post written by: Marc Chernoff

4 Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside You


12 Positive Thoughts for Troubled Times

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.  The little difference is attitude.  The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
―W. Clement Stone

Why do we think negatively when we know better?

Because thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy.  It goes something like, “If I expect a tragedy, then I won’t be disappointed when it takes place.”

Our desire to want to be right is another common reason we subconsciously choose negative thinking.  Sometimes, as foolish as it sounds, we would rather be right about our negative predictions than have a positive outcome prove us wrong.  And since negative thinking leads to negative actions, or no action at all in many cases, by thinking negatively we create a self-fulfilling prediction for ourselves.  In other words, we think negatively, predict a negative outcome, act negatively, and then receive a negative outcome that fulfills our prediction.

Of course, none of this is what we truly want or need in our lives.  So how can we stop talking ourselves into these thinking traps?  Let’s take a look at four powerful ways to quiet the negative, inner voice that leads us astray:

1.  Start focusing on the grey area between the extremes.

Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing.  Thinking in extremes like this is a fast way to misery, because negative thinking tends to view any situation that’s less than perfect as being extremely bad.  For example:

  • Rather than the rainstorm slowing down my commute home from work, instead “it wasted my whole evening and ruined my night!”
  • Instead of my business venture taking a while to gain traction, “it’s never going to work, and it’s going to completely ruin my financial future.”
  • Rather than just accepting the nervousness of meeting a new group of people, “I know these people are not going to like me.”

Since 99.9% of all situations in life are less than perfect, black and white thinking tends to make us focus on the negative – the drama, the failures, and the worst case scenarios.  Sure catastrophes occur on occasion, but contrary to what you many see on the evening news, most of life occurs in a grey area between the extremes of bliss and devastation.

If you struggle with seeing the grey area of a situation, sit down with a pen and paper, write down the best-case outcome, the worst-case outcome, and at least one realistic outcome that falls between the two extremes.  For example, say you’ve been worrying about a new intimate relationship, write down:

  • Worst-case outcome (unlikely extreme):  “The relationship is a total disaster that ends with two broken hearts.”
  • Best-case outcome (unlikely extreme):  “The relationship is total bliss with zero arguments until the end of time.”
  • Realistic-case outcome (highly likely):  “There will be great times, good times, and not so good times, but we will work together, respect each other, and give our relationship a fair chance before drawing any conclusions.”

Make the realistic-case outcome as detailed and long as you like, or list more than one realistic-case outcome.  Giving your mind more options to consider will help reduce extreme emotions and allow you to think more clearly and realistically.  (Read The Happiness Advantage.)

2.  Stop looking for negative signs from others.

Too often we jump to conclusions, only to cause ourselves and others unnecessary worry, hurt, and anger.  If someone says one thing, don’t assume they mean something else.  If they say nothing at all, don’t assume their silence has some hidden, negative connotation.

Thinking negatively will inevitably lead you to interpret everything another person does as being negative, especially when you are uncertain about what the other person is thinking.  For instance, “He hasn’t called, so he must not want to talk to me,” or, “She only said that to be nice, but she doesn’t really mean it.”

Assigning meaning to a situation before you have the whole story makes you more likely to believe that the uncertainty you feel (based on lack of knowing) is a negative sign.  On the flip-side, holding off on assigning meaning to an incomplete story is a primary key to overcoming negative thinking.  When you think more positively, or simply more clearly about the facts, you’ll be able to evaluate all possible reasons you can think of, not just the negative ones.  In other words, you’ll be doing more of:  “I don’t know why he hasn’t called, but maybe…”

  • “…he’s extremely busy at work.”
  • “…his phone battery is dead.”
  • “…he’s simply waiting for me to call him.”
  • etc.

You get the get the idea.  None of these circumstances are negative and all are as plausible as any other possible explanation.

Next time you feel uncertain and insecure, and you catch yourself stressing about a problem that doesn’t exist, stop yourself and take a deep breath.  Then tell yourself, “This problem I’m concerned with only exists in my mind.”  Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards living a positive life.

3.  Evaluate and eliminate unreasonable rules and expectations.

You must deal with the world the way it is, not the way you expect it to be.  Life is under no obligation to give you exactly what you expect.  In fact, whatever it is you’re seeking will rarely ever come in the form you’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.

Stop forcing your own misconstrued expectations and rules on life…

  • “He was late, so he must not care about me.” – Or perhaps he just got caught in traffic.
  • “If I can’t do this correctly, then I must not be smart enough.” – Or perhaps you just need more practice.
  • “I haven’t heard back from my doctor, so the test results must be bad.” – Or perhaps the lab is just really busy and your results aren’t available yet.
  • etc.

Inventing rules like these about how life must be, based on your own stubborn expectations, is a great way to keep your mind stuck in the gutter.  This isn’t to say that you should never expect anything at all from yourself and others (diligence, honesty, ambition, etc.), but rather that the rules that govern your expectations should not steer you toward unreasonably negative conclusions.

If you feel dissatisfied or let down by an outcome, then you must have been expecting something different.  Rather than get upset, ask yourself, “Were my expectations too narrow?” and “What new truths have I learned?”

The bottom line is that you must see and accept things as they are instead of as you hoped, wished, or expected them to be.  Just because it didn’t turn out like you had envisioned, doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what you need to get to where you ultimately want to go.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)

4.  Embrace rejection and use it to find the right opportunities.

As soon as someone critiques and criticizes you, as soon as you are rejected, you might find yourself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am not worthy.”  What you need to realize is, these other people are NOT worthy of YOU and your particular journey.  Rejection is necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject opportunities that aren’t going to work, so can quickly find new ones that will.

Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.  It means you have more time to improve your thing – to build upon your ideas, to perfect your craft, and indulge deeper in to the work that moves you.

“Will you be bitter for a moment?  Absolutely.  Hurt?  Of course, you’re human.  There isn’t a soul on this planet that doesn’t feel a small fraction of their heart break at the realization of rejection.  For a short time afterwards you ask yourself every question you can think of…

  • “What did I do wrong?”
  • “Why didn’t they like me?”
  • “How come?”
  • etc.

But then you have to let your emotions fuel you!  This is the important part.  Let your feelings of rejection drive you, feed you, and inspire one heck of a powerful opening to the next chapter of your journey.

As you look back on your life, you will often realize that many of the times you thought you were being rejected from something good, you were in fact being redirected to something better.  You can’t control everything.  Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out.  Let go a little and just let life happen the way it’s supposed to.  Because sometimes the outcomes you can’t change, end up changing you and helping you grow far beyond your wildest dreams.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” and “Relationships” chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”)

Afterthoughts

Think positive.  Life is good.  Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold.  Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for the moment.  So keep smiling and keep staying true to your heart.  Someday, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.

The floor is yours…

What negative thoughts do you often struggle with?  How do you cope?  Please leave a comment below and share your insights with us.

Photo by: Jon McGovern

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74 Comments

  • My teen laughs at me, but after practicing for a long time, I can find a silver lining to nearly everything. For instance, when we get lost, we nearly always make a discovery - new park, activity, wildlife, etc.

  • To answer your question, I sometimes have a quick flash of criticism against others. It’s cynical and it happens fast. Often I ask myself “Why did I just think that?” afterwards because more often than not, it’s a thought I don’t agree with at all. It’s bizarre because some people may say it’s indicative of what sort of person I really am but I really disagree. Our brains are just strange.

  • It’s refreshing to spend time on a site that constantly reminds us that we are all human, without full control over outcomes, but with complete control of our decisions and attitudes. It is not always easy to make the best decisions, or maintain positive attitudes, but practice makes perfect, and we’re all in this together.

    Great post Marc!

  • This is such a beautifully written blog. you have hit the nail right on the head and I absolutely love it.

  • My negative thoughts are me, always thinking that I am not good enough or strong enough, or that I might say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. I guess I am my own worst enemy sometimes. I am a good person and fail to see that in myself. I always put others before me, and then there is no time or place for me. These posts have made me look inside so much. Thank you. I end up crying every time I read one. Both sad and happy tears.

  • This week, I have been through a tough rejection. At first it hurt because I thought I wasn’t being supported in fulfilling the task that was given to me. But I also knew that being upset wouldn’t solve the problem either. So I have to stop the voice in my head and do what needs to be done.

    To stop the voice in my head, I usually focus on my breathing and the moment. I avoid the negative thinking of those who rejected me by telling myself that they may have their own agenda to fulfill and something more important in their mind. Anything rational that will enable me to accept things and people as they are. It works at least for me.

    I guess the best way to stop the negative thoughts is by telling ourselves that in doing so it will only hurt us more. Beautiful and positive voices by default are more attractive to us.

  • I always have this voice inside my head saying that am not good enough. Right now, I am in a new job where am coding and programming most of the time, but this is not really what I did in University, though I have know basic IT. I really want to succeed but this voice keeps talking down to me…aaah!!!

  • This really resonates with me and I am so glad I was drawn to read your article today: “What you need to realize is, these other people are NOT worthy of YOU and your particular journey. Rejection is necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject opportunities that aren’t going to work, so can quickly find new ones that will.”

    I just broke up with someone who I thought was my true love a couple of days ago…hurts like hell but to know he cheated on me? Yes, he is so NOT worthy of me, of my love and devotion. Thank you for this post!

  • Love your articles. Truer words have never been spoken and everyone can relate in some way or another. Whenever I feel down, I always come here and within minutes I am feeling positive. We are all stronger than we think but sometimes just need reminding of that. You guys do that perfectly.

  • Awesome read Marc : )

  • “Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold” Aah beautiful..it made my day. Love and blessings to all. And thank you so much for such wonderful articles which always strike the right chords for me.

  • Thank you, Marc, for once again bringing to the forefront the fact that most of what we perceive as negativity in our lives is truly biased by our perception and expectations and not by the reality of the situation.

    The silver lining behind the cloud is the bright sunlight of reality as we should see it.

  • Thank you for the motivational inspirations. Too often do I focus on the negative and fail to see how wonderful and precious time is and valuable. I will surely remind myself of what really is a priority…My happiness and my self acceptance.

    Thank u!

    V

  • Good lord, this just came at absolutely the right time for me… thank you.

  • Hard to break a pattern of negative thinking when it was when started when I was a child. When those thoughts are pounded in and subtly pushed, it becomes more reality than truth. Thanks for your readings; they give me hope that even at 55, I can change. I know I need to save ME.

  • Such a breath of grace, this is! Thanks, first of all. Following a head-on collision a few years ago, neurological deficits (as well as phycological ones) turned my life partner into a totally different person. Edgy, touchy, brittle - and virtually friendless. Being f/t caregiver arrests my own writing efforts. But each time I choose responses from the “best me” - I benefit. I’m trying now to stop comparing what we were, with who we are today as a couple. Love wins. Thank you so much for encouragement!

  • I just got a job in a field that I love- physical fitness. However, I’ve always been the student, not the teacher. My biggest struggle is with comparing myself with others. I look at the other personal trainers and my thoughts instantly turn negative. “They’re so much better than me,” “Who do I think I am trying to do this?” Today I’m changing my mindset. My first question of today is, “What do I need to do to become better at this job?”

  • Number 2 is/was a biggie for me.

    Nowadays, when I don’t get the kind of response I want from someone, I force myself to come up with 4-5 reasons why it went that way OTHER than “they must not like me.”

  • Every day I receive something special from you on this blog. I count you as friends. Support in such a positive way and with unusual synchronicity is amazing. I feel my brain growing, the neuroplastic relationship of positive thoughts to our human biology is astounding. You both provide nourishment. Thank you.

  • Love this post. Perfect timing for what I am going through right now! Thank you :)

  • I think the negative voice inside your head is the ego wanting to stir up trouble. Playing “what if” scenarios or just making up a story isn’t healthy, especially if nothing has happened to you. What’s that quote from Mark Twain? “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

    The key to ignoring your negative thoughts is to remember they are just thoughts. You can replace a negative thought with a positive one. It may not be easy at first (I know from personal experience), but it’s like anything. Once you practice and/or exercise replacing negative thoughts with positive/hopeful thoughts, you won’t struggle.

    Make a commitment to yourself today to banish your negative thoughts. After all, they are just words strung together to form a sentence. Embrace your inner writer and think of some new thoughts.

  • I can only echo J.J.’s comments…

    Well said J.J.!!

  • About 5 years ago I did not get the big job I had placed a bid on, and gone thru several face-to-face meetings.

    When the call came, all was horrible in my head for about 5 minutes.

    An inner voice said, “You are being protected, this job is not for you.”

    Since then I doubt I reach 5 minutes of those terrible inner voices when ‘life’ happens.

    I am being protected. Moved into position for my hard work & skills to best be utilized.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • It’s uncanny how I stumbled across your blog when I needed it most. Your articles are truly inspirational; they have opened my eyes and my mind to how I would like to be. This article is just another stick of truth poking at me at quite the coincidental time–I’ve been struggling with the grey area for a long time, assuming the worst, etc. I’ve been working on thinking positively, and this article is another reinforcement for my change of thought.

    Thank you so much for all that you do.

  • I discovered this blog yesterday and I am truly impressed by what I’ve read. The articles are written beautifully and the content offers solid life advice we can all use.

    This article, in particular, addresses a way of thinking by boyfriend struggles with. Many things you mentioned rang true with his current outlook on life, in general. I know when he reads this he will discover some helpful new tools for changing his perception and improving his way of thinking.

    Thank you for providing such profoundly insightful thoughts and advice on this little thing we call “life”.

  • Just last night after spending a wonderful romantic few days with a new love I was shocked to find a series of text messages (really?) on my phone blasting me for a comment I made during our time together. He took it out of context, adding negative meaning to it. Rejecting my apology, he continued to tell me what a rude person I am. Geez…this dating situation is difficult! I am so honest and direct…hope something better is coming someday. Ouch!!! This post helps he see the truth of his negativity.

  • Once again, amazing timing. I received devastating rejection from someone I love this week and my heart has been really hurting. This will help me move forward. Bless you!!

  • Thank you so much for your articles. They are really inspiring and help me understand the way I feel.
    This one in particular rings a bell. ;))
    All the best!

  • I tend to be positive out loud to others, but negative on the inside towards myself. Hidden negative voices that I have struggled with all my life. Guess I need to tell myself what I tell others!

  • Great post with so many replies…it truly struck home. However I’d like to add an alternative thought to “being worthy.” I can see the point of the other person not being worthy of you. But someone gave me great advice 7 years ago as I was really fighting my way through a bi-polar depression.

    I told this person I always felt unworthy of asking women I like out, and missed several chances at relationships. He told me that I had a fear of rejection not based in reality. He said worst case CAN be this: you try, you fail, you stay the same.

    It took me a month to figure it out. But what I realized was that even if was rejected, all that was lost was the opportunity. My legs still worked. My eyes were still green. I still loved to write poetry. The sun still rose in the East and set in the West. In the grand scheme of the universe, not much had changed.

    I applied it to my work, and its done wonders. I can use it at home as well. Does it reduce the pain of the moment? Not so much. Is it foolproof? Nope. Does it allow for faster, better, more complete recovery? Yes, everytime.

    Other things I was told about rejection by a loved one (romantic, friend or family):

    1. Could have been the right person, but the wrong time.

    2. Could have been the right time, but the wrong person.

    3. Could have been moving at different speeds. You were in love when they were in like a lot. You wanted to take things slowly, they wanted to speed things up. Sound familiar?

    4. They were/are just as much afraid as you are, and it came out all wrong. So they bailed out.

    5. Together you took it as far as it could go. At the end of the line, that was it.

    Hang in there folks.

  • Excellent insights on how to handle negative thinking. I personally being a negative thinker have been struggling with “rejection” and being an “idealist”. Thanks a ton :-)

  • Chiman Delwadia
    July 26th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    This is a “just in time” set of advice for me. Just few ours ago, I was rejected and I was just feeling down. This blog gave me some need comfort.

    During last four years, I have been teaching online math and science to students in India from the USA. Immediately after retirement in June, I came to India and have been working hard to start learning centers for poor but bright students and provide them free quality education, which is lacking in India. I tried to work with several schools but was rejected by all. Maybe I need to learn from this blog that I have to double up my efforts or take different approach. Thanks for timely advice.

  • Thanks so much for this post. My daughter has pointed out to me recently that my negative self talk is not good for my Granddaughter, and she is right. I can get better at this for me, but must do so for a wonderful child in my life. Thanks !!

  • Like so many others before me, this post came at the most absolute BEST time for me! Struggling with a break-up I didn’t see coming, continuing on my journey of wellness with life storming all around me, I realize that it’s so easy to fall into this negativity trap. Thank you so much for reminding me that I can help to turn things around and at least feel better about myself, despite the pain. God bless!

  • Thank you, yet again, Marc and Angel! :-) the timing of your posts always makes me feel as if you write exclusively for me!:-P wonderful insights on how our “grey” cells never really like to think of the “grey” side of life. I can’t thank you enough for how much of an impact your blog has on my thoughts and behavior - every article makes me grow as a person..:-) I’m struggling with the exact new intimate relationship scenario which you’ve mentioned here..I worry endlessly about “why he hasn’t called”,”what could he be doing” etc, and imagining the worst only to discover later that it was something trivial that was holding him back. Bless you both…and keep this good stuff coming!

  • Your blog was perfect timing. Thank you!

  • Yes, I am finally realizing that we all have these voices in our heads. I have named mine Ralph. Ralph has driven me to overachieve and over-compensate and do more than most people ever thought possible. However, that voice always said I was not likeable, I was an imposter, I was fill in the blank for unworthy and disgusting… I know now that Ralph will never go away because he is part of me. I have come to accept Ralph, but sometimes I have to tell him that he is not helpful and to be quiet, I will pay attention to him later. That seems to work for me.

  • I used to think that it was most effective to push down or push away negative thoughts, but the work of Eckhart Tolle has been powerful and transformational for me in understanding what being present truly means, and how fear/worry and pain cannot exist in the ‘now’ moment and in the light of our consciousness. My primary practise for being peaceful and positive is just to be present, witness my mind if it strays away from the present and to accept whatever “is” just as it is.

    My favourite line in your blog here is “Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for the moment.” Priceless!

    Thank you!
    Bernadette :)

  • Very timely! I’m pregnant and have been battling problems about finances. I have a lot of sleepless nights which I know it’s not good. But I have a lot of things going in my head that I want to get rid of.

    Thanks for this inspirational read guys!

    Kudos!

  • Funny thing is I just came across this article. I’m now in the midst of losing my job and apartment in Japan (English Conversation Teacher). I’ve done my best to live life to the fullest here and have done more then I’ve done in my life. I’ve went cliff jumping, Scuba diving, snorkeling, spearfishing, joined a climbing group, cleaned the beaches and made trash art, created a beach cleanup and trash art organization, and just started dirtbike racing. Yet at the same time I’m losing my job and being told I’m not a good English teacher by my boss yet often praised by my students. Sometimes, these thoughts that I’m not a good teacher and am not cut out to do this, creep into my mind and when I tell my girlfriend about this “I’m weak.” Anyway, when I read #4 “Embrace rejection and use it to find the right opportunities” it especially rung true true for me. Change is an inevitable part of life and realizing that our course will constantly change while providing new opportunities, is essential for a meaningful life.

  • Thanks for this article. It comes at a great time, and the little examples you put in it really hits home. Thanks for all the work you do on this site; you have no idea how much it helps people like me.

  • Another lovely article, congratulations. I loved some of the ideas from the comments especially giving your negative self talk a name and separate identity; it seems like it would make it a lot easier to challenge this way. I also loved David’s comment, “you try, you fail, you stay the same.”

  • Trying to bring up my daughter to be positive has shown me just how many negative influences there are in the world.

    People who hand out advice like ‘Prepare for the worst and you may be pleasantly surprised’ or ‘Don’t expect too much or you will be disappointed’ are definitely making my job harder!

  • For years I have felt “unworthy” due to “sniping” from a spouse and other members of my family.

    Thank you for your article, it reminded me of the hard work I have been accomplishing these past two years to understand that I am worthy to be loved, happy, healthy, and spiritually content.

    :)

  • Thanks for this post! Today I woke up feeling sad. Your hopeful words guided me to the silver lining. Cheers from Argentina

  • Awesome article and site! I am truly grateful to have come across it today… Look out next week!!!

  • Whenever I feel negative I find a memory of when I was in a similar situation and got through. I look to what I learned from it and identified the value in the experience. This takes me to a positive place pretty quickly. :)

  • Marc,
    I think a lot of negativity comes from false expectations of others. One thing to always strive for is to understand what others expect from us and be open with what we are expecting - what kind of results, relationship, etc we are looking for. Once that is out in the open you can either accept it or at least tell them that isn’t what you are looking for.

  • @Christy King: What a great way to live!

    @J.J.: I couldn’t have said it better. The community comments reaffirm we are not alone.

    @Betsy: Your comment reminded me of this story, http://www.marcandangel.com/2009/08/10/i-am-my-own-worst-enemy/
    Never forget, YOU deserve YOUR love and affection just as much, if not more, than anyone else in the universe.

    @TWK: What a great opportunity to master a new skill. It’s about learning as you go and positively adjusting your attitude and efforts toward future possibilities.

    @David Rapp: As always, great examples. Thank you!

    @Michael: When you are at your lowest point, you are open to the greatest positive change. Open the door of opportunity in front of you, even when you have no idea what’s behind it. =)

    @All: We are all guilty of these negative thoughts at one point or another. Recognizing them for what they are (and not reality), and having the tools to combat them is what makes all the difference. Thank you, all of you, for reminding us that we are not alone. =)

  • Just read ‘The Promise’ by psychologist Graham W Price. The subtitle is ‘Never have a negative thought again’. It’s completely changed my thinking. Some things it’s taught me:

    - Negative thoughts are all crazy thoughts, as they always involve wanting something to be ‘already’ different, which is impossible (except worry which is crazy for other reasons). The book teaches a tool called ‘pacceptance’ that eliminates negative thinking
    - Learning to accept uncomfortable feelings is amazingly powerful
    - Accepting recurring feelings while repeatedly doing the opposite unwinds the programming driving the feeling
    - We live in a ‘determined’ world. Everything we, or others, have ever done is the best we could have done (in fact the only thing we could have done) with the awareness we had at the time
    - We can unwind our reactions by accepting and ‘owning’ them (recognising they’re about us)
    - We can take control of the way we experience every moment
    - We’re incredibly powerful. We just need to learn how to realise it

  • Awesome article once again.
    Great salute to you both..

  • I’m currently struggling with my sense of purpose and self worth. For as long as I remember, people have told me I’ve been really good at many things and was very talented but I never believed them. Dealing with compliments was a weird source of stress because I never knew how to deal with them. I think my self esteem needs a lot of work because usually I have no motivation. There are things I like to do but I don’t like them enough to chase them with enthusiasm.
    Earlier this year, I was in a relationship with, who I considered, the most amazing person I’ve ever met, it was the first time I was head over heel in love with someone. He became my purpose and motivation and I was slowly able to make some hard decisions and improvements thanks to him. But when the relationship came to an end.

    The effect was devastating. I even thought about killing myself due to the intense pain and despair that I had never experienced before from losing what seemed to be the only reason I had to be alive. It’s funny because I used to say people overreacting to losing a lover one way or another and should do their best to move on and be happy but I felt first hand how difficult that truly was and how ignorant I was. In the months to follow, I realized how dependent I’ve been on others my whole life because it was the only thing fighting the antagonistic thoughts that I always tore myself down with. I still don’t know what I’m suppose to do but I’m exploring my interests and hoping to continue to improve myself overtime. I want to become my own source of strength and joy. I’m 19 and I know I have a long way to go so I want to keep learning about the world and myself.

    I want to thank you so much for this article because it has helped me understand how to improve my view of the world and be a little happier :)

  • I have only been on this blog a few times and every time I really enjoy it. I just struggle so much with my self esteem and confidence. I am 44 years old, married to a good man, have 4 wonderful kids and sometimes I still feel like a little girl who is desperately looking around the lunchroom for a friend to sit by. I wish I could overcome my self depreciating thoughts and actions. This blog is a good start, I think!

  • Always right on the mark with your insight. Thank you for giving me food for thought every day! It’s making me stronger and better.

  • Thinking negative usually offers negative outcomes from the universe to us. Whenever I am upset, I switch to the best music that distracts me and makes me dance or exercise. Most of the time that may not be possible so the above points make sense.

    Thank you:)

  • A year ago I experienced the heartbreak of the ending of a 7 year relationship, a couple months later I was made redundant from my IT job to boot. At that point in my life I felt worthless - like life itself made me redundant.
    I took a month to restock, and battled with depression. I thought I’d be stuck there forever.
    I found myself every night crying to the Lord above “What do you want from me?” Like a mantra. There were no answers. Until the night I realised I had to find it out for myself. So I asked MYSELF, for the first time in a long time: “What do ‘I’ want for ‘me’?” The words “I have always wanted to become a composer” entered my mind. And it stayed there.

    I decided to take the negatives in my life and let it fuel me in that direction towards a positive outcome. I took short courses and studied every night. I applied to the best music university available. I went through months of grueling hours learning a craft that I was very new to. And I got in.

    I’m now enrolled in a 4 year course learning every day what it will take to make my dreams a reality. If anyone were to ask me last year, I would’ve said it was the worst year of my life. Due to my attitude and my redirection in life because of it, I now and forever will view it as the best year of my life. I am on the path of becoming a composer like I have always dreamed. I had to be made redundant in that other way of life, for I no longer belonged there.

  • I have always thought that the “5 steps to success” type of pieces are bogus. After reading your blog, I find myself lifting the stereotype off my head and opening my self to read and understand first.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I, for one, have gained a lot of wisdom from them.

    bless
    t

  • My mom forwarded this post to me and it just hit the spots. I am guilty of being a negative thinker, and now I have come to believe that I certainly won’t reach where I want to go with that attitude. Thanks for the inspiration and God bless!

  • Marc, thank you for your response on 7/28/13 to my comment on 7/26/13. Your thoughtful comments were very much appreciated. I did read the post of 8/10/09 about me being my own worst enemy.

    “Never forget You deserve Your love and affection just as much, if not not more than anyone else in the universe.”

    Thank you again, it is a work in progress. Your post are so moving and truthful. Many, many thanks.

  • Your website is superb. Full of facts and helpful advice that individuals now a days really need, in our fast unpredictable lives, each of us experiences hurt, pain, rejection and insecurities and your blog is the right place to get those wonderful enlightening advices. Salute! Keep it up.

  • Dan Michael Madrid
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:38 am

    This website always reminds me that there’s no obstacle that I can’t surpass. There’s a voice inside me, telling me that I’m not good enough and not attractive enough but after reading the articles in this website, I feel so damn GOOD about myself. This website is AWESOME! Keep up the good work guys. GOD Bless

  • I totally agree with Mary Lynn’s post. On the outside, I am positive with others but on the inside, I am negative with myself. Seems really stupid! The reason is in thinking negatively about myself and voicing it times, I subconsciuosly hope (though it hurts to say it) for people to give me more attention and affection. The thing is the best person who can give me courage and attention is ME.

  • I needed to read this this morning… I’ve been struggling with my health lately. And I am SO frustrated with my body; I give it what it needs, try so hard to be positive and take great care of myself and still things are only getting worse. After a long time of this it’s easy to start thinking negatively. Like no matter what I do, I can’t help myself feel better, I’m a victim. That’s what it feels like on bad days anyways. Words like these relieve the negativity and lets the positive voice come through. Thanks :)

  • I tend to have extremely negative thoughts. Most of them relate to my love life. I like a guy but think he’s too good for me. Even when the guy responds to me positively, I get these doubts that he is too good for me and will eventually leave me one day or will marry me but maintain a philandering lifestyle and despite that I will not be able to let go of him. This has become the greatest fear of my life. Struggling hard to be more positive in life.

    The article was a good read. Hope to be able to apply it in my daily life and take benefit of it.

  • Another great set of points. Loved 4. It’s true. Being rejected in my family merely for who I was actually made me look around to find out where I would be safe and able to grow. It has taken me until now, having read this blog, that the rejection I have experienced in life has all been part of the journey, a piece of advice rather than a kick in the guts, even though it feels that way. As a kid, when I did get kicked in the guts, you don’t have the option of walking away, even though that is what I always felt I should have done. Or rather, I did have the option, but was caught up in an emotionally manipulative situation, coerced into having to support those who were rejecting me. There were lots of mind games going on that a kid can only feel but not really understand. Either way, now I can see the rejection was a sign I needed a different environment if I intended to develop and grow further. I have repeated this particular scenario many times in my life, but only do I realise that walking away is not a sign of weakness but a sign of intelligence.

  • My fiancee and I have been together for four years. I have a problem with thinking about the worst case all the time. For example, he is 21 and went to a bar with his friends. I knew and was aware of this a few days prior. I don’t mind. But I called him many times and I had no answer. My mind at that point starts to wander towards things like, he’s ignoring me. He’s flirting with a single girl that was invited to go with his friends. He’s cheating on me. And at this point normally I’m good about ignoring those thoughts but lately I’ve been reverting to old behaviours and letting those false thoughts and scenarios start to form into emtreme emotional distress. I literally get sick over these emotions they cause. Its been the past two weeks or so this old behaviour came back. He was recently unemployed so I feel like it triggered old fears again. But my problem is, is I can’t shake the negative emotion. Even though the reason behind it is purely false, the emotional response is real. And it hurts. I’ve tried finding coping skills and rarely do any work. This article helps slightly or at least for the moment. I am excited to see if it will work in my real life situation.

  • This is a just what I needed to read. I am a little older but like the poster above me. Always thinking the worst of my husband when he isn’t around. I know I making these things up in my head but when it’s happening I can’t see that, I just let my imagination run wild. It’s really a sad way to be. I know it stems from my past, I was cheated on and never fully dealt with the issue. Although he has never done anything to make me truly question him, I need to realize that I can and will survive even if it turns out that I’m right. The things we do to ourselves!

  • I have been on your website everyday this week. I have really been struggling with negativity lately. I am in a healthy relationship with a really great guy, but I just can’t help but think it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong. I know this is just my past and insecurities coming back…and I know/trust that if something were actually wrong, he’s man enough to talk to me. I’m hopeful that with continued reading & working on changing my thought pattern, I’ll get through this rough patch. While it’s comforting to see that I’m not alone, I also acknowledge that this is not a comfortable feeling for anyone & wish we could all just kick the little devil off our shoulders.

  • I have been struggling with some negative thoughts that aren’t even real. It is like I woke up one morning and it was in my head and two months later I’m still stuck here. I am normally the one telling everyone else to look how blessed we all are and to be grateful for what you are given. Now I am stuck in this loop and it is driving me crazy. In life I was really pretty happy. I love my husband and our three children. I have everything I need and life is pretty good. A few years ago we had a tramatic thing happen in our family which didn’t really get dealt with. It got swept under the carpet for noone else to see. Now almost four years later I am dwelling on it and turning it towards myself. I know I am a good person but my mind is trying to convince me otherwise. I am afraid all the time and I am desperately trying to fix this problem. Thanks for your article I am going to try and put it in my mind instead. I just need the negative to go away and go back to the person I was.

  • Thank you for the post. I have just realized that I am a black or white person. I just want things to be perfect. I believe if things were perfect, I’d be happy. I just didn’t think that things are good already. I fail to see the silver lining of things sadly. OK so turning more positive I’ll just have to change my outlook on things and embrace joy, love, and peace :)

    Enjoying every single moment in life, God Willing :)

  • God’s Grace is the silver lining for me. He accepts me. All the best guys.

  • This is a wonderful blog and felt very relaxed reading it. :) Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.

  • It’s been awhile since my ex and I split, about 3 months. I miss him terribly and also feel down about myself. I know I need to be caring towards myself, at the same time it’s hard when our relationship ended so horrible. This article helped, and I need to read similar articles during my healing process.

  • I was just googling ‘things always fail to come up as I expected’ and this came up. I feel grateful to come across this post. I always think that I am not smart enough if I fail to do something that people are capable of doing. I want to get rid of that thought but incidents in life just keep on proving me I’m ‘right’ about my less smart brain. Guess I need more practice in life to think about the grey area and embrace the silver lining.

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