For introverts, thinking can be both a happy pastime and a painful purgatory.
When we’re daydreaming and fantasizing, thinking is like a vacation. Unfortunately, the holiday often ends abruptly, as a thunderstorm of dark thoughts roll in.
Thoughts that can hold introverts back include:
Fears about the future – You worry about what’s to come both in the immediate future (ie. that meeting later today) and the distant future (ie. the impact of climate change).
Regrets about the past – Have you ever found yourself feeling guilty about something you said or did years ago? Regrets big and small can create a lot of mental stress for introverts.
Self-criticism – Many introverts partake in self-criticism as if it were a sport. But there’s no trophy for taking swings at yourself. In fact, the more self-critical you are, the more it sabotages your happiness and confidence.
Self-doubt – Introverts tend to spend so much time marinating in self-doubt that our ego becomes as tender as filet mignon. Besides being mentally exhausting, self-doubt also keeps introverts stuck.
The good news is that you don’t have to believe your thoughts. After all, they aren’t really true. Speaker and author Byron Katie explains:
“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional.”
Our thoughts do not reflect the world as it really is. They are our interpretation of the world based on our past experiences and “programming”. Allow me to explain.
Your beliefs are like computer programs that were installed early in life and continue running until you update or uninstall them.
So, how do you update your thoughts so that they stop destroying your mental peace?
One simple practice you can start today is to gently note your thoughts by giving them a one-word descriptor, such as “fear”, “anger”, or “guilt”.
Next, you simply let the thought pass. I know, easier said than done. If a thought is particularly stubborn, try this…
Ask these two questions
When you have a thought that makes you feel badly, ask yourself:
Is that really true?
What else could be true?
For example, if you think that you always get rejected by women, you can ask yourself if that’s really true.
Chances are that there are plenty of women who didn’t reject you. Next, ask yourself what else could be true in this situation.
It could be true that everyone experiences rejection and it doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person.
It could be true that timing is everything and you haven’t met the right woman.
It could be true that you can be rejected and still feel good about yourself.
If you really can’t disprove the unpleasant thought, adopt a “Yes, And” mindset. Yes this might be true AND yes this better feeling thought is also true.
I go into more depth with these kinds of mental reframes and introvert confidence building techniques in my newsletter. Subscribe and receive my free Introvert Confidence Lessons.