The other day I read a story about “the nightshade plant.” At first glance, this plant seems harmless with it’s reddish, bell-shaped flowers and shiny-coated black berries. Sounds harmless, right? Not so. This plant is actually considered a toxic, poisonous A-Lister plant… AKA “devil’s berries,” “death cherries,” and “devil’s herb.”
And now for the blog:
What’s the core thought in your NEGATIVE THINKING? Take a moment and consider one deep wound or insecurity that can unexpectedly show up in your life (sometimes as a barely audible whisper and sometimes as an ear-piercing scream). Is that wound an emotional injury from a relationship that didn’t work out or a team you didn’t make? We all get excluded but sometimes it leaves an injury that hasn’t healed. Do you feel insecure about your appearance or abilities? Many of us have that one overpowering negative thought that contaminates how we see ourselves. Do not continue reading until you’ve labeled it… sit with it for just a moment.
What is it? Say it out loud.
Now, the best advice I can give to overcoming this toxic insecurity is to truly acknowledge HOW this (perceived) negative idea about yourself blocks you in your life. Think of it as a mental poison. Most of us will go to extreme measures to avoid danger that approaches us from the outside. We fear plants in the wild that might be poisonous, avoid aggressive dogs, and shy away from suspicious people in dark spaces. So why is it that we don’t take the same precautions to protect ourselves from danger on the inside? Newsflash: Your negative thoughts about not being lovable are toxic. Negative thoughts damage us from the inside out. Think about it.
Now back to the Nightshade plant. Since you’ve learned it’s poisonous, my guess is that you’d want to learn more about how to stay away from it. It’s danger that you could ingest from the outside in.
Now think about the negative thought that you identified at the beginning of the blog. Doesn’t it seem helpful to understand THAT poison in order to stay away from it. It’s danger that exists from the inside out.
Negative self-talk is subtle yet extremely dangerous to most aspects of our lives. Knowing that it’s poisonous should stop you from engaging in that practice in the same way you’d never eat a berry from the Nightshade plant after discovering it’s poisonous.
Be kind to YOU and remember that we are usually our worst critics.
Try replacing your negative thoughts with this one instead, “Just because I think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.”
by Alison Conner, Ph.D.
Dr. Alison Conner is a Psychologist in Fresno, California who specializes in behavioral and mental health for teen and young adult girls. She is a member of our Expert Panel and provides consultation and content in the area of mental health, particularly the intersection of mental health, healthy relationships, and healthy sexual development.