Don’t believe everything you think.

Don’t believe everything you think.

We all have thousands of thoughts each and every day. We can even have several different thoughts within a minute. With this being said we have tendencies to cast things in a certain light depending upon our experiences that have shaped our beliefs about the world, other people and ourselves. We all have tendencies to either view things in a positive way or in a negative one.

I commonly see people saying things like “Life is too hard”, “I am not good at anything”, “I am weak”, “No one really loves me”. For thoughts like these we need to look for the evidence that these things are not in fact true.

Here are some examples of these negative thoughts and ways to shift to a positive perspective:

  • “Life is too hard”
    • Shift to: “Life is hard sometimes and I always find a way to make things work” or “In the end things do seem to work out for me okay”
    • Life is hard sometimes and you are still here to acknowledge that which says you can make through hard things.
  • “I am not good at anything”
    • Shift to: “I am a good [cook, friend, wife/husband, writer, artist]”
    • Challenge yourself to focus on the things you are good at. Each and every one of us has some gift or talent.
  • “I am weak”
    • Shift to: “I am strong enough to ask for help” or “My strength was shown when I made through…”
    • It is human to have moments of weakness and those moments it helps to think back on other times your strength shined through.
  • “No one really love me”
    • Shift to: “My ________ tells me they love me”, “_______ showed me love by being kind to me”, “I love ____ about myself”
    • While there may be times that others can’t show their love to us, most of us can find examples of someone who has been kind, caring or loving towards us. When we really start to pay attention, love is all around us shown by people helping each other and small gestures of kindness in every day life.

Some things are all about perspective. I encourage you to challenge your negative thoughts and those that aren’t serving you. When you find you are consistently saying negative messages to yourself, try looking for the evidence for the opposites of those that increase your feelings of unhappiness.

An unchallenged mind is an unhealthy one. Only you can start to pay attention to your thoughts and work to find new, healthier, happier and more affirming messages to tell yourself.

Begin to work on this by each day writing down one negative thing you said about yourself, others or the world around you. Then write down the opposite of that thought and try to find a few pieces of evidence that it may be true. If you do this practice every day you will begin to stop believing everything you think.

For professional help learning to challenge your thoughts and beliefs, visit



Validate those around you.

Validate those around you.

What is validation?

Validation is when you listen to what another person is saying to you and reflect it back to them that you understand how they are feeling. An important thing to remember is validating is NOT necessarily agreeing with the other person. It also doesn’t mean you like what the other person is saying, doing or believing. You are simply restating back to the person what you hear them saying.

Why should we validate others?

There are many benefits to validating people, including it:

  • Shows you are listening
  • Shows you care
  • Shows you understand the other person’s point of view
  • Is nonjudgmental
  • Improves communication and openness
  • Decreases conflict
  • Establishes trust

How do I validate others?

Validation involves listening to what the person is saying, stating back what you hear them saying to you and then responding to the person’s needs at that time.

For example, when talking to someone nod and make small gestures to show you are listening (e.g. say mmhmm, I see, huh). Then restate what you hear the person saying (e.g. “That really hurt your feelings”, “You didn’t like that”, “That pisses you off!” or “You’re angry!”). Respond by asking what the person needs, they may want space or a hug or to just vent a bit more while you listen.

Be mindful and avoid judging what the other person is saying. Show tolerance for the other person by working to recognize that their reaction makes sense considering his/her life situation, experiences and history even if you do not necessarily agree with that person.

What does it mean to be invalidating?

We invalidate people’s feelings when we minimize or disregard their experience. Some common examples: “Oh, you’ll get over it”, “You don’t need those friends anyway”, “It’s not that big a deal” or “You should…”.

What are the negative impacts of being invalidating?

There are many negative outcomes from not validating others’, including it:

  • Shows you aren’t listening
  • Says you don’t care or believe the other person
  • Shows you don’t understand the person
  • Is judgmental
  • Decreases openness and communication
  • Increases conflict
  • Decreases trust

The next time you are talking to your child, friend, lover, spouse or co-worker consider trying to just listen, reflect back what you hear and ask what the person needs in the moment. You may find it helps the person and also improves your relationship!!

Validation is a strong component of DBT, to learn more visit: DBT in Hudson, WI