I had lunch last week with a few fellow life coaches, and we had a serious problem: one leg of our outdoor table was about 1/2" above the others. When my ginger apple carrot juice was delivered, it splashed all over the tabletop.
So, my friend Jen stepped in. She slipped something on the ground underneath the table leg. Right there in mid-conversation, she just bravely swept in and took care of it. Her head was suddenly under the table, then she came back up and said "all better."
Only problem was... what she found to put under the table leg was a cracker. That's right, a cracker!
Within minutes, the cracker had turned to dust and the table was flopping around again, so Jen had to make a new plan: sugar packets. Voila.
So, you have kept a gratitude journal. You write down three things you're grateful for every night before going to bed.
When a negative thought, something like "you are unlovable and less attractive than Aunt Maude/Uncle Earl" pops into your head, you brush it away. You distract yourself by eating chocolate or doing a tequila shot.
The result? You feel better in the moment, but the thought keeps coming back. You get full/a sugar high/drunk. You have effectively reached for a spoon solution, one of the 57 in your chaotic silverware drawer, instead of searching for that razor-sharp knife you actually need.
So what to do with this recurring thought? Rather than ignoring it (the tool you defer to), you may have to give it the time of day.
Shed some light on it, take it out like a treasure from the back of your china cabinet or sock drawer and dust it off. Take a look at it and say, "what are you here for, and what are you trying to tell me?"
As a coach, I love walking clients through the process of examining thoughts. It can be surprising, wobbly, and deeply satisfying. Like paddling across a ripply lake, the wide sky on the horizon.