What To Do with Obsessive Thoughts
I bet we’ve all been there …
When for one reason or another we had to deal with obsessive thinking. When something bad happened and we couldn’t stop mentally replaying it.
Maybe we were unjustly fired. Or a true love betrayed us. Or a family member said something that hit a sore spot.
And we keep turning it over in our heads, repeating what we wish we’d said or still want to say … as if resolution will be found by rehashing it.
Sometimes it does help to sift through the mental mess to find a better-feeling perspective.
But sometimes we just keep looping obsessively through thoughts and visuals that torment us with every repetition.
Even when we try to stop, we can’t. It’s like we’re not in charge of what we think, and that makes it even more disturbing, because we don’t want to give this subject any more air time and yet we can’t stop.
I have to imagine that regular meditators have a leg up on this routine, since they are more practiced at managing thoughts than those of us who don’t meditate.
But there is something we can do when we can’t seem to stop obsessive thoughts …
and that’s to make them work for you.
This happened to me when a love relationship ended in a way I didn’t appreciate. I mean, I really didn’t appreciate.*
I’ll spare you the sordid details, but I found myself in a sh*tstorm of negative thoughts about this guy and how wrong he’d done me.
If someone offered me $100k to say something nice about him, I’d have said a bunch of swear words about what they could do with their stupid hundred grand. I had not a single whiff of anything remotely good, and what’s worse – I wasn’t making room for anything good because all I could do was repeat everything I was so upset about.
After several days of this routine (it might have been longer), I realized I needed to get an LOA grip. Because continuing this pattern was going to lead to more things that I wouldn’t like either.
So I did the only thing I could do … and that was to use every single complaint I had about this guy as a lead-in to what my next guy would be.
Because conscious creators know how this works. Whenever we experience the high contrast of what we don’t want, it automatically inspires new desires (or stronger desires) of what we do want.
So this blankety-blank-blank jerk was actually helping to create someone as fabulous as he was dastardly.
And that thought made me feel better.
To think that this jerkoff would be the reason my next guy was so amazing – that seemed like sweet justice. I could get on board with that.
So for every complaint I had about the former guy, I made a list item about the fabulous new guy.
And every time I started the routine of complaining about what I hated about the old guy, I used it as a chance to run through my list of the new guy.
You know what that meant, right?
It meant my next guy was getting a lot of air time in my head. And conscious creators know what that means! (Read that sentence again in my sing song voice! Things are about to get delicious!)
Pretty soon, I didn’t even have to finish my whole bitch session of the old guy to start enjoying thoughts of my new guy. As soon as I started to hear myself thinking, “I can’t believe that blankety blank jerk thought he could blankety blank …” I’d take a pause, shake it off, and switch the channel over to “what I love about the new guy.”
The new guy became a joy to contemplate! I made it easy to tune into him via a short list of one-word qualities that I quickly memorized. He was:
By the time I finished my list of what my next guy would be, I wasn’t minding the old one so much. Funny how that works, right? Once we know we’re going to be happy again, we kind of sort of drop old grudges and want everyone else to be happy, too.
Thoughts of the next guy helped draw my obsessive attention off of what I didn’t want and onto what I did want.
So every time my brain wanted to go back to the bad thing, it just became a cue to conjure up the good thing.
That’s how I made those obsessive thoughts work for me.
Care to guess what happened?
Once I dialed off of the tirade of bad vibes and consistently plugged into good ones, three things unfolded:
- the old guy was able to explain how badly I misunderstood things
- we saw clear to reclaim a genuine friendship (still friends to this day), and
- a new guy showed up that took my breath away in all the best ways.
New guy was an extremely welcome relief to what I’d been torturing myself with for those couple weeks, and his fabulousness delighted even me, who is used to fabulous surprises from Universe.
So the next time you feel battered by bad thoughts on repeat, remember this as a potential way to put them to good work.
Just think on whatever represents the opposite of those bad thoughts, and tune in there each time the old ones rear their ugly head. It won’t take long before you have good momentum going toward a preferred outcome.
If you’ve got a tip to share about managing obsessive thoughts, please share!
* understatement of the year