In the book The Confident Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman give some helpful tips on how to move from second-guessing yourself to living a more confident life. They point out that we as women often personalize things and think people are paying more attention to us than they really are. I could completely relate to this feeling, and I liked how they suggested to move beyond it: by replacing negative thoughts or what the authors call NAT's (negative automatic thoughts) with positive ones. So for example, if I feel a weird vibe from a colleague of mine, instead of saying "I wonder if she is upset I did not volunteer to help with the after school project," I could think "She must be stressed out about work and feeling overwhelmed."
I have practiced replacing the NAT's this week with positive ones. It has looked something like this:
* When I did not hear back from a friend after texting her, instead of thinking "She must be upset I did not get her a Christmas present or at least bring a bottle of wine, I thought "She must have been in the middle of something when I texted; I'm sure it's not personal."
* When someone did not seem overly joyed about a Christmas present I gave them, instead of thinking "Why didn't I get her something more thoughtful, more sentimental," I thought "That's a useful gift for her, and if not, she can always regift it."
*When a student asked for the other teacher to pour her milk instead of me, instead of thinking "The students hate me," I thought "Students are funny; on any given day, another student has also specifically asked for my help on something."
This exercise in replacing my NAT's with positive thoughts has been extremely helpful. The thing about negative thoughts is that they are all about us, completely self-centered. Moving away from these negative thoughts actually helps you create a more realistic, healthy view of the world. Life feels more manageable, and we feel a lot more joy. Continuing to replace negative thoughts with positive ones is part of my confident move for this week, this year, and hopefully for life.
How have you dealt with your NAT's (negative automatic thoughts)? I am still learning, and there is lots to glean from others on this topic.