Where did it come from?
As children, many of us have experienced schoolyard name calling and taunting. We’re told that children can be cruel sometimes. When a child is perceived to be different from the norm of the group, that unfortunately makes many kids targets of this behavior.
There’s a without a doubt a few contributing factors to children exhibiting this hurtful and sometimes cruel behavior. From movies and TV, to imitating adults in their lives, to seeking a form of power when kids typically don’t have much power in their lives, etc, etc. This article isn’t going to talk about all the sources, since that isn’t the thrust of what’s going to be discussed.
In the playground as well as in life, we’ve been told that there’s winners and losers. Period. Pick your side you want to be on.
We did… or we tried to. Valiantly.
Except that not everyone is exceptional or even good at doing all things! Life is a learning curve, and we each learn certain things faster and other things slower.
When we didn’t do so well, or we messed up in our efforts, many times there was someone at hand to gleefully call out to us, “Loser!”
The “Loser” concept is repeated over and over in the media!
By the time we’ve become adults, the myth of the “Loser” has become so embedded in or minds and our spirits that we no longer question if it’s true or not! We accept the myth as if it were a fact!
I speak from experience, because this is exactly what happened to me!
When I messed up opportunities or things went badly instead of going as well as I had planned, I’d beat myself up inside of my head.
“Well did you expect it to go any differently this time? Of course it wouldn’t, you’re such a loser!” I’d tell myself.
I had learned to pick up the taunts and jibes to myself where the schoolyard bullies and my other abusers had left off.
I didn’t want to be a “Loser”! In fact I’ve worked very hard to succeed in life. Yet, no matter what successes I had, no matter what I had accomplished, those inner taunts lived on inside of my head, jabbing me when I was vulnerable.
I allowed those jabs to wound me, because I had come to believe that I deserved it. After all, wasn’t I a “Loser”?
When I didn’t succeed at something I set my mind on to do, my mind started playing the negative tapes, and I became depressed. I felt I was helpless against the universal forces which had indeed recognized my extreme ‘loser-ness’ and I was destined to stay a “Loser” for the rest of my life!
I didn’t let on to most of the world that this is how I felt about myself. I kept it a secret. I was afraid that they’d agree with my own assessment of myself. Even when I told a few people and they seemed shocked that I’d think that of myself, I still held onto those inner tapes. After all, wasn’t my lack of financial success proof of it?
I became tired of being depressed and mindfully set out to change.
I wanted to change. When I listened to motivational videos, I truly wanted to become a positive person, yet no matter how many sessions I listened to, the positive effects would wear off soon… whether it was after a few hours or days, I needed almost constant infusions of motivational and inspirational messages to feel better about myself.
Then suddenly I realized that what I believed about myself was a MYTH!
Opting out of the “Loser” myth
Once I decided that I wanted to change my inner thoughts about myself, I discovered that they were a lot more ingrained than I had ever suspected!
I was surprised that when I started to mindfully pat myself on the back and tell myself “I’m a winner!” each time I succeeded at something whether it was small such as winning a level on a game app, or something larger, how my brain would wryly offer me negative feedback! “Yeah, right!” it would say!
I started taking note of these occurrences and realized that I had internalized the negative messages I had received in my life, had magnified them and had made them such a part of my internal truth, that all it took was one little “Yeah, right!” of my brain to start the downward spiral into my whole negative thought parade.
When I started observing my inner process, I realized that I had created a whole script that my brain would faithfully follow!
Even if you don’t subscribe to the new thought process of Quantum Physics, that our thoughts can influence our physical world, or that our bodies and health are affected by our thoughts, it very important to learn about what Neural pathways are and how it helps or hurts us in life!
Understanding Neural pathways
A Neural pathway in our brain is created with each thought! Think the same thoughts over and over, the Neural pathways become stronger and stronger as more similar thoughts are added to the network, much the same way as many people walking the same pathway in nature will turn a barely-there path into a wide, beaten down one.
When we keep repeating the same behaviors and having the same thoughts, our Neural pathways get reinforced, so it becomes a natural go-to for our brains. Much like a short-cut!
Yet, how many of us DON’T like the destination we keep getting brought to?
When I learned about Neural pathways, it occurred to me that I could use the natural functioning of my brain to help rewire my whole thought process!
By becoming aware of my thoughts, and not judging myself a bad or weak person for having them, I was able to see the bigger picture of how my brain had internalized the negative messages I had received in my life.
I saw that I had accepted those negatives as being the truth! I saw that I gave other people authority to dictate what my brain thought of me!
It was a huge revelation to me that I didn’t have to accept those messages as being the truth!
My times Depression were because I was sad those messages were true, yet my spirit was struggling to tell me otherwise; I yearned to be free of those inner blocks!
Creating new Neural pathways
In order to become free of those negative messages my brain had come to automatically play for me, the first step was becoming aware of my thoughts.
Debunking the negative thoughts
Once I became aware of my thoughts I needed to look at them to learn not only where they came from, but to be able to debunk them!
Debunking, or seeing how the thought process isn’t an accurate one is a very important step! When we see that the negative thought is false, we can then begin to substitute positive thoughts!
Unless we debunk those old thoughts, we still wonder subconsciously if they’re true!
When we write out the thoughts, it becomes easier to see they’re false and the positive thoughts we want to replace them with will have a greater possibility of taking hold!
Creating new Neural pathways with the new positive thoughts
Replacing new positive thoughts for the old
An important part of the healing process is to replace the negative thoughts with positive and uplifting ones!
It may feel very strange at first to say these new positive thoughts to yourself! That’s natural! It felt very strange to me too when I first started!
Our old Neural pathways became paved streets in our brains! The negative thoughts became the facts we lived our lives by, and what we beat ourselves up internally with!
It’s important to become consistent!
Step 1 is to become aware of our thoughts.
Step 2 is to replace those old negative thought with the positive ones we’ve written down! It’s hard at first because it’s something we’re not used to!
Becoming consistent is a matter of practice! The more we do something new, the more times a Neural pathway is created. Neural pathways of the same thought will become strengthened each time we think a thought!
It’s okay to start small!
Sometimes it’s much easier to start small with things we can believe in! When we gain confidence in those thoughts, we proceed to add more and more positive thoughts.
Are there slip-ups?
It’s normal to have slip-ups and shift into old thought patterns. After all, aren’t those Neural pathways now highways?
The trick is to catch ourselves!
The old Neural pathways will fade!
With time the new Neural pathways will become our new normal, and become the new highways, while the old, negative ones will gradually fade and become smaller and smaller!
I’ve created a Thoughts Journal as a tool to help you with this process!
Write out the negative thought. Try to see where it came from to learn and understand that a) it has become a huge exaggeration of a past event(s) and b) that it no longer serves you.
Next, write out a positive thought that’s the opposite of the negative!
Below you’ll find links to the Thoughts Journal, as well as the Anger and Joy Journals. I think it’s necessary to deal with issues as they come up, and the Anger Journal provides a tool to help you with this process!
The Joy Journal is a neat tool to help you see the positive things you may have overlooked when the negative tapes were running rampant! This is a place to write out the positive things, to help you rewrite your thoughts and to be able to find positive messages to tell yourself!
You can do this! I know it’s do-able! I wouldn’t recommend you do anything I haven’t done for myself!
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