First and foremost, gaslighting is a serious subject and not to be taken lightly. I've likened the term 'gaslighting' to what your thoughts are doing to you, as the effects can be similar.
Marissa Conrad wrote an article on Forbes Magazine and describes gaslighting as the following:
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that hinges on creating self-doubt. “I think of gaslighting as trying to associate someone with the label ‘crazy,’” says Paige Sweet, Ph.D., an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan who studies gaslighting in relationships and in the workplace. “It’s making someone seem or feel unstable, irrational and not credible, making them feel like what they’re seeing or experiencing isn’t real, that they’re making it up, that no one else will believe them.”
Contributor for Forbes Magazine
You can read the full article here.
Our thoughts are sneaky little f*ckers that can make us second guess ourselves, make some of our actions seem irrational and leave us with a big ol' pile of self-doubt.
To the outside world we present the appearance of being put together, on top of our game, the experts we are and then something happens.
Usually something external.
Then we allow the thoughts to creep in and the downward spiral happens IF we don't catch those thoughts quick enough.
Catching The Gaslighting Thoughts
The first step is to recognize them.
Yes, but Lesley, how do we recognize them if we've not been aware of them up until now?
By being aware of ALL your thoughts.
Yes, ALL your thoughts, or at least as many as you can because let's be real - there are A LOT of thoughts going through your mind every minute, so catching them all is a bit of an ask.
Grab a piece of paper, your phone or anywhere you can easily access your list throughout the day to keep adding to it.
Don't overthink it, just write 'em down.
TREAT THEM AS LIES.
We no longer make decisions using our thoughts. Our mind can be our worst enemy as well as our best friend. There are other ways to make decisions.
Why? Because this is where the little f*ckers get sneaky...
Carrot Enticing Thoughts
Did you know that thoughts can also come in the form of 'carrot enticing' thoughts?
I believed that all those positive thoughts were my inner being being kind to me. They were rewards for me being me.
It was a wake up call.
And it sucks.
Just another way I was self-sabotaging myself and you probably are too.
But that's okay. Because now we know better and can change things.
So you're aware of what to look out for...
What do these Carrot Enticing Thoughts Say?
'You've done enough for today. It's time to have some fun.'
'You can always finish that tomorrow.'
'You've got a good relationship with your client. They'll be fine if it's only a wee bit late/unfinished.'
'Go on read that book, you deserve it.'
'Just one more episode of this tv show/chapter of this book then bed.'
'Eat that bit of cake. You know you'll enjoy it.'
It's thoughts that will make you feel better in the moment, but afterwards...
Well, you know what afterwards is like.
Your 'ego' or inner voice knows ALL your excuses, procrastination and self-sabotage techniques and has worked out exactly what to say to get you to take the self-sabotaging action rather than what would best serve you.
What's the Better Way?
If only! Even in meditation I have difficulty clearing my mind completely.
There is another way...
Have you heard of Human Design?
It's a mixture of Eastern and Western Astrology, Chinese I-Ching, The Kabbalah and it tells you to use your Inner Authority for decision making.
Even if you've never heard of Human Design, trust the bit that says decisions should not be made using your mind/thoughts.
If you'd like to know your Inner Authority and how to use it, send me a message with your name, time, date and place of birth via my contact form here and I'll send you your human design chart.
Never Gaslight Yourself Again
1. Eyes on the Prize.
What is the ONE thing you want to achieve? You can call this a SMART Goal, or whatever you like but there has to be only ONE destination.
Create a plan on HOW to get there. It doesn't have to be perfect or even finished as you can adapt as you go, but it needs to have at least the first 3 steps/tasks.
2. Ignore Your Negative/Carrot Thoughts
As you begin to recognize these thoughts and they creep in - shut them down. Shout 'No' in your mind and go back to what you were doing.
3. Take Efficient Action
Wallace Wattles in The Science of Getting Rich talks about taking 'efficient action.' It means being so focused on your end destination, knowing you are going to achieve it that every action you take is taking you closer to achieving it.
Can you go to sleep tonight knowing that you've done everything you can to move closer to your destination? (Without overdoing things. No need to be a martyr.)
4. You've got this!