In the cool of the day, we sat sipping wine, listening to quiet music, enjoying our charcuterie board. It was date night and we were off to a good start. In the midst of the conversation my chest began to tighten. I immediately felt defensive and started to withdraw. Walls of protection started going up around my heart. I knew an invasion of ANTS was about to descend on our beautiful afternoon. I couldn't catch them in time, the unwanted ANTS were there again.
SUDDENLY as if out of nowhere, they are everywhere.
I have struggled with ANTS my whole life. Apparently ANTS are normal. Science indicates that 80% of our daily thoughts are negative and they are there to protect us, keep us from danger, and recognize threats.
Unfortunately, we can have 'too much' of a good thing. ANTS can become habitual and keep us in a downward spiral. We might be able to handle one or two of these negative thoughts, but oftentimes, they come in troops and rob us of enjoyment.
They sound like voices in your head
consistently telling you negative things
about yourself, your situation, and others?
A major life change, like marriage, can cause dormant ANTS to resurface, which has been my experience the last few years. Getting married began to shine the spotlight on some old negative thoughts.
These thoughts were familiar, but they had been dormant for years: that is, until we started messing with the structure of the home, which is what marriage or any other major life-transition will do.
Years ago, as a single mom raising 4 children, I had to have some windows repaired on our home. As the handyman began the replacement process, he discovered not only wood-rot, but a nest of carpenter ants that had made their home in the hidden recesses of our home, eating away at the structure.
I felt like a nest of carpenter ants had been discovered in the framework of my own heart. It was time to get busy and do something about these unwanted pests that were silently destroying my joy.
Following are 3 easy steps to these UNWANTED ANTS.
1 - See Them
Until you take time to recognize these little nagging critters,
you cannot do anything about them.
Sometimes these thoughts can be so overwhelming and powerful, we want to run and hide, or busy ourselves doing other things in hopes they will go away.
When we discovered the nest of carpenter ants, I wanted to just cover them back up and pretend they weren't there. To deal with them would involve money, a disruption to our home, and confronting fear (another ANT). What if the problem was BIGGER, more nests, more money, more time, more disruption.
You have to be brave enough to take the time to look at these negative thoughts.
When you begin to RECOGNIZE the invasion of ANTS, or even the one or two that are descending on your picnic, it's a WIN.
Remember ANTS are
Make you feel bad
Hinder you from living in joy
2 - Name Them
Connecting with the emotions behind the negative thoughts can be valuable in ridding ourselves of the paralyzing ANTS.
We typically believe we have to put aside our emotions to make change happen. We falsely believe joy is on the other side of bottling up our emotions.
But research shows that this approach sabotages the change we want in life. Emotions are tools to help us navigate the world and learn from it. When we bottle them up and push through, they will leak out somewhere. We end up self-sabotaging and making change harder.
Learn to be honest and transparent and identify the emotion. We cannot change something that we are denying exists.
Bringing the dark, dingy, discouraging thought to the light is a powerful way to begin ridding yourself of the ANT, but allowing yourself to identify the actual feeling that the ANT attaches to further empowers you to find freedom from these nuisances.
3 - Kill Them
There are numerous ways to get rid of an ANT invasion. You don't have to try them all at once, choose one to work on.
Looking at something from a different perspective is a great way to discover truth.
After identifying and naming the thought and emotion, take time to look at it through a positive light, as a learning or growth experience.
Coach yourself through by asking questions.
How is this thought serving me?
What is true about this thought?
How would someone else see this?
What is the evidence that supports this thought?
Replace the negative thought with a positive one.
Instead of thinking, "No one understands me," try acknowledging a truth about yourself such as, "I see things different than others, that is a gift. The world needs my unique perspective."
Write them down. Get them out in the open, shine the light on these hidden thoughts that torment you.
You might see patterns.
You can discover what is triggering them.
You may learn your ANTS are just variations of one or two themes, which can be less overwhelming.
YES, You Can Do It
Do you hear voices in your head consistently telling you negative things about yourself, your situation and others?
You can change these automatic recordings.
As a Strength's Champion Certified Women's Coach, I empower women to live, lead, and love from a place of divine satisfaction. I help women
DISCOVER the truth of who they are (and uncover those negative patterns of thought and behavior.
DEFINE the opportunities and overcome the obstacles.
DEVELOP their unique roadmap to move them in the direction they want to go, refocusing on the beauty of the journey set before them.
Are you tired of the pesky ANTS invading your life?
Schedule an introductory call to learn how coaching can help you get rid of the ANTS in your life.