How to Neutralize Limiting Thoughts
By Matthew Joyce
Imagine you have a clean white carpet and someone walks across it with muddy feet. To make matters worse they don’t only walk across it once.
They walk across it over and over again until they’ve made a messy path that is a nightmare to clean up.
That’s what you do when you think negative or limiting thoughts. And if you think them repeatedly you make an even bigger mess that is all the more difficult to clean up.
The Power of Thought
Thoughts are powerful things. It is our thoughts that will our bodies out of bed in the morning and guide us through our days. Thoughts tell us to perform tasks. They initiate our creative process and lead us step by step through everything we create from breakfast, to art work, to relationships, health, and wealth.
That is why spiritual teachers, life coaches, and personal trainers tell us to pay attention to the power of our thoughts. They say, change your thinking and you change your life. And it’s true.
But what do you do when you find yourself thinking negative or limiting thoughts?
After all they have just as much power as your positive thoughts.
A Bad Case Scenario
Let’s say you really want to be a best-selling author. It’s your dream job and you are telling your family and friends how much you want this dream to come true. Then you say, “but it’s really hard to get published and even harder to make money as an author.”
You start talking about your desire for what you really want (which is a good thing) and then you connect it with a reason why you can’t have your desire fulfilled (which is NOT a good thing). This makes it much harder to get what you want.
It may be the case that for every best-selling author there are countless other authors who are not well paid. And it may be the case that lots of people have had a difficult time finding a publisher. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to accept those conditions for yourself.
While realism has its place in the world, when you work with the power of your mind to create the life experiences you want, it is best to neutralize limiting thoughts as swiftly as possible.
So What Do You Do?
When you notice yourself saying or thinking a limiting thought like “but it’s really hard to get published and even harder to make money as an author,” you need to neutralize the power of those thoughts.
If you imagine that you’d typed those word on the computer you could simply stop typing, select the words you want to eliminate, and delete them. And for good measure you could empty the trash or recycling bin, which would erase them completely from your computer.
You can do the same thing in your mind. But instead of taking physical action, you do it in your head, where your thoughts take place.
So when you notice yourself thinking or saying something that could hold you back or that you don’t want as part of your experience, say to yourself “Stop, Cancel, Delete, Erase.”
Stop, Cancel, Delete, Erase
Even though you are saying this to yourself and not tapping on your computer keyboard, the effect is the same. You are recognizing that your thoughts have power and you are stopping them as soon as they occur.
The word “stop” gets your attention. Then the next three words eliminate the thought from your system. “Cancel” neutralizes the thought’s power. “Delete” removes the thought from your personal energy field. “Erase” eliminates all trace of its existence so you have a clean slate for the thoughts you do want to have.
How Your Brain Is Like a Carpet
If this sounds a bit much, consider how this works on at level of neural biology. Your thoughts fire along certain neural pathways in your brain. The more often you think those particular thoughts the more often that particular pathway is encoded and reinforced.
Think of the process as being similar to walking across a white carpet with dirty feet. When you walk across the carpet you leave footprints on the carpet. The first time there is probably some dirt marking each footstep, but it’s on the tops of each strand of carpet. A bit of vacuuming or some spot cleaning can remove the stains easily enough. But if you walk across the carpet over and over again you wear a pathway in the carpet and grind the dirt in deeper and deeper. Then it’s going to take some serious steam cleaning to remove the mess.
When you think “Stop, Cancel, Delete, Erase” you are deciding that the particular neural pathways associated with that limiting thought are not the ones you want to use. You are essentially deciding you are going to wipe your feet and not leave a muddy trail on the carpet anymore.
The Stop, Cancel, Delete, Erase sequence is equivalent to cleaning the carpet so you are removing any trace of your footsteps no matter how faint they might have been.
The Five Steps for Neutralizing Limiting Thoughts
So the next time you have a negative or limiting thought, you can neutralize its power by following these five steps.
- When you notice the thought, say or think “Stop!”
- Take a breath and hold it through Step 4. (This tells your body it is important.)
- Say or think “Cancel, Delete, Erase.”
- Imagine that you have selected that thought as if it was written on your computer. Then delete it. And empty the trash or recycling bin.
- Exhale and know that your mind is now free to start thinking positive, empowering thoughts.
This simple technique of Stop, Cancel, Delete, Erase goes a long way toward neutralizing limiting or negative thoughts. I’ll leave it to you do the carpet cleaning.
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