Developing into a Healthy Thinker
Sue Patton Thoele

The select few who've mastered the art of meditation can empty their minds, but the rest of us can't stop thinking.  Unfortunately, much of what we think isn't conducive to strength, happiness, and self-esteem.  Therefore, when we catch ourselves thinking negatively, we need to plan a script of thoughts to replace our unhealthy self-talk.

Admittedly, I balked when first hearing the idea of creating a script for myself.  Doing so seemed contrived and unnatural.  Plus, I was convinced the whole idea was too simplistic to be effective.  It wasn't until life pushed me over the edge and the slender thread by which I was hanging was being unraveled by my negative thoughts that I gave in and tried scripting.  Because it worked--and still works--for me, I'm sharing it with you.

Avoid the common error of chastising yourself for negative thinking.  If you catch yourself in the middle of some particularly negative self-talk and berate yourself, "There I go again!  How terrible!  No wonder I feel as I do!  Why can't I stop this?", you'll only start a new line of negative, self-critical thoughts.  Instead, give yourself a gold star for a good job of vigilant thought monitoring.

I watch my self-talk carefully.  I was once working with a client who was suicidal.  After the session I noticed I was feeling depressed and on the verge of tears.  I tuned in to my self-talk.

 I'd been saying, "I should be able to save her.  If she dies, I'll be responsible.  I'm not up to the task of making her well."  Ah, the Responsibility Sponge hard at work.  No wonder I felt lousy.

I checked the reality of those debilitating thoughts and began to replace them with these:  "She is a child of God, safe in the universe; I am a good therapist; I love myself and her."  I pictured her well and happy and, as a result, began to feel better.  Sad, still, but then it was a sad situation.  But I changed the statements that were draining my self-esteem reserves and causing me pain and began to release my feelings of failure and fear, which, if continued, would have become obstacles to my helping her.

Affirmations are flower seeds that we plant in our subconscious.  They have a powerful effect in helping us build a life that is happy, authentic, and free from fear.  Conscious affirmations are an effective means of reprogramming negative self-talk, underlying assumptions, and hidden attitudes.

Probably the most important affirmation you can have is "I love myself."  If you simply can't say that, as I couldn't when I started affirming, try "I am willing to love myself" or "I am willing to be willing to love myself.  Whenever you become aware of unhealthy self-talk, replace it with one of the following affirmations or create your own affirmations to meet your particular needs.

Positive Self-Talk Affirmations
1.  I love myself.
2.  I am a good friend to myself and others.
3.  I am a worthwhile human being even though I make mistakes.
4.  I know my limits and boundaries and stand up for them in a firm and loving manner.
5.  I now have the time, energy, wisdom, and money to accomplish all that I desire.
6.  I trust myself.  I know what is good for me.
7.  I am willing to be my ideal weight.
8.  I am a valuable person worthy of the love and respect of others.
9.  I deserve satisfying and supportive relationships.
10.  I am an excellent and creative worker.
11.  I am wise, loving, light-hearted, and kind, a clear reflection of God.
12.  I am God's (use any term that resonates with your heart) cherished child.

Don't expect quick results.  You are reprogramming your subconscious mind, the most complex computer on earth.  It will take time for your feelings to catch up with your new thoughts.  But even if you don't feel the truth of the affirmation now, know that valuable work is being done on the subconscious level.  The eventual benefits of changing thought patterns has been proven over and over again by people who faithfully, persistently practice affirmations.  These include world-class athletes and successful business people.

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Keep your thoughts right--for as you think, so are you.
Thoughts are things; therefore, think only the things that
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Henry H. Buckley



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The sad fact is that we're not educated to be aware and therefore able to
question the reality created by our thinking.  We don't realize that we must
take responsibility for our thoughts to find out if they are really true, and then
set aside or at least acknowledge those that are simply opinion and bias.  We
don't recognize that most thoughts are ultimately judgments, and that the truth
of any judgment is how that judgment makes us feel.

Richard Moss


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