Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Google Plus Connect on YouTube

5 Steps to Releasing Negativity

September 17, 2012 1 Comment

I spent so many years living a beautiful exterior life and miserable interior life.  I had all of the things a woman could dream of:  a wonderful husband, healthy children, a high paying job, a roof over my head, disposable income to travel the world, and more.  So, why the heck was I unhappy?  I shared about my lifelong interior struggles at length in my Freedom from Ashes post, but today I was compelled to share a bit more about what was going on in my head throughout my life, and how I was able to release it.

From the time I was about 8 years old until earlier this year, my self-talk sounded something like:  “You’re not good enough”, “You’re not pretty enough”, “You’re not smart enough”, “You need to work harder”, “You’re not as good as _____”, “I can’t believe you did that”, “You don’t do enough around the house”, “You’re not successful enough”, “Am I enough for him”, “What are people going to think?”.  I could go on and on.

My thoughts about other people weren’t any better.  They sounded something like:  “I can’t believe they did that”, “She needs to get a life”, “She is such an attention seeker”, “They are so annoying”, “I hate _____”, “He/She is such a hypocrite”, “It’s all their fault”, “They can’t do anything right”.  Once again, I could go on and on.  I was a 24/7 judgment and blame machine.

I used to think I was alone in thinking about myself like this.  I thought most people were totally happy with themselves, and I was one of few who felt trapped by the desire to be perfect and look good in the eyes of others.  In terms of my judgment of other people, I had never stepped back to observe it.  It was a mental habit that was fueled further by the media and many of the people around me.  A habit that I had no idea was keeping me trapped in the cycle of judgment.  That is, until I began being mindful of my thoughts.

I sprung into spiritual development in January of this year, when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder.  I was determined to get to the root of what was causing the insanity that was my mind, and to reverse it once and for all.  And, yes, I was deliberate about my use of the word insanity.  As the popular saying goes, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  How could I expect to experience happiness and peace if my thoughts were 90% negative and judgmental of myself and others?  It’s impossible.  No wonder I wasn’t happy.

Aside from beginning A Course in Miracles again, one of the most helpful things I did to release the negative thoughts was an activity from Rev. Jennifer Hadley’s spiritual boot camp, which I describe below.  Rev. Jennifer said, “How long do you want to hold on to your negativity? Set a date to release it!”  I love that.  She gave me just the “kick in the butt” I needed to let it go!

“The judger always feels judged. The lover always feels beloved.” ~Rev. Jennifer Hadley

See below for the 5 steps that helped me most in releasing negativity in my life (thanks again to Rev. Jennifer!).  They sound so simple, but it’s amazing how unconscious we can be about the effect our thoughts have on our internal and external experience.  This made ALL the difference in replacing my regular experience of frustration and upset with a regular experience of peace and love in a very short amount of time.  I pray that it helps others struggling with reoccurring negative thoughts as well.

5 Steps to Releasing Negativity

1.  Observe your thoughts

Set a time period to observe your thoughts and write down the ones that come up the most.  Include thoughts about yourself as well as thoughts about others.  I suggest doing this for a minimum of 7 days (longer is even better – they say it takes between 21 – 28 days to form a habit).  You can do this throughout the day, but I also recommend setting aside some quiet reflection/meditation time daily for this.

2.  Decide which thoughts are not contributing to your peace

Spend some time reviewing the list of your most frequent thoughts and put a circle around the ones are not contributing to your peace of mind and/or peaceful interactions with others.  Write these on a water bottle or a balloon – or some other item that will allow you to release it when the time comes.  To ensure it will fit on the bottle/balloon, I suggest using broad categories.  For example, my list included things like:  self-hatred, blame, judgment, guilt, uncertainty, shame, and gossip. (I used a water bottle in the boot camp, but used balloon for a fear exercise at a women’s retreat a few years ago – both work great!)

3.  Affirmative prayer

Take each negative thought on your list and create an affirmation that you can use whenever these thoughts arise.  For example, one of my negative thought patterns was “unworthiness” and the affirmation I created was, “I am as God created me.  All the gifts of God are mine.”  In addition to the list of affirmations, I began to practice affirmative prayer.  Instead of praying to an external God to fix something, I prayed to the indwelling presence of God (the Holy Spirit) and called forth all the qualities of the Spirit that are my natural state of being (joy, peace, kindness, love, gentleness, etc.).  I used my affirmations during prayer time to re-align with the truth about myself and others.  In addition, as a student of A Course in Miracles, I find the prayer below to be incredibly helpful when I’m feeling out of alignment with Spirit!

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.” 

~A Course in Miracles (T-5.VII.6.7-11)

4.  Set a release date

As Rev. Jennifer challenged my boot camp, “How long are you willing to hold on to your negative thoughts?”  Set your own timeline.  For me, after one month I felt a dramatic shift.  After about two months, I could catch myself mid-sentence when I was about to say something negative and would re-direct myself.  Now, it has been about 6 months and I am a new woman.  (that just randomly reminded me of the song “I’ve Got a New Attitude” by Patti LaBelle, which can also lift your spirits :-))

5.  Let it go!

I have to admit, I didn’t take Rev. Jennifer’s advice and set a date at first, so I kept letting it linger and falling in and out of my old ways of thinking for a while.  There is something about the ritual of releasing all of the negativity (setting the balloon free or pouring out the water) that really gives wings to the intention for living in peace and love – “living in the light”.  Do I slip up from time to time?  Absolutely.  When I do, I forgive myself and get right back in the game.

I was going to end this here, but I just got an internal nudge telling me that someone is asking, “What if everyone around me is negative?  How can I get everyone else to stop being so negative so that I can feel peaceful?”   This is a question I really struggled with when I first started actively focusing on “living in the light”.  It answered itself when I completed the process above.  I’m truly grateful for the peace that I am now experiencing despite the day-to-day life circumstances.  Whenever I have moments of upset, I can get out of them in less than a day (whereas before it would have taken days, weeks, months, or years for me to let it go!).  Experiencing peace has nothing to do with external circumstances and everything to do with internal response.  Try it.  You won’t be disappointed!  I’d love to hear your stories!

 Keep Shining!


Kandace Jones

Filed in: Prayer

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!