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Reframe Negative Thinking by Asking Questions


Sometimes I use my own misery to propel myself into a different way of thinking. I ask myself a question, depending on the situation. For example, let’s say I am feeling insecure (it happens) about something. Maybe it is my abilities. I might start judging myself based on the lack of comments and encouragement from other people. No one ever said exactly what I thought I needed to hear.

So, I will ask myself a question like…

  • Do I tell other people when they do an exceptional job?
  • Do I complement people on their abilities or do I just take them for granted?
  • Do I think about other people long enough to encourage them?

Usually, I realize I come up short as well. And I try, at least for awhile, to make more of an effort to pay attention to others and hand out some encouragement. Asking myself this question makes me realize that people really do need encouragement. I may not be able to control how much I get, but I can do something about how much I give.

Let’s look at a different scenario. Perhaps you feel unloved and unappreciated.  Your husband doesn’t pay attention to you anymore. He hardly notices when you are in the room, much less what you are wearing or saying, etc. When he asks about your day, if he asks, you can tell he doesn’t really care. He is preoccupied.

So, I could ask myself a question like…

  • Do I really listen to your husband?
  • Do I notice when he needs extra attention, or do I just want him to get over his problems so he can help me?
  • Do I tell him what I appreciate about him?
  • Do I notice what he is wearing?

You could be angry that he doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved, or you could decide to start deliberately loving him the way you think he wants to be loved. It will require you to go out of your way, and to accept that he is different from you and probably doesn’t want the same things you do. But it is an interesting experiment, and the rewards are not just for your husband. You become a more thoughtful person. You expand your mind. You become calmer. You realize you have more power than you thought you did. And all because you asked yourself a question.