You are being sabotaged, attacked, and undermined. Looted and robbed without even realizing it. Stolen from and held hostage by hostile pirates.
This happens while you’re asleep and every waking moment of the day. Unfortunately, you don’t realize that this is even occurring. Your mental pirates in the form of self-sabotaging thoughts show up when you want to take on a challenging task, try something new or go after what you really want in life.
When you’re about to do something you’ve never done before, your mental pirates will distract you with funny Youtube videos and online Tedtalks. Your mental pirates are specialists at distractions, obstacles and sabotage. They are masters at undermining your beliefs, amplifying your fears and putting you on edge. What do you do when your mental pirates are holding you hostage and looting your thoughts?
Here are 7 steps to free your mind from negativity, fear and self-doubt:
1. Create time to negotiate with the pirates
You don’t know that your mind is holding you hostage because it being put to it’s maximum use daily. Your mind is always on, flipping from the past to the future. It is dreaming, fantasizing, wishing, comparing and judging. It is analyzing, questioning, creating and problem-solving. The chatter is non-stop.
Since your mind is so busy all day, you have no time to deal with the pirates that are trying to loot your mind of it’s most precious thoughts. If you slow down a bit, like water in the pond, your mind will rest. You need create time and get less busy with your life to confront and negotiate with the pirates.
2. Recognize your pirates for who they are
Yes, there is a Captain Kidd and Calico Jack running wild in your mind looting every precious resource they can get their hands on. Similar to cancers or bacteria that you can’t see, your mind is flooded with these pirates who are causing havoc in your mind.
Every disempowering, negative, and fearful thought you have stems from the mind yet all your life, you’ve been assuming this was friendly fire. Nope, this is the enemy. Step 2 is knowing that you are battling a powerful and wily enemy. Recognize the pirates for who they are and to be aware that these thoughts are not on your side.
“Be a force of love as often as you can and turn away negative thoughts whenever you feel them surface.” – Wayne Dyer
3. Study their ways
Instead of being oblivious to the mind’s behavior, get curious about it’s ways. Don’t listen to every thought. Instead, study every thought. Start examining the sabotaging thoughts. What triggers the thoughts that are popping into your mind? How does that affect your behavior?
Write down thoughts through a journaling exercise so you can see your thoughts on paper. Speak out your thoughts to a counselor or friend so you can put it out there to be looked at. Look for frequency of certain thoughts, the patterns behind those thoughts and how your thoughts affect your life. Be extra aware of malicious, destructive and self-defeating thoughts.
4. Get clear on their motivations
Get clear on what these thoughts are saying. What do your thoughts not want you to do? What are these thoughts steering you clear of? What fears are they invoking? How are they discouraging you? How are they holding you back?
What is the underlying motivations of these thoughts? What do they really want to do you instead? Get crystal clear on what’s behind each of these negative thoughts. Write out the thoughts you’re having and what’s the motivation behind these thoughts.
5. Prove them wrong with a cannonball of evidence
You no longer have to be an innocent hostage to these looting pirates. You do not have to be ransacked by these thoughts that are having a field day.
When you hear thoughts that say you’re not worthy, you’re not qualified or you’re not enough, challenge them with contrary evidence. When a thought says you don’t have enough experience, counter that thought with all the experience that you do have.
When you have a thought that says you’re not as good as your buddy at parenting, provide contrary evidence. When you have thoughts that say you’re not ready to start on this project, provide evidence of how you’ve been preparing yourself for this project your entire life.
Build up a cannonball of evidence to counter these thoughts. The pirates are fast, furious and explosive. To counter these dangerous characters, you must come up with many reasons that each thought is false and inaccurate. Don’t hold back. Launch the cannons with plenty of contrary evidence.
6. Make them walk the plank
Remind these thought-pirates that you’re not going to put up with them. You’re going to overwhelm them with positivity, accurate information and affirmative thoughts to counter their behavior. You’re going to battle them with positive beliefs.
You are no longer going to put up with them by default, by being busy or being passive. Every time they come on board, you’re going to go after them. You’re going to call them out, have them arrested and make them walk the plank. You’re putting up a sign that says, “all trespassers will be prosecuted” and “pirates not welcome here”.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
7. Train your crew
You are going to work on a mindfulness, journaling or meditation practice to watch your mind. So much havoc can happen in your mind and does because you’re not aware of the mental pirates getting on board.
You are the master of your vessel. You become more forceful in removing pirates by becoming aware of them, watching their behavior and ejecting them promptly. This is a continuous practice that requires you to pay attention to your mind.
You do not have to passively accept the hostile thoughts that are being generated that are sabotaging your life. You can do something about them and continuously eject and reject them. Train your mind to be a pruner, fighter and defender of your ship.
Ensure smooth sailing by daily training of the mind. Be vigilant. You may kick the pirates off now but they are wieldy and will spend minutes and hours trying to find another way to get on board.
How are you freeing yourself from the mind pirates? Leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com