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When Dealing With Negative Thoughts, Turn to Kindness

Look inwards at the truths you uncover about yourself, and love others.

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Raise your hand if you’ve been rejected, invalidated, or disregarded during the pandemic. Maybe you’ve been unemployed for months and still haven’t received a job offer. Or maybe you can’t find an affordable house to live in, have fights with your spouse, or are not feeling heard at the doctor’s office. 

Nearly everyone I know has been going through something akin to a struggle, and I can understand how agonizing that is. 

As a mother of two boys working full-time as a physician, I recognize the struggle with being lonely, especially because I have to quarantine myself away from my family to protect them.

Another trial unique to me is having a victim mentality, and that can make it extra challenging to focus on the things that matter most. Many of my reflections cause me to worry, and some of those thoughts are very dark. It takes a lot of internal dialogue with myself to find contentment.

Here are some thoughts weighing on my mind:

  • People may reject you based on preconceived notions they have in their mind.
  • People may label you whatever they find convenient and can fit their agenda.
  • People may look down on you because you are simply different and they don’t want to celebrate that.
  • People may target you because you might be gullible, and that can work to their advantage.
  • People may make you feel unloved/unwelcomed because they have yearned for love and belonging for a long time.
  • People may want to lower your self-esteem because that is the best way to control you.
  • People may paint a very distorted picture of you and your own reality to further break you down, once they gain control over you.
  • People may show a barrage of hostility because they’ve been intimidated by your kindness/innocence.

I’ve learned that I need to channel that pain in a more useful way and translate it into opportunities for growth, accountability, and self-love. That’s easier said than done! Due to my personality, it almost feels impossible to tune out negativity at times. I find myself being pulled into the vortex of shame, blame, antagonism and resentment repeatedly and can’t seem to break the cycle, at least initially. 

One day I hope to be able to overcome my victim mentality, as I know how damaging it can be.

I have spent many sleepless nights in bed agonizing over racing thoughts that come into my mind. While it’s not my first instinct to think positive thoughts, I am actively trying to channel the negativity and cast it in a new light. 

Things I can acknowledge:

  • My reality is not how they see it or what they think of me.
  • My persona may not be respected or admired by some, but I don’t live solely to please others.
  • My gullibility is part of my uniqueness, and if some people want to take advantage of me, I feel sorry that they have to stoop so low.
  • If people think of my authenticity and naiveté as bizarre, then that’s their choice. I’m not willing to change.
  • I don’t need to sound well-rehearsed, and if people want me to be then they’ll have to live with disappointment.

Practice kindness

One way I can work towards being kinder towards myself is to practice being kind to others.

For example, I can accept my friends for their wonderful personalities. I can accept them fully for their individual quirks and flaws, and love them anyway. I can practice gratitude when they take time out of their day to think of me or do something special. I can do my best to respect my friends for their lifestyle choices, parenting decisions, or how much money they make. I can listen, and not give advice unless it’s asked for, and not make the conversation about me.  

I often talk about this in my speeches, and enjoy conversations about looking inward with friends. I hope that my thoughts have given you the confidence to be yourself and look inward for answers, even when life throws you a curveball. Like me, you will stumble and have to overcome some difficult obstacles, but a little perspective goes a long way. 

If you liked my post, please share your thoughts on looking inwards and finding peace in a trial! Tweet me @ReyzanShali.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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