Our brains are hard wired to place meaning on what we see and what happens to us. If we are feeling low we tend to interpret ambiguous events as negative, and we can take this interpretation as fact without exploring other possible explanations. If we have low self-esteem and have internalised the criticism of others, our thoughts can sabotage our view of the world and the people around us.
We sometimes need to pause and question our thinking and realise that our thoughts are not facts, but an interpretation we have placed on an event or experience that is determined by our past-experiences and our views about ourselves and others. We are disturbed not by things but by the views that we take of them.
It is not easy to challenge these thoughts as they happen so quickly and the first part in lessening their power to catch any negative thoughts that you have as you experience them. Meditation can help you to recognise your thoughts for what they are and to experience the world through being rather than thinking. This can help to still the mind and to create a pause where we can evaluate our thoughts rather than unconsciously accepting them as facts.
An individual’s emotional response to an event or experience is determined by the conscious meaning they have placed upon it. The meaning placed on the event governs our feelings about it and therefore our reactions to the event. If the meaning we have placed is wrong or inappropriate then so will be our response. This belief can spread and become worse. CBT techniques can help you challenge your negative thinking and learn to change your responses.