Your thoughts aren’t always accurate reflections of the truth; some are the direct result of listening to people who leave their mark on your psyche. Luckily though, you are in charge of your thoughts and emotions. Nonetheless, you have to be aware of them and recognize where they come from before you can change them.
List your beliefs
If you want to explore your negative thoughts, with a view of dropping them, start by recognizing them. List the thoughts you face most often, the type that bring you down. Such thoughts might be:
I’m no good at (fill in the blank).
Other people are smarter/funnier/more attractive.
I’m unlucky in love.
Compiling your list may take time, but don’t sit there too long dissecting your mind, trying to come up with negative thoughts. Keep a notebook, and when thoughts you don’t like naturally arise catch them and put them on paper.
Once you have a list, take each item on it and think about its origins. For instance, who told you, or what makes you think, you aren’t good at X, Y, or Z? The idea didn’t fly out of the blue. Someone, or a circumstance, planted it in your mind. Maybe a teacher, a parent, or your sibling suggested, or made it clear, you weren’t good enough (in their opinion). On the other hand, you might have misinterpreted a situation, adding 2+2, but getting the answer 5.
Maybe, the thought that you aren’t attractive enough came from a chance throwaway remark made by someone who had no idea they had hurt you, and didn’t mean what they said. Or, the thought that you aren’t made of the right stuff to be successful came from a person who believed that about themselves, and thought they would protect you from harm and disappointment by encouraging you to set your sights low.
Consider that every negative thought you have about yourself, from your looks to your abilities, came from unhelpful, and inaccurate sources. Similarly, your views on life, other people, and your cynicism might stem from past hurts that haven’t healed. You’ve brought them with you into the present, but they don’t belong here. What was accurate then has probably changed, and what wasn’t right initially certainly isn’t true now.
Simply discovering the origins of your negative thoughts will help to unravel them and dispel mistakes. Also, healing can take place when you choose to forgive those who unintentionally lodged their negativity in your mind. Realize, no one can do that to others unless they are in a bad place themselves. Happy people don’t screw others up, they see their positive qualities and highlight them. They help others produce happy thoughts and develop confidence. They encourage others to grow and thrive.
Let go, forgive, and allow yourself to feel compassion for the part of you that’s taken on mind-junk, which doesn’t belong to you, or accidentally picked-up the wrong ideas and turned them inwards.