3 Steps to Stop Negative Thinking

Mark Manson

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Ever find yourself drowning in a sea of negativity, wondering how you can escape the relentless tidal wave of self-doubt and judgment?

Well, you’re not alone. We all suffer from negative thoughts, and it’s about time we learned how to deal with them effectively.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore three steps that can help you manage negative thinking, accept failure, and ultimately achieve more of your goals.

STEP 1: ACCEPT FAILURE AS A NATURAL PART OF LIFE

One of the most important things we can do when dealing with negative thoughts is to accept that failure is a natural and necessary part of life. We often forget that failure is a concept that we invent in our own minds, setting arbitrary benchmarks that, when not met, make us feel like losers.

For example, consider your financial goals. If you decide that you need $50,000 to be happy and you only achieve $40,000, you’ll feel like a failure. But if you set your goal at $40,000 from the start, suddenly you’re a success.

It’s crucial to understand that the goalposts we set for ourselves are often arbitrary and malleable.

The first step in managing negative thoughts is to hold those mental images and standards a little more loosely. Nothing ever turns out quite as good or as bad as we expect. Our minds have a tendency to exaggerate and amplify certain feelings or expectations.

Remembering that, like everyone else, you’re full of shit sometimes, can help you keep things in perspective.

STEP 2: PRACTICE SELF-FORGIVENESS

Learning to forgive yourself for your mistakes and failures is a necessary component of managing negative thoughts. Often, the difference between people who suffer from negative thoughts and those who can move on is the ability to let go of self-judgments.

To begin practicing self-forgiveness, separate the action from the intention. Most of the time, when people make mistakes, they genuinely intended to do something good. Focus on that intention and try to understand the motivation behind it. Once you can empathize with your own motivations, you’ll find it easier to forgive yourself.

Next, draw a lesson from your failure. Ask yourself what you can learn from it, how you can do better next time, and what will prevent you from making the same mistake again.

By deriving value from your failures, you’ll start to see them as opportunities for growth rather than reasons to beat yourself up.

STEP 3: DON’T JUDGE YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS WITH MORE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

One of the most dangerous traps people fall into is judging their negative thoughts with even more negativity. This creates a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. For example, feeling insecure about being insecure, or getting anxious about feeling anxious.

The key to breaking this cycle is to simply not judge negative thoughts negatively. Understand that it’s normal to experience anxiety, insecurity, and other negative emotions. Accepting these thoughts and feelings as part of the human experience can help you break free from the spiral of negativity.

Our culture’s obsession with positive thinking has created unrealistic expectations of success and happiness. It’s essential to get more comfortable with the negative aspects of life and understand that they are a necessary part of personal growth. Embracing the negative allows us to derive the positive lessons and experiences that come with it.

So it’s time to accept that negative thoughts are not only inevitable but also useful in helping us grow as individuals. By embracing failure, practicing self-forgiveness, and not judging our negative thoughts with more negativity, we can learn to navigate through life with more ease and less misery.

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Mark Manson

Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.