Self-Awareness: What are your Dominant Negative Thought patterns?


I am currently reading, Inyanla Vanzant’s recent book, Get Over It: Prayers and Affirmations For Healing the Hard Stuff, and found inspiration to take out some time to figure out the core beliefs that are hurting and hindering me.  In this book, Vanzant shares deep insight into our negative thought patterns (core beliefs). This process is often unconscious: meaning many of us are unaware of the core belief, whether positive or negative. These core beliefs are deeply embedded in our psyche and when triggered by a shared memory or feeling it influences our bad behaviors and choices.

Core beliefs develop as early as infancy and are linked to negative or positive outcomes.  Because most humans spend more time focusing on the adverse consequences (because of its pain center), we develop dominant negative thought patterns that keep us stagnant and are the basis of our self-fulfilling prophecies coming true. If at your core you believe that you are unworthy, you will draw circumstances into your life that manifest and prove your sense of unworthiness.

Vanzant used a powerful example of a woman who developed the core belief that she was “not important” in her childhood. Her belief was created by her parents who rarely listened to her but listened to her brother. And she reinforced this belief in her adult interactions by not voicing her opinion to people in positions of authority. While reading this chapter, I realized that I have the same core belief, except I’m often intimidated by women of influence rather than men.

In my life, a large family muddled my voice. It also didn’t help that there was an age gap between myself and my siblings. I grew up in a household of nine, both parents and six siblings. The oldest (two brothers, two sisters) were four to eight years older than me; the youngest (twins), four years younger.  Although I grew up in a large family, I often felt as if I was the only child. Most of my preschool days were spent sitting outside of my older sisters’ bedroom door begging them to let me come in to play with them. As I got older and more alert, I noticed that I would get the hand me downs, while my younger siblings got brand new gifts. One year they got store-bought bicycles, while I had a second-hand bicycle.  In hindsight, I’m sure my mother wasn’t able to find three second-hand bikes, but then, it made me feel like nothing. To add more fuel to the fire, my father later brought my step sisters brand-new bikes. So now that I’m thinking about it, I felt as if I didn’t have a voice or a place in my family.

In my adulthood, this core belief played out in many of my life choices. I had developed a victim mentality that stagnated my growth in a myriad of ways. Getting negative attention was second nature to me–It was an ingrained and learned behavior that I developed over the years. My hard-working mother only had time to discuss the problems, and she didn’t play when it came to our education. So, I’d do something wrong at school or get a bad grade, get in trouble, and for that short amount of time I was visible.  My siblings comforted me, my father spoke to me, and my mother whooped me. I would carry on like this for years before realizing that I was creating the drama in my life, not the people surrounding me.  This realization became the start of my journey towards self-enlightenment, but I would still have many more miles to travel in getting to a constant state of peace in my life.  Reading Get Over It is part of that journey.

There a few things I would like for my readers to take away from this article:

  1. Buy Inyanla Vanzant’s book. The insight and wisdom you will find within this text will help you heal the hard stuff at its core. We all have self-fulfilling prophesies to uphold. Make your foretelling one that benefits, not harm you.  Speak truth and purpose into your life.
  2. The next time you experience an uncomfortable, negative or anxious feeling, listen to your inner critic. Our inner critic tells us the core by associating it with the slight you felt at the time. After you identify the negative thought pattern, take action to silence it by challenging its hold on your life.
  3. Remember these four things and recite them to yourself daily; I am important; I am worthy, I am strong, and I am good enough, regardless of what the naysayers (including yourself) say. Our experiences shape us and provide us with the tools needed to learn from life. Whenever your emotions irrationally take hold, ask yourself why does this bother me so much?
  4. Every interaction, situation or circumstance is a lesson in what I like to call the life class. But just like any class, you have to take the prerequisites. Defining your negative thought patterns is the prerequisite for mastering positive thinking. Core classes are always harder and require more work because the concepts are new to us. All you need to is take out the time and like Vanzant often says, “do the work.”

Best wishes to you all for a happier, healthier and more peaceful life.

Q: What are your Dominant Negative Thought patterns? Can you link them to a specific incident in your life where they developed?

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