“I’m having the thought that…”

“I’m a failure!”, “I’m incompetent!”, “I’m ugly!”, “I’m a bad person!”, “I don’t matter!” are all examples of very common self-judgments. These types of thoughts can be particularly painful and hard to get distance from because they say something negative about us. And our minds love to drudge up the past giving us lots of reasons for why they are true. As a result, they take up a lot of mental space and energy, and often distract us from being able to make TODAY meaningful. One way to get some distance from these types of thoughts is to stop treating them like facts and start treating them for what they are… just thoughts! One way to do this is:

  • Step 1: Put the thought into a short sentence- “I am X.”
  • Step 2: Add the phrase “I’m having the thought that…” in front of it (e.g., I’m having the thought that I am X.)
  • Step 3: Lastly, add the phrase “I notice I’m having the thought that…” in front (e.g., I notice that I’m having the thought that I am X.)

You may notice that your mind tries to respond with… “BUT it’s true” and continues to give you reasons why. If that happens, that’s ok! Remember our minds are judgment machines!! Try the exercise again. The goal of the exercise is not to erase the thought from your mind, but to stop arguing with it. When you do that, it frees up mental space to focus on the present moment and take action towards the person you want to be, not the one your mind says you are. #MakeTODAYMeaningful