I call a thought “sticky” when it just seems to keep coming back again and again, no matter how often I turn my attention away from it, or try to re-frame it in love.
This can apply to any sort of thought.
“Does he/she really love me?”
“Is she cheating on me?”
“Will we be together forever?”
“I can’t stand to be around her.”
“I hope he doesn’t ask me to help him again.”
Food/Body Image thoughts:
“I’m not strong enough.”
“I’m not tall enough.”
“My body type is all wrong.”
“Everything I eat goes straight to my hips.”
“I have a slow metabolism.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“She’s so much better than me.”
“Everyone is going to hate me if I do that.”
“I could never do that. I’m not brave enough to face the naysayers.”
“Will I have enough to pay the bills?”
“What happens if I lose my job?”
“I can’t afford for anything to go wrong this month.”
“It seems like just when I get ahead, something happens and my savings is gone.”
Here’s what’s typically going on behind these “sticky” thoughts that’s helping make them sticky:
- We have a lot of emotion in this thought. Emotion creates an incredible pattern of association with the thought. When the thought comes, we don’t recognize the thought itself, we go straight into feeling the way that thought has made us feel in the past. So when we think, “I can’t afford that,” we immediately begin feeling the fear of losing what’s we value because we don’t have enough money.
- We have a lot of emotion about this thought. I used to fall in to pretty deep “thought spirals” of feeling bad, then feeling bad that I felt bad, then getting angry with myself for not being a better, more positive person, then berating myself for not just “pulling myself out of it.” When you feel bad about the fact that you’re having a thought, you’re practically marrying it – you’re going to be together for a long time.
- We’re also telling the story of “this thought keeps coming back.” When I first noticed this, it blew my mind! I was thinking a negative thought, then I was frustrated by the story that “that thought keeps coming back! Ugh! When will it be gone forever! This isn’t working!” Gently, the part of me (Presence) that watches those thoughts noticed that this was just another story. Whether it’s true right now or not, continuing to tell the story to yourself or anyone else will make it true.
How to Un-Stick Icky Thoughts:
1. Change how you feel about the thought. This is so simple in theory, but it’s where many of us get hung up. How, exactly, should I feel good about the fact that I wonder if my partner is cheating on me? How should I feel good about the fact that I make less than I spend, and the debt collectors are calling? How should I feel good about my body when I can look in the mirror and see 1,001 reasons to be even more upset about it?
To begin to change your feeling, you need to elevate your thinking to new context. All our thoughts are in context to something else. The thought “I’m worried about money” implies that without money, something bad can happen to you. Or, “What if he leaves me?” implies that you would be a lesser person if he left. In the greater context, we always have exactly what we need.
We may have to die to our ego a bit to see the whole context. The ego thinks that this problem, issue, life is all we have. . In reality, when you look at the bigger picture (the greater context) we can’t “lose” anything. All we have is our Consciousness- when we die we won’t even have our thoughts and fears! Just our Oneness. When we realize that we are always okay because of who we truly are- divine beings – those fears have no more hold on us because our egos are shut down.
Find the Love. When you’re afraid of something, you’re not loving it. There is no reason not to love everything that comes your way, because everything has a divine purpose. What we resist, persists and what we are afraid of, we don’t understand well enough to love yet. Ask yourself, “What can I love about this situation?” For me, this was transformative – “What can I love about not being able to pay this bill?” Well, I love that I’m motivated to do something to change my finances. I love that I have the choice to pay this or something else. I love that I can see my attitude of lack so clearly now and begin to change it! If I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t fix it, so hooray!
Remember that feeling bad brings more negativity, and more cause for feeling bad. It really does. When you feel bad about your body, you start a pain spiral that only ends in you having more reasons to feel bad about your body. Begin to feel good about your body now. What can you love about your body? What can you appreciate? I promise, loving your body will not cause you to “lose control” and “balloon out” or lay on the couch all day. Loving your body will help you see it for the incredible, living essence it is, and you’ll begin to develop a relationship with it, honoring its needs and listening to its loves just like you would a friend. If your experience is like mine, you’ll find yourself moving more and eating things that make your body feel good – because you want to.
Turn it around. For the best way to do this, visit the work of Byron Katie. What I typically do is take the exact opposite of the thought and meditate on that for a moment. “I have a fast metabolism. I burn everything I eat!” “I have more than enough to pay my bills and I always have money left over each month!” “I love being in a relationship with him and I trust him completely.” Remember- the Universe doesn’t care what you’re putting in to it- it will begin to make a positive thought true just as fast as a negative one. Once you begin to turn around your thoughts, you’ll be truly astounded at how fast your life changes, too!
“Capture the feeling associated with your realized wish by assuming the feeling that would be yours were you already in possession of the thing you desire, and your wish will objectify itself.” -Neville Goddard
2. Get excited about the fact that you’re changing the thought. We all used to be trapped by these thoughts, and not even realize we were thinking them! It is phenomenal how far we’ve come in this process. I am blown away by the cycles of pain I used to be in that I didn’t even realize I could get out of. Now, I get so excited when I find a new thought to change, because I know I’m going to experience freedom in that area and a profound life change. I love that!
3. Tell the story that your thoughts are more positive and present now. At first, I was afraid to tell anyone that my thoughts had changed, because I thought they might not believe me. Then I stopped thinking THAT thought! (By the way? What other people think of you is none of your business.)
When you tell a new story, you make that story true for you and you reinforce it over and over. This is very different from lying, which is saying something you know is not true. By telling people, “I don’t think that way anymore,” I make it true moment by moment, by not thinking in those old ways! I’m not bringing that old stuff into the present (and creating a negative future) – I’m creating the life I want now.
The bottom line is: when you’re changing your thoughts, have fun with it. Be grateful you have the ability to change your thoughts. Be grateful you have that power! You are the master thinker, and you get to decide what your brain thinks. Own that power and giggle, because you’re creating the life you’ve always wanted!