How To Rewire Your Brain & Stop Unwanted, Intrusive Thoughts In Their Tracks

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How To Stop Intrusive Thoughts, End Negative Self-Talk & Improve Low Self-Esteem That Stems From Your Childhood

When you're struggling with self-doubt, negativity and low self-esteem, figuring out how to stop intrusive thoughts that are keeping you down can feel impossible, especially if you have a dialogue of negative self-talk constantly running through your head, telling you things like:

  • “You're not good enough!”
  • “You're so stupid!”
  • “What is wrong with you?”
  • “Nobody cares about you!”
  • “You don’t matter!”

Painful as it sounds, this is how you may consciously or unconsciously talk to yourself all day long. And all night, too, for that matter.

Even though you may not consciously be aware of this negative self-talk and self-esteem destroying dialogue, these types of unwanted, intrusive thoughts are an ongoing stream of madness running through your head — an ongoing intrusive, unconscious, unquestioned, unedited stream of negative thinking, without a clear way to get out. It stinks!

It’s impossible to be happy and learn how to love yourself when you live under this rude regime that dictates how you feel, act and think, and leaves very little space for happiness.

These negative, obsessive thoughts are so sticky and close to home that you don’t have the bandwidth to even question them; yet, they ruin your life, rule your mood, and rob your joy.

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But enough about the madness! It's more important to understand how to stop intrusive thoughts altogether, right?

Unfortunately, you can’t really "get away" from them, nor "get rid of them." Sorry! But don’t despair — you can transform your inner dialogue and, as a result, get away from your self-inflicted negativity and improve your low self-esteem, too.

Why do you have these intrusive thoughts and practice negative-self talk in the first place?

Often, a big reason you're bombarded by this negative thinking is that something happened to you earlier in life that you weren't able to "emotionally digest", often in childhood.

Let’s say that you were born into a loving family. As you now know, things happen in life that you can’t always control. (And if you were born into a not-so-loving-family, even more reason to take this to heart.)

For instance, maybe your mother may have had postpartum depression, which made her unable to give you the love and attention you needed. Maybe your dad was working hard to make ends meet, so he too was not there for you in the way you needed. And here you are, totally dependent on two people, who — at that given moment in your life — were not able to give you what you needed.

What is a little child to do? Cry for attention? Cry for food? Make yourself noticed in order to survive on a physical, emotional, and mental level?

Yes, yes and yes, because that’s all a little, innocent infant knows how to do and is supposed to do.

But then, because your needs were not met, you learned to not cry, to not make yourself noticed; you became conditioned to ignore your basic needs.

With your small brain capacity as a child, and in order to make sense of your situation, you turned your parents' "failing" behavior inward and started believing that you weren't good enough or that something was wrong with you. That it wasn't okay to have needs, that you didn't matter, and that it was your fault anyway.

Can you see any resemblance between those beliefs from childhood and the unwanted, intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk you're experiencing now? Could it be that you had some overpowering experiences you didn’t have the capacity to emotionally digest as a kid, and that the only way you could make sense out of them was to believe it was your fault?

Well, it is not your fault!

You need to learn to recognize how innocent you truly were and how it could never ever be your fault that your parents didn’t provide what you needed. So, no! It was not your fault then, and to this day, it still isn’t, even if your childhood looked totally different than the example.

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According to developmental biologist Bruce Lipton, you are like a sponge during the first seven years of your life, where you take everything in — without being able to discern

Just imagine yourself as this little infant, hungry, lonely and scared, without being able to understand why nobody is giving you what you need. You don’t yet know that the reason for your parents behavior is that Mom is depressed and Dad is swamped in work and worried about you and your mom.

All you know is that you truly need to be held, loved, nurtured and feel safe. These are basic needs for an infant.

That's why these old, mistaken beliefs need rewriting — not repair — if you want to learn how to stop intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk as an adult.

Hopefully, this helps you understand what really happened and see it all through a larger lens. It’s a much wider angle than the narrow one you got wired into. When your brain and nervous system are wired in a certain way from infancy or childhood, everything you do, say, perceive, think, and feel moves through this wiring.

That’s why you can’t just get rid of intrusive thoughts. Trying to get rid of them is actually a part of your unconscious wiring, too! What you need is help rewiring your brain to see the bigger perspective outside of your basic survival instincts. And, if you're like most people, you'll need help from someone who is outside of your mental wiring to transform it.

Unbeknownst to you, your conclusions from infancy still determine how you experience life today. And guess what: That includes you believing you need to be able to do this on your own because of your false belief that nobody cares about your needs anyway.

It is not your fault you still react this way and believe these intrusive thoughts. Your childhood set the stage for how you see the world to this day.

But if you're finally ready to learn how to stop intrusive thoughts, end negative self-talk, and improve your low self-esteem, here are 10 steps that can help you rewire the way you think about yourself.

1. Acknowledge what actually happened to you.

You need to know why you have these negative, intrusive thoughts.

2. Open up to find some compassion for this younger part of you.

She is still you and is in need of a deeper understanding of what really happened. Isn’t it more obvious now, looking at it from a new perspective outside of the hardwiring that took place?

3. Stop trying to fight these intrusive thoughts.

I’m sure you’ve tried to get rid of these unwanted thoughts for a long long time without much success. That’s because in your younger version, you were hardwired to believe it was your fault.

The best way to correct this "wrong" is to bring new light and understanding to it. When a misunderstanding is understood correctly, there’s nothing to get rid of anymore, right?

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4. "Feel" into your body.

This is how you notice where you feel the impact of having believed these limiting beliefs for so long.

Maybe you experience it as pain, tension, or fear. Or maybe you feel some relief now by finally hearing something that makes more sense than what made sense to you as an infant.

5. Bring your attention to that area in your body.

Just feel where the pain is and breathe into it — gently, kindly, patiently.

6. Be kind to yourself.

Can you now breathe some compassion into this little infant who lives right there inside of you? Can you just meet yourself there, as this younger part of you, and give to her what she needed back then?

Let her know that you are here with her now and will do your best to stop telling her she is bad, wrong, too much and not enough.

7. Be patient with your progress.

Truthfully, you may not be perfect at this after years of colluding with your own young, mistaken conclusions, but that is OK.

As long as you feel a willingness to learn and do your best, she is OK with that for now.

8. Hold this younger part of you, as if she is still here physically.

Just imagine what it would have been like for such a little infant to have someone pick her up and tell her that it is not her fault. That there is nothing wrong with her and that she matters. That you love her!

It’s not too late to do that now. You are grown up and your brain has evolved a lot since then. You now have the capacity to discern and understand what you couldn’t when you were little.

9. Remind yourself that it is not your fault.

In the best way you can, convey to that young part — through a loving, compassionate, accepting attitude — that it was not her fault. Tell her all the things that you so far resonate with in this article. Help her discern through this muddle of intensity she grew up in.

Take your time. There is no rush. This is the most important part of transforming misperceived conclusions and rewiring your brain to end negative self-talk.

10. Understand that healing will take time.

This process of improving low self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight and cannot be rushed.

It’s like giving the infant a food that she can easily digest. You’ll know if she digests it well by the way you start feeling inside. You are like an enzyme of love that helps digest all the misperceptions that have caused you so much pain.

Please take all the time you need for these hardwired, misguided beliefs to soften until you're able to let go of them all the way and know, in your heart and soul, that it didn’t happen because something was wrong with you.

If these intrusive feelings show up again, you just give them the love they were missing. Love is the potion that heals everything.

RELATED: 5 Steps to Break Negative Thinking & Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Pernilla Lillarose is a self love mentor who helps women say "yes" to themselves and what they want, and "no" to what they don't. You can reach Pernilla at her website, DivineFeminineFlow, and request a free 45 min. Discovery Session, where she’ll help you find out where you may feel stuck in your onward journey toward freedom from negativity.