Reframe our thoughts- start thought process recovery
One of the first steps towards healing, is realizing that there is a disconnect between how you are relating to other people, and what your goals are. Please know that admitting this doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. You are not damaged. You are worthy of having positive relationships with people. However, in order to not see ourselves as a victim, we must take responsibility for our actions. Meaning, we recognize that everything isn’t someone else’s fault. This doesn’t mean we should tell ourselves that it’s our fault we aren’t reaching our goals, and add more negativity to our already negative thought patterns, it just means that there is a disconnect between our goals, and the way we relate to others. Don’t get down on yourself for not reaching your goals with how you relate to others. On the same note, don’t get down on others either. Often times we can be stuck in the cycle of, anger. We feel anger coming at us, whether from others, or ourselves, or both, so our default can be to put anger back out in the world to others. This typically results in the opposite of healthy relationships and doesn’t meet our goal of positively connecting with others. Humans are not designed to walk through life alone. Feeling alone in life can often cause much distress and pain. I’m sure these are some of the feelings that have lead you here to the point where you are reading this post. With time and effort, we can manage this!!
In order to get on the right path towards our goals, we must change & rediscover ourselves. We must make positive changes in our thought patterns and how we relate to other people. Most times when we are having trouble with relating to others, we have been wronged in the past, but if you constantly focus on all the negative things other people have done to you, you will be stuck in a miserable cycle that doesn’t serve you. If you are currently in a abusive relationship, then please reach out for professional help to get out of that. However, if the hurt is in the past, then that’s where it needs to stay. This isn’t to say that you need to bury your feelings. However, there are appropriate ways to address these feelings, and there are toxic ways. Toxic ways include anger outbursts towards others, or manipulation, substance abuse, hurting ourselves or others physically and emotionally etc… all things that we wouldn’t appreciate being done to us. The energy we put out in the world, is the energy we attract. That being said, being stuck in a negative thought pattern will take time to change; we need to remind ourselves that change is a process. Our brains are open to rewiring and changing, it’s called neuro-plasticity. It is possible, but it takes time and effort.
We need to remember that we cannot control other people, but we need to control ourselves. We are capable of it if we properly reshape our thought process. This first step is getting to the point where we realize that we have the power to change our lives, and manage these feelings, but that it’s going to take time. Feeling empowered is so much better than feeling like a victim. People who feel empowered in their lives have something victims don’t, they have hope. If you want to feel stuck in the same spot, keep blaming others. Keep insisting it’s all Mom’s fault, or your husband/wife’s fault or all of your classmates or all of your co-workers. It can be a hard band-aid to rip off, but this is how we start to heal. Don’t look at it as “I’m a failure, it’s all my fault”, look at it as “my goals and reality aren’t in alignment, I’m going to step up and make some changes to make this right.” It’s never too late to work on ourselves.
We can always make efforts to change the course of our lives. If for nothing else, for our piece of mind.
If you are having trouble accepting that your actions are a large part of why you have problems relating to others, take a long and hard look back at your life. Do you see any patterns where you have had trouble getting along with others? Is there a similar theme from scenario to scenario? For example, maybe you had trouble making friends in grade school or high school. You then started college or a new job and you still continue to find people that you don’t get along with. This isn’t necessarily true of every situation, and sometimes we can get along with people just fine, until you experience a trigger and start having problems again. Unless the negative cycle is broken, it will continue to happen again and again. Probably not every time, but more times than you ultimately desire when you look at the big picture. For me personally, I had a lot of trouble in grade school with relationships and connecting with others. High school was somewhat better for me as far as connecting with others, while I had a “crashing point” in college and I had trouble again. Your history of connecting with others probably won’t be a straight line either. Sometimes everything can seem fine, but when we have a strong critical voice, and a negative deep seated feeling of not connecting with others on a level that alines with our goal, we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and see if we can take ownership to start on the road to healing.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to own your life. If you want to “own your shit”. No one can make you. This is part of being an adult. Once we past that threshold from adolescence to adulthood, our life is ours. It’s our responsibility to seek healthy habits, from eating right and taking care of our physical being, to our mental and emotional being. The game is ours to change or ours to tolerate. We write our own rules, for the better or for worse.
Many times, people who have trouble connecting with others have anger issues, and can be explosive when they are upset. We will explore managing emotions separately, as that will be a whole section on it’s own. For now, keep in mind that we need to strive for control our of own emotions. It’s okay to be angry, but not okay to be cruel to ourselves or others. This will be addressed in another post, as it is a lot to cover on its own, but for now, please find a way to let the emotions pass. I tell myself “this too shall pass” and try not to act on my anger or frustration until I can meditate, or exercise or go for a walk. Try to find a way to slow down your reaction. More to come on this later.
Tell yourself that you are relearning how to connect with people. That none of this makes you any less of a person, It’s simply just time to start over. Coming to this realization is huge. It is also essential to healing, and reaching your goal of better relationships. Conversely, telling ourselves that it is always someone else’s fault when it comes to relating to others, simply leaves us powerless and stuck in a negative pattern we can never heal. It can take some time to say to ourselves “it must be the way I’m relating to others” versus blaming the actions of others. It is very important to know that there is nothing wrong with you, and that you are worthy. You’re just stuck in a perpetuating negative cycle where your goals aren’t being met.
Feeling worthy can be a hard hurdle to overcome. Many of us have deep seated negative thoughts about ourselves, called our critical voice. This critical voice can make us feel unworthy because we aren’t reaching our goals with relating to other people. You are not a failure. Repeat after me “I am worthy of love”, “I am lovable” Say this to yourself ten times in a row, three times a day for at least a week and repeat as necessary. Make it your mantra. Our thoughts become our reality. When our critical voice constantly tells us negative things about ourselves, we believe it. For example, things like “I will never be happy in a relationship”, “I am terrible at making friends”, “something is wrong with me”,, “why can other people find someone to love while I always screw it up”, “why do other people make friends so easily while I am always alone”, and so on. These thoughts become our reality. You need to retrain your thought patterns. Just like a seasoned athlete will work his/her physical body in the gym to train and build up their muscles, we need to train and build up our thought patterns. When you catch yourself being negative, when your critical voice comes out, stop yourself. Say “I am not a failure, I just need to relearn how to connect with people.” “I am worthy of love”. This process is going to take time. This is where a psychological professional comes in. We need to break this negative pattern of thinking. Just like an alcoholic can be expected to relapse when starting the path to sobriety, we need to expect that we will have hurdles to overcome, and that our “thought process recovery” won’t be a straight line either. There will be times when we snap into critical voice mode as a reflex. This isn’t a failure, this doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It just means that you are working on yourself. That you are trying to do something that isn’t easy to do. It is however, worth it. So please be patient with yourself. Let’s say, for example, that you’re 50 years old. That’s potentially 50 years of a strong critical voice constantly telling you that you aren’t good enough in various ways. This habit is going to take some time to break. I stress this point, because I really want to reinforce the need to be patient with yourself, which is something our critical voice doesn’t promote. Say to yourself, “I’m being patient with me.”
I would like you to get out a sheet of paper and write 10 good things about yourself. Now read it out loud. Do you feel better? The practice calls our attention to our positive qualities. This is an example of retraining our thought process. If all we are ever focused on are the things we can’t do or the mistakes we have made, we will always feel like a failure. With thought process retraining, we need to reinforce the positive. What helps me a lot when my critical voice is strong and I’m having trouble finding positive things about myself is to meditate. Meditation is something that takes time, but the results are so worth it. There are free guided meditations all over the internet. Some are just ten minutes long. I have a few favorites that I turn to. Find one that you like and make the time for yourself. You deserve at least ten minutes a day to maintain sanity. We can further explore meditation in the future.
After we realize that there is a disconnect between our goals and the way we relate to people, that should provide you with some relief. Here’s where we need to pump the brakes and expect that in this healing process with this disconnect, we should expect to have some failures along the road to recovery. Experiencing failure and saying to ourselves that “I am a failure” are two different things. Just because we have set backs, this does not make us a failure. Michael Jordan did not make every shot, when he was learning the game of basketball, nor did he when he was considered the best basketball player in the world. As such, you should not expect to be perfect & to reach your goals overnight learning new thought patterns. Remember that we need to look at our thought process as a muscle that requires conditioning and practice. Recover is not a straight line. So not being perfect is not only okay, it is expected. Also, skills learned in therapy and self-help books don’t necessarily work every time on everyone. You will probably have to try different things. Different skills will make more sense for others than you and vice versa.
The bottom line here in the beginning, is to recognize that something is in misalignment, but also within our control to manage over time. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be patient with ourselves as we try to manage our negative/angry thought patterns. The process is ours to own, and ours to start. Owning up to these patterns is the biggest step to making changes!! You have to look at what is true for you. Look at what you can accept. While you are doing this, however, don’t forget that the road to recovery requires us to own up to a discrepancy between our goal and our thoughts/behaviors. It is always better to own up and feel empowered versus denying responsibility for anything and blaming others.
Any questions, feel free to comment. I am here for you! Sending you positive vibes until next time. Cheers.