How to Deal with Bad Thoughts

Bad thoughts cover a whole range of emotions and issues. At their most “innocent,” they can involve a desire to annihilate every slug, bug and snail that feasts on your cabbages. At their worst, they may cause us to want to hurt someone so violently, that they are destroyed, in every area of their life. Most of us think them at some point, and when they become a part of us, bad thoughts have the power to taint and diminish life with bitterness and resentment. There is little point in suppressing bad thoughts; what is suppressed always bubbles away under the surface, eventually exploding through a crack in our veneer. Before we can find out how to suppress bad thoughts and disarm them, we need to confront them honestly.

First, putting such bad thoughts into perspective can help. Is it really possible to act on an urge to kill somebody, and is this what we truly want to do? The answer is likely to be “NO,” we just want to make the person uncomfortable or aware of the effects they cause. One way to deal with such bad thoughts, rather than suppress them, is to stand back and take a deep breath. Then, look at the other person who has engendered such bad thoughts. See where they are coming from, try to put yourself in their shoes. Not easy, but take a look at Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis, with the principle of “I’m OK, You’re OK” and this might help.

Bad thoughts about your life, your family, your job, your health, can always be altered, once you look at why you are thinking them, what you can do and what you cannot do to change matters. There is something to be said for a mixture of optimism and acceptance when you find yourself trying to suppress bad thoughts on these issues. Recently, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and awaiting an urgent mastectomy, I suppressed bad thoughts by continuously examining the positives. Telling myself this was something many women got through, that it had been discovered early, that my doctors were great, kept bad thoughts at bay. In addition, I accepted the fact of the illness and believed in a higher power to see me through, along with the idea of “what will be, will be.” That was how I made it.

When bad or negative thoughts arise, let them flow, but for every one of them, try to give a positive spin. Try to be more relaxed about everything. My mother always said “It’ll happen if you worry, it’ll happen if you don’t.” This is so true about many things in life, which are often out of our control, so by going with the flow, we can render bad thoughts powerless to affect us and so suppress their effects, if not the actual thoughts.

We think badly of ourselves, having done something that goes against a personal moral code. The thoughts come back to haunt us with stomach-churning power, but we can dispel that darkness by recalling all the good things we have done to try to make up for those wrong-doings, be they real or imaginary.

We are all only human, dark and light, good and bad. We think good and bad about ourselves and others, we are never perfect. Yet dealing with bad thoughts as mere thoughts and not actions, understanding the “why” of them, is the best way of how to suppress bad thoughts. Know them, put them in their place and live with joy, not bitterness or regret. Think positive.