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Ep #170: Tricky Negative Thinking | Becoming You Again Podcast

Ever wondered why negative thoughts grip you so tightly during and after a divorce? In this episode you will learn to recognize and transform these thoughts to shift your perspective, bringing more calm and authenticity into your life. By understanding the trickery of these negative thoughts, you can start to build emotional resilience and navigate the challenges of divorce more effectively.

Explore how negative thinking manipulates your nervous system and survival instincts, convincing you that your very existence is under threat. Learn how your brain builds a case for these thoughts by recalling past experiences, even rejecting any evidence that contradicts them. Recognizing this pattern is the first step to questioning and diminishing the power of negative beliefs, allowing you to regain control over your mental and emotional well-being.

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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it shows up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.

Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

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Full Episode Transcript:

Divorce can take a lot out of you, but what it doesn't have to do is make you feel like you're all alone. You're listening to Becoming you Again, the podcast where you feel like you have a friend, where you feel like you have a path, where you feel like you can make it through this divorce with all the help and the support that you need. I am your host, karen Nelson, and you're listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 170. I'm your host, karin Nelson, and you're listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 170. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life, so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast.


My friends, this episode I'm going to be talking about negative thinking and how tricky our negative thoughts can be as we go through a divorce, because the really interesting thing about negative thinking is that the more aware we are of it, the less impact it has on our life and the easier it is for us to be able to step into our truth, create more positive thinking, and I don't mean toxic positive thinking. That is not at all what I mean by negative thinking and positive thinking. And I don't mean toxic positive thinking. That is not at all what I mean by negative thinking and positive thinking, and I'm going to show you what that all entails in this podcast episode. But the point of recognizing when negative thoughts are popping into our head is to recognize that those negative thoughts are actually lying to you and it's happening for a specific purpose. It's all part of our biological DNA. But here's the thing If you're listening to this podcast, you're going through a divorce. I've been through a divorce, my clients have been through divorces, they're going through divorces right now, and we're also human right, and so it's not like the divorce is the first time that we've ever had a negative thought about ourselves or pop into our head ever before in our life. Of course we have. We all have negative thoughts and we all have positive thoughts. And when I say negative thoughts and positive thoughts, I don't mean like positive, everything is beautiful and amazing and I'm perfect in every way, and negative, I'm the worst, I, everything is wrong with me, I'm terrible. Yes, we will have some of those beliefs and thoughts about ourselves in both directions.


But I want you to start thinking about negative and positive on more of a spectrum of sorts. A positive thought, when it aligns with your truth and your authentic self, is going to feel open, it is going to feel calm, it is going to feel expansive, it is going to feel light and it is going to kind of boo you up. And on the contrasting side, a negative thought, when it disaligns with your truth, when it disaligns with your authentic self, it is going to feel contractive, it is going to feel limiting, it is going to make you feel small and it is going to drain your energy. So that's kind of how I want you to think about positive and negative thoughts, as I'm going through this podcast today and moving forward, if it feels very helpful to you, because that can feel very helpful and useful. So let me just give you a quick example of what this can mean.


When I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to get divorced, this was many, many years ago and I was going back and forth and I just didn't know. I couldn't answer that question for myself. I took a beat. I really asked what is it that I want in this situation? And answered honestly and truthfully from my authentic, true knowing I want a divorce. That thought was, in a sense, a positive thought for me, because that thought made me feel peaceful, made me feel expansive, it felt light and I felt calm. That thought even though I want a divorce might sound like a negative thought right, according to the way we usually think about negative thoughts that thought for me resonated with my truth and my true alignment, and so it was a positive thought. All right, so that's kind of what I want you to like be looking at when it comes to recognizing what is a negative thought and what is a positive thought.


So what I'm really going to be talking about in this episode are several ways that our negative thoughts are tricky and they are tricking you into believing that they are actually true for you. And we can kind of use the guide that I just gave you of what is a negative thought and how it makes you feel and what is a positive thought and how it makes you feel to decipher between the negative thoughts that are tricking you into believing that they're true, that are tricking you by lying to you. A lot of these ideas are coming from Daryl Anka, and I found it very interesting and true to what I teach you guys, and so I want to share these ideas with you. But when we have negative thoughts and I'm going to use this the example of like I'm just not good enough, right, cause I'm pretty sure that everyone who's listening to this podcast, including myself, has thought this about themselves in some way over the last however many years you've been alive, maybe you've thought it lots of times, like I know I have. So we're going to use the example of I'm just not good enough and kind of present it in the way that these tricky negative thoughts make us believe that that's actually a true statement and we latch onto it.


Okay, so the first way that this thought would make us believe that it's true is it's going to hook itself into our nervous system, our survival system. Right? I've talked a lot about this on the podcast. Our nervous system, our brain, will think something, something will be said, we'll get triggered in some way and our nervous system heightens. That heightened sense is one of the ways that this tricky negative thought makes us believe that it's true. It's our nervous system like perking up. It's almost like a catch in our throat. It's almost like a oh no, I feel threatened in some way. My survival feels threatened. I might die, right, that is what our nervous system is doing. When we feel heightened, when we feel dysregulated, our nervous system is perking up and saying pay attention, because whatever is going on right now is important to our survival. We are going to possibly die. So we need to start paying attention, right.


So the negative thought comes in I'm just not good enough. Our nervous system gets heightened and then we're like oh my gosh, this must be true. I better start paying attention to things, because I might die. I feel terrible. So that's the first way that these negative thoughts that aren't in alignment with our truth dig in to make us believe that they're true, because our body reacts in a way to where we think our survival is dependent on the belief.


The next way that negative thoughts trick us into believing that they're true is that we begin to think I have no other choice to believe it. So, first of all, our nervous system is heightened. Right, we have this thought I'm not good enough. I'm just not good enough in some way Our nervous system gets heightened, we start to believe it. It must be true. And then the negative thought keeps us believing that what it's telling us is true, because we can't see any other way that we should be other than to be better. Well, this must be true, or this divorce wouldn't be happening. So the only choice I have is to be better. I'm going to have to either lose weight or be a better parent, or I must've not showed up good enough in some way, and that's why this is happening, or that's why they're leaving, or that's why they hate me, or that's why, whatever right. There's no other choice besides what this thought is telling me. And so it must be true. I must just not be good enough. So that's another way that we believe that it's true.


And then the next thing that these negative thoughts do to keep us in belief is it starts to rationalize that it's true. It starts to tell you and give you all of the proof that it's actually legitimate and that it is true. And what I mean by that is when you believe something like I must not be good enough. Your brain then starts to go to work to prove over and over again to you that this is actually true. And it goes into your file cabinet of memories and experiences and it's like oh, let's go to the I must not be good enough file cabinet and let's open it up and give you all of the examples where you just weren't good enough.


Remember that one time when that person said that thing to you. There you go, that's proof, this is the rationalization that this thought is actually true. Oh, remember that one time that you gained some weight after you had a baby and then you didn't ever lose it again. Oh, see that, right there, shows you that you're not good enough. Oh, remember that one time that you made a meal that your husband didn't like. Oh, that right there, shows you that you're not good enough. Oh, remember that one time that you got in an argument over something and you seemed to have lost the argument. See that, right there, shows you that you're not good enough. Like whatever. It is right. There's probably a million examples that your brain could come up with that it's going to remind you of in that moment.


To rationalize the fact I'm putting fact in quotes because it's not actually a fact, it's just this negative thought really wants you to believe that it's true. And so it's going to give you all of the evidence to support that it's true. And then what's going to happen is it's going to start to reject any evidence that might support the contrary idea, that maybe it's not actually true. So, again, going back to this example of I'm just not good enough. We've got all of this support coming in right. Our nervous system is heightened. It's the only option that we see. We've got all of this supporting evidence, this rationalization going on that it's legitimately true.


And then we have people on the outside of us and they're like you're amazing, you're so incredible. There's no way that you're not good enough. You are, you are good enough exactly as you are. You don't need to be or do anything different. You're incredible. And they start to like show you all these ways, they tell you all these things that you do and that you be and that you are.


And then your brain's like no, no, that's just not true. And then you throw off more evidence from your file cabinet, dispelling what they're telling you. So your negative thought begins to reject any evidence to the contrary, even if it's coming from your own brain, but most likely it's coming from other people at this point, because your brain's not going to give you that evidence that it's not true. Right, it's still really stuck in this loop of the file cabinet of proof and it's going to just reject immediately any words from outside sources that are telling you that what your brain is telling you is not true. That negative thought is like Ooh, we got to dig in real hard there's there may be going to start to believe that it's that we're lying to them. They're going to see that lie, so we're going to dig in and we're going to get them and we're just going to reject it all.


And then what can start to happen is that we start to create paranoia for ourselves, and this shows up through worry and anxiety of like oh no, I'm not good enough and I can't change because it's just a part of who I am. And so we start to worry that. And now? Maybe my kids won't want to be with me, maybe I'll never find love again, maybe I'll never be happy in my life, maybe this decision of getting divorced is the worst decision and I'm ruining my life and I'm ruining my future and I'm ruining my kids' lives and I'm ruining my kids' future. And we start to worry and we start to get anxious that this one belief of me not being good enough has made a disaster of it all, and so that paranoia starts to kick in Again. This is just another way that that negative belief, that negative thought, is digging in deeper to keep us in belief. It's another way that it's lying to us and being very tricky to get us to believe that it's true. And then the last way that it really just cements it in is we get some kind of reward from believing this thought.


Now, the reward can be very insidious. What might that reward be? It could be that where I'm at right now, staying in this belief feels safer than stepping outside of the discomfort that I already know into a new discomfort. That could be the reward. I already know this, this discomfort. I already know what it feels like to not believe that I'm good enough. I don't know the discomfort of letting go of that belief and stepping into something new, some a new belief, and that's scarier. That's scarier than what I already know. So that could be the reward.


Or it could be something like we get maybe a little tiny dopamine hit from believing this negative thing and putting it out there and telling other people about it. And then we get to kind of step into see I'm the worst and poor me. And then other people come and they're like no, you're not, and you know what I mean. Like a little bit of like I'm the victim here, feel bad for me. And then people come and like love on us and then we get just a little bit of a dopamine hit. Not saying that you're doing anything wrong when we do that. We've all done this, we all do this. Not saying you shouldn't be doing this. It's a very natural thing. But when we're aware of how this insidious negative thought is taking hold in our brain and making us believe it, there's always something at the very end, some kind of reward that we're getting in some way that keeps us continuing this cycle of belief.


So again, let's go back to this example of I'm not good enough. I just went through all of the ways that it really takes hold, digs in and makes us believe that it's true, but I really want you to just take a beat for a second and if that is a thought that comes up for you a lot like I'm just not good enough in some way, and this can show up in like many different versions of that thought. Right, like I'm overweight. There's something wrong with me. My kids don't like me. There's something wrong with me. My husband left me. There's something wrong with me. My ex fights with me all the time. There must be something wrong with me that I can't defend myself, or that I can't stand up to him, or that I can't have the right answer in the moment to shut down the argument Like right. It can show up in many, many different ways of I'm not good enough in some way. It doesn't specifically have to be I'm not good enough, but when we boil it down, that's the underlying thought I'm not good enough in some way. So we went through all of the ways, but I really want you to's the underlying thought I'm not good enough in some way. So we went through all of the ways, but I really want you to think about this thought I'm not good enough.


When you think that, and when the belief comes in, and when that negative thought really digs in in all of the ways that I just described, how do you actually feel? Does that thought feel open and expansive and light? Does it speak to your individual authentic truth, to your inner knowing? My guess is no. My guess is that thought feels terrible, that thought feels heavy, that thought makes you feel small, makes you feel contracted, makes you feel limited in your life and in your choices and what you can do. And the more you think about it and the more you spin on it and the more evidence that you have that supports that it's true is it drains your energy.


That is how we know that that negative thought is a lie and that all of those things that are happening heightening the nervous system, telling you you have no other choice to believe it, rationalizing all of the truths that it is, rejecting any evidence to the contrary, showing up in worry and anxiety over the future about what this can mean, and then somehow giving you like a little dopamine hit of reward that's how we know that it's lying to you and that it's really working very, very hard to get you to believe it over and over and over again. And so how do we combat these negative thoughts? Now? I want to like just throw out this little caveat here. You're not doing anything wrong when you have negative thoughts. This is a very human thing to do. It is very normal, it is very natural. And when we really think about it. This is kind of that yin and yang of like the world as we know it right.


We have to have negative thought to understand positive thought. We have to have dark to understand light. We have to have the opposite of something to understand to truly understand the other side. If we didn't ever feel sadness, we would never understand what happiness is, and so we have to have these thoughts. These negative thoughts are what teach us what is true for us, what our truth is, what positive thoughts actually align with who we are, and we can't know that or get closer to that or continue to grow and step into that without having negative thoughts. So the goal in life isn't to get rid of negative thoughts. The goal is to get better at recognizing them so you can pull yourself out of this cycle faster, and then to recognize what is actually true, what is actually a positive thought for you and your truth, that aligns with your authentic self and your intuition and your inner knowing.


So how do we do that? How do we combat these negative thoughts when they take hold of us, when they go through all of these steps that I just went through? The very first way that we combat them the very first. How is recognizing it? Knowledge is power. Right? The awareness of these tricks that these negative thoughts play on us is huge. Just being aware of the fact that it's happening can lessen its impact, can keep us from going completely down the rabbit hole of belief. You might even get to a place where the negative thought takes hold. Our nervous system is heightened and then we start to become a little bit aware of it. We can even throw out a thought like well, maybe what I'm thinking isn't actually true. Even just that right there, that idea can get you thinking in a different direction, can get you looking for positive thoughts that are more aligned with who you are. Now. It doesn't. That may not happen every time. This takes practice, that's okay. That's okay. But just knowing that this is what negative thoughts do and how they really sink their hooks into us, knowing that can give you a lot of power over stopping this earlier in his tracks or stopping the cycle earlier, over recognizing what's actually going on and then asking that question. Maybe this isn't actually true for me. Maybe believing that I'm not good enough isn't actually true.


It's possible that that's not a true thought, be with the feeling that we're feeling right, or the feelings or the emotions. However, feelings and emotions are like an interchangeable word, so we just allow ourselves to be with whatever we're feeling. This is where we remind ourselves our body, our brain that we are safe, that actually nothing has gone wrong inside of our body, nothing is actually threatening our survival, and then we're actually okay. We're actually safe in this moment because an emotion or a feeling that is happening inside of our body is actually just a chemical reaction. Chemicals have been sent down from our brain. They're reacting in our body in different ways, making our nervous system show up in different ways, which is making our body feel sensations and vibrations in certain ways. And the more we allow those sensations and vibrations and chemicals to move throughout our body and just be open to them being there, the less scary it is to feel emotions.


So if you have the thought I'm not good enough, remember it comes in many forms and we just kind of are aware first of all, okay, this is a negative thought. It's trying to tell me that it's true. Maybe it's not actually true. I'm just going to sit here and you start to feel what right? You might feel anxious, you might feel scared, you might feel angry, you might feel sad, you might feel many different things. Right, we just let we just be with that emotion. We just open up to it. Where do I feel it in my body? Where does it show up? I mean, there's many, many different ways to do this. I've got dozens of podcasts on how to feel and process through and open up to your emotions, letting them be there, somatic practices all of those things are ways that we be with the emotion, are ways that we be with the emotion when we be with what's happening inside of us, what we're feeling, without pushing it away or telling us ourselves we shouldn't be feeling this or any of that stuff.


That is key to our survival. It's reminding our body and our brain that everything truly is okay. Our survival is not threatened in this moment. And if that, if even saying those words, helps to open you up to being with the emotion that you're feeling, to sitting in it, to meditating in it, to however you want to show up and call it, then say those words my survival is not actually threatened in this moment, I'm okay. My survival is not actually threatened in this moment, I am okay. Nothing has gone wrong here, nothing has gone wrong here. Like, say those words out loud If it helps you be with the emotion. And then I want you to meet yourself with some love and compassion in this moment.


This is where self-compassion comes in, Recognizing that, yes, this thought shows up a lot and yes, I often believe it and yes, it digs its heels in very deeply and I'm starting to recognize that maybe it's not true and I can be with this emotion and I'm not going to die. I truly am safe. I love you, we're going to be okay. This is hard and I can do hard things. I've got you, I'm going to support you in the ways that you need. Like we love ourselves through this. We don't tell ourselves we're doing it wrong. We don't dig in deeper to that belief, that negative thought right and keep us in the cycle. We just give ourselves some compassion and some love and some kindness as we are learning to let go of that negative thought that keeps showing up.


And then the last thing that we do is we start to develop trust with ourselves. We start to recognize that, oh, I'm not actually dying, I am actually okay, my survival is actually fine, I can trust that. I will take care of myself in these moments. I can trust that my body knows what to do when it feels these negative things inside. I can trust that when I feel light, when I feel peace, when I feel calm, when I feel expansive, when I feel open, those are good and right and are in alignment with me, with my truth and with who I am.


And you start to trust yourself more to know what is true and what is positive and what is good and right for you. And you start to recognize more often not a hundred percent of the time, we're not shooting for perfection here, right but you start to notice and recognize more often when those negative thoughts are tricking you and you start to trust yourself more. Remember, you're not going to be a hundred percent at this. That's not the goal. The goal isn't to never be trapped in negative thinking. The goal is not to never be tricked by these negative thoughts. The goal is to continue to learn what is true for us, and the only way to do that is to have negative thoughts so that we can learn the opposite our own positive thoughts that align with us. Remember, it goes back to the yin and yang.


All right, my friends, I hope this is helpful. I hope this gives you some things to think about and some things to start looking for and some things to start recognizing when it comes to the thoughts that you have about yourself, the thoughts that you have about your life, about who you are, about things that are going on around you, and start to maybe recognize where some of those negative thoughts might be taking hold and having you believe something that maybe isn't actually true. Thank you so much for listening. I love you so much. You're incredible. You got this. Keep going. There is light and truth on the other side for you, I promise, on the other side of your divorce, I promise. All right, I love you, I'll talk to you next week. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening.


I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life with weekly coaching, real-life practice and practical guidance. Life with weekly coaching, real life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to karinnelsoncoaching dot com. That's wwwkarinnelsoncoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way. Please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.




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