, she always says, “But school's not really like that, at least not my school.”

    There are studies that show that girls lose confidence right around the time puberty hits. No one is sure yet whether it's biological or cultural, but it's definitely there, and probably a little of both.

    I think she's starting to get some of her confidence back, though, which is good.

    Except she's a bit scared of change this year, but that's understandable. Graduating HS is a big deal, looking at colleges is a big deal.

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