Hey guys, I recently made an interesting discovery about how my automatic negative thoughts can sometimes present themselves to me, and I thought I would share it with you all in case one of you is in a similar boat.
I have a pretty wild imagination overall, and often I imagine conversations with people I know - whether they’re conversations I’ve had in the past, or ones I may have in the future, and I role-play them in my brain. Sometimes if I’m faced with a problem or challenge, I’ve often imagined to myself “what would my business mentor say?” or “What would my friend Charlie tell me?” and knowing what I know about them, their skill sets, knowledge and personalities, I’ve often figured out solutions to certain problems on my own.
Sometimes I imagine conversations between other people as well, be it 2 people I know, or someone I know with someone I haven’t met yet, or 2 total strangers. Sometimes these imaginary conversations are positive or neutral, but sometimes they’re negative. “What’s up with that guy?” “I don’t know, he seems weird and not in a good way” “He seems like he could be cool, but he’s really shy. Maybe he’s just not confident in himself?” “He’s probably really insecure - he’s got some growing up to do.” “How is it that he’s a teacher, and not comfortable with talking to new people? What is he, retarded?”
You get the idea.
I had this the other night actually, on the way back from a concert. I met up with a girl I was hanging out with a few days prior (and had met a few weeks before), where we both like the same type of music. She wasn’t planning on seeing that show, but decided to go when I texted her a few hours before.
We had a positive time together overall, but I had a hard time steering the interaction to anything beyond friendship. I’m not beating myself up over it, or putting too much pressure on myself with it, as I’m sort of getting over someone else, and I’m not super serious about this particular person since she’s only visiting Toronto for a few months. We’re still planning on hanging out more regardless.
Anyways, on the subway ride home, I imagined a negative conversation between her and her friends I’ve never met - “What’s up with him? I like him, why won’t he kiss me? Does he not like me?” “I don’t think it’s you - who is this dude anyways? Maybe he has no confidence” “Is he gay?” “Either that or he’s just a f**king pussy”
Then I realized that the conversation wasn’t actually happening, wasn’t true, was automatic, negative, and was trying to just put me down.
Overall I feel great right now. It’s awesome having made this discovery, because now I can pay attention to another way the ANTs try to bring me down.
Clever little buggers, aren’t they?