The power of our thoughts simply cannot be understated — thoughts begin every action we initiate. Our thoughts are how we communicate with ourselves about the world around us. Our thoughts also provide us with insight into how we see ourselves.
When facing any challenge, whether a long hike up a mountain or recovery from substance abuse, we may hear our self-doubt louder than any external voice cheering us on. Self-doubt can become a toxic internal monologue. I’m not good enough. I cannot do this. This is too hard for me. I give up. To keep going you have to trick your mind into believing the opposite. One effective way to do that is to change the negative voice within yourself.
British philosopher James Allen believed that what you think becomes who you are. If you change your thoughts, you can change your life. How many times a day do you have a negative thought about yourself? What does this voice sound like and how can you change it? Changing the voice within from a negative to a positive one may require a lot of work — however, this work should pay off for you during your recovery journey.
How can you change a negative thought to a positive one? First, write out some of your negative thoughts and self-doubts. For example, one common negative thought is “This is too hard, I can’t do it!” When we try to “think” this negative thought away, it does not disappear — in fact, the more we try not to think of something, the more we end up reinforcing that thought. We have to work at replacing the thought with an empowering thought instead.
Let’s start rephrasing by removing “not” from the contraction “can’t.” So, now we have “This is too hard, I can do it!” This phrase is already becoming more positive — however, we can add even more empowering language to the first part (“This is too hard”). What does it mean when something is too hard? Generally, this phrase refers to something challenging. Challenges are great, and they help us to grow in our recovery. Learn to embrace and accept the challenge. Change “this is too hard” to “this is challenging.”
Now, our phrase is “This is challenging, I can do it!” Let’s now join the two phrases like this: “This is challenging AND I can do it!” Finally, let’s look at some empowering, affirmative words that we can add — words like absolutely, positively, or definitely. “This is challenging and I can ABSOLUTELY do it!” Say the two phrases aloud and think about how each one makes you feel:
“This is too hard, I can’t do it!”
“This is challenging and I can absolutely do it!”
Now sit with your feelings for a moment. Do you notice a difference in your mindset when saying one over the other? What feelings do you experience?
In the early stages of recovery, our heads are often full of self-doubt and negative thoughts. Using these techniques, you can rewrite your self-doubts into positive and empowering phrases — and then reap the benefits.
Positive self-talk is a skill and a process. No one is born with this ability; even the most uplifting people need to work on this skill daily! But by simply changing your self-doubt into positive language, you can start to build a better relationship with yourself and begin to develop a more positive outlook. Try to pay attention to the kinds of thoughts you have throughout the day, especially when doing something unfamiliar or difficult. Your thoughts can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. By changing your thoughts with empowering language, you can use them to help build your resilience. When you hear self-doubt creeping its way back in, rework the thought into an empowering phrase that will serve you instead of one that works against you.
Here are a few more tips to help you improve your inner monologue and overcome self-doubt:
Overcoming feelings of self-doubt is part of the recovery process. You may be challenged to try new therapeutic approaches or “put yourself out there” for therapists and other forms of peer support. Use positive self-talk to overcome self-doubt and use the voice within to push you through the process of recovery.
Thoughts are powerful things. Your inner voice can be your best friend or your worst enemy. For those suffering with addiction, negative thoughts can be a serious barrier to progress. Located in Ft. Myers, Florida, Kimberly Center offers a holistic approach to addiction and mental health management. We welcome men and women who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. The Kimberly Center offers a variety of treatment services to appeal to your individual needs and will work with you to determine the best methods to treat your condition and ensure your well-being. Our experienced staff will help you on your journey to a healthier, happier and more productive life, free from substance dependence and abuse and destructive behaviors. We will help you learn to believe in yourself again and prepare you for a life without addiction. We’ll show you how to change your life. Call us today at (855)-452-3683.