We all know how important it is to be positive. Even if you don’t believe in the law of attraction, you’ve probably observed or directly experienced just how powerful attitude is– whether a person is recovering from an accident or simply standing in a very long line at the grocery store.
Because we know how essential it is to take a clear, confident and affirmative approach, it’s even more frustrating when doubts, worries, fears and dismal expectations surface. Some of us greet what we perceive as pessimism or negativity with a mixture of denial and self-criticism.
Perhaps you do this too?
You try to pretend that those worst case scenarios aren’t barging through your mind as they continue to take over. Your mind chatter leads you to think, say and do things that are far from optimistic and hopeful…and instead seem more like “Debbie Downer.”
If you’ve never heard of “Debbie Downer,” she was a recurring character played by comedian Rachel Dratch several years ago on the comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” The settings and dialogue changed depending on the skit, but every time Debbie Downer walked on stage, she reacted in the very same way: She consistently pointed out the dangers, diseases and what could go wrong. Her comments took the fun out of all kinds of celebrations and even made a family trip to Disney World a miserable experience.
The audience laughed at Debbie’s ability to unintentionally ruin a party, but when your own “Debbie Downer” shows up, it’s not funny at all!
Thoughts like these….
“This won’t work out.”
“He’s not going to call.”
“She’ll let me down, like they always do.”
“We’ll never agree.”
“We’ll always struggle about that.”
Lead to and intensify challenges in your relationship and threaten your happiness.
Denying that you’re thinking “Debbie Downer” thoughts doesn’t work. They won’t just disappear simply because you tell yourself it’s unhealthy to think this way. They definitely won’t ease up if you make yourself wrong or “bad” for having thoughts or saying things to (or about) your partner that seem negative.
It’s vital to recognize it when you’re having a “Debbie Downer” moment in which your fears and worries rear up or you feel like an inevitable victim of emotional pain and calamity. It’s also vital to greet what seems like negativity in a mindful way.
1. Be kind.
When you recognize that you’ve slipped into a negativity hole, start out by being kind to yourself. It’s nearly impossible to get out unless you do. Approach your “Debbie Downer” thought, comment or mood with an attitude of kindness and even friendliness. How would you respond to your very best friend doom and gloom attitude? While you might not agree, you would probably treat him or her with kindness and compassion.
As troubling as it is to listen to fearful or unwanted thoughts, don’t attempt to merely tune them out. What you’re worried about may not be true or may be an exaggeration, but there’s value in hearing what’s coming up in you. There’s valuable information in whatever you’re thinking and feeling. Remember, whether you’re talking with your partner or to yourself, listening is not the same as agreeing.
If you’re confused about why this pessimism has arisen, go deeper and find out more. Again, this is not the same thing as feeding an obsession or fueling anxiety and fear. Meet a thought like, “We’ll always argue about money” with gentle inquiry. What’s unresolved from the past that’s causing you to think this? What are your long-held beliefs about money and communication that have established this in your mind?
As you listen and try to understand where this “Debbie Downer” moment is coming from, be sure to also ask yourself the very simple question: “Is that really true?” With kindness, question whether or not you can actually know if you and your partner will always argue about money. When you ask yourself, “Is that really true?” you interrupt the strong emotional thoughts that are keeping you stuck.
5. Present the evidence.
For stubborn cases, get specific and remind yourself of the observable and reliable evidence you have about the situation. “He’ll let me down just like my ex did” is a statement that’s unhealthy for you and your relationship too. You can’t create connection and trust when you’re repeating this one in your mind. It can be helpful to present yourself with the facts you know. Look for the ways that your current partner is NOT like your ex and examples of him supporting you and following through.
This 5-step process offers you a chance to shift out of negativity and toward possibility….and also toward happiness and a closer connection with your beloved.