It’s not the negative thoughts even though horrible that are the enemy. It’s the investing and believing those thoughts that is the issue.
I was once told by a Buddhist psychologist Jack Kornfiel to simply be a door greeter for thoughts. – To try NOT to be the bouncer and distract/avoid/kick out the negative thoughts, and not to be a door mat and let the thoughts rub their feet on me and rub me into the mud, but to simply be the door greeter that acknowledges each thought, perhaps even each feeling that comes, name them, say hello “ah there you are anger. I see you” or “I’m having the thought that I’m not good enough.” and let it pass without doing anything accept paying attention to the fact that it’s there. Eventually the thought or feeling will pass by and a new thought or feeling will pop up and again, bow to it, welcome it as it passes by the gates of your mind and let it walk through like the others and just watch it as it goes by until it’s gone in the distance and a new thought pops up.
I’m probably not doing this Explanation any justice, lol. I probably need to explain more, but I don’t have the words ATM. This sort of work also seems silly and lame at first but it’s worth it if you can stick through it and get by the uncomfortable dorky feeling you may experience like I did the first hundred times I practiced. And it’s not for people who are in immediate self harm distress who could use a temporary emergency distraction. This is more of an everyday thing to do to help build your awareness of yourself and the thoughts you have, and to build strength, tolerance and resistance against the negative thoughts. When I have toxic thoughts, although still very intense and impulsive and I get bursts of strong emotion , I’m 10X better than I ever was as a teen at not getting lost in them and drowning in them as often as I used to. The inner chaos still exists, but it’s much more manageable than it ever was. I personally am not always able to hold back my toxic thoughts and they at times get leaked to my friends. In the past, these thoughts and feelings would fester and rise quickly from 0-100 in seconds as if I stuck my hand on a hot burner and I’d explode with rage or sadness or whatever emotion was present that I was sinking into. It caused a lot of issues with friend groups who weren’t sure how to respond or didn’t see things the way I did, perhaps were offended, or couldn’t handle the unpredictable outbursts and abuse that I didn’t realize I was doing because I was too busy giving into all the feelings and horrible thoughts and urges , too busy with my own hurt to think clearly, to Be aware that these were temporary moments that I’d later overcome. And I lost friends. And I felt humility. And it sucked.
But now, knowing what I do, seeing the kinds of thoughts my brain twists into motion because of this sort of self awareness practice, I’m much better at not exploding into chaos and I can better pull these thoughts back even if I in the moment gave into the urge and say “that was a shitty intense moment and toxic thought.” and with doing that I’m separating myself from the thoughts. This isn’t me. I’m not my thoughts. They’re just automatic thoughts nothing more . I’m saying to myself and others that my Feelings and thoughts are not facts, they are simply feelings and thoughts. I’m also saying “hey, I recognize this isn’t healthy thinking and I’m working on it.”
I’m not a master at this, and I don’t know if anyone is, but Mastery isn’t the goal, progress and growth and courage to keep Going back to the practice over and over . There are still many times I still fall prey to the whole “I’m never going to get better” thoughts lol and I sort of sink in the water with them a while and let myself be miserable – but then with time, I finally remember what this is and i recognize that itself is another cognitive distortion and another toxic thought and feeling to acknowledge and wave to ヾ(๑╹◡╹)ﾉ” bye! lol and I sit up, close my eyes and internally greet it.
And yet even other times you may even feel proud of yourself. When I finally let pass and get myself away from “self pity, woe is me, why me “thoughts I have moments where when I catch the dark crap I’m spiraling down into and acknowledge it/become aware of it before it sucks me in, I’m like ” Heck yeah!! Great job!” *High fives self*
so yeah 🙂 it’s a lot of work and you may need to somehow Google what I’m talking about to get more clarity(Jack Kornfield might be worth looking into since he is where I got it from lol) but hopefully you’ll somehow understand some of what I wrote. It’s been a challenge and a practice I have to remember to use lol but the awareness I gained by practicing this thing does really help me significantly in my personal progress. I 💭think at first I wasn’t ready for it and I had to come back to it years later but when I was ready for it – it was there for me and it was my next step into that progressing my mental health awareness; it added a new healthy tool to my mental health “therapy brain box ” 🙂