Crisis, difficulty and hardship can bring out some negativity in even the most positive and optimistic of us. As a single parent, it can be easy to slip into patterns of negative thinking simply because we may have had some pretty unpleasant things go down in our lives and, despite the pleasures of parenthood, there are some definite challenges too. It is important to remind ourselves that getting stuck in negative thinking cycles really doesn’t help…
So, what do I mean when I say “negative thoughts”? Well things like: “My ex will never pay child support” or “I’ll never be able to get a job that pays all our expenses” or “All the good partners are taken, I’m destined to be alone forever.” I know that some of these statements seem pretty dramatic, but I’d be surprised if all of us single parents haven’t said or felt something similar at one time or another. Some of us even justify our negative thinking by saying that we are “just being honest and factual.” I know that we do need to live grounded in this world in order to meet the genuine challenges, but getting stuck in negative self-talk and making negative statements doesn’t make our situations any easier.
Not to mention, we run the risk of passing on all that negativity to our children. Do we really want our child to think that our lives are doomed because we are a single parent family? The truth is, optimism feels better and we can model positive thinking for our child or children and increase the chances that they will be able to see the “silver lining” in the clouds that drift over their lives too.
In order to get OUT of the negative thinking, we first have to acknowledge and recognize what we are doing. Only then can we intercept those thoughts and start to train ourselves to say and think more positive versions. This can take some practice and feel “fake” at first—especially if we are quite used to seeing the negative in things that have happened. But, keep practicing and intercepting those negative thoughts—even if life continues to be challenging, you will start to feel better about things!