It's normal to want to get rid of negative thoughts. After all, they are at best uncomfortable, and at worst painful. You imagine you'll be better off without them. Nonetheless, each unwanted thought exists for a reason and says something about you. Uncover the gems hidden in disparaging self-talk and you will recognize the wisdom that can help you grow.

Why negative thoughts exist

No one, not even a spiritual leader, is free of negativity. Negative thoughts are part of life, and they occur for good reasons. They tell you when to change tack or keep going in the same direction, so you know what to avoid or move toward.

Critical self-talk arises from familiar discomfort, and it doesn't cause your unease. It reflects what goes on inside you. If you get rid of it, your disquiet will still exist.

For example, you might be upset if it's not your turn to put the trash out, but your partner's left you with the task and gone out. Self-talk triggered by the event will echo what you already feel. If you have low self-esteem, it might say your partner doesn't care about you. Then again, if you have healthy self-esteem, it may say your partner was just forgetful. How you view what happens, which is summed up by your thoughts, says more about your frame of mind and beliefs than anything else.

The essence of negative thoughts

Maybe you've contemplated how terrific it would be to have a personal guide, like a genie, someone who works entirely on your behalf to improve your wellbeing. The idea isn't as outlandish or magical as you imagine. You have an inner guide: your internal voice.

When you fight negative thoughts, you stop self-understanding. You don't give yourself the chance to learn. Negative thoughts let you know where you are, so you can check your location against your preferred destination. Your internal voice mirrors your emotions and perspectives, but don't take its words literally.

Rather than take negative self-talk to heart, recognize it highlights your fear. It may show your self-worth is low. As such, the sight of the trash still in the kitchen bin instead of outside ready for collection, triggers your anxiety. Once you know the underlying emotion, you can trace it to its origins.

How to understand your negativity

Negative thoughts often come from beliefs formed in childhood. If a parent abandoned you, for instance, or was unkind, you might not believe you are lovable. Familiar feelings of shame, fear, and pain swim to the surface of consciousness when circumstances push your buttons.

If they resemble the original events at the bottom of your psyche, even to a modest degree, you'll experience anxiety. Then negative thoughts to explain what's occurred rise. Your mind creates a story for you to decipher, and its intention is to help you resolve issues.

Look behind negative thoughts. Treat them as paths to unresolved traumas. Sit quietly, figure out their origins, and acknowledge your fears related to the past. Now you can view your history with fresh eyes and let current knowledge help you manage. You might note misconceptions, and can come to terms with events and let them go.

When you uncover the hidden reasons for negative thoughts, you learn about yourself and what makes you react as you do. You gain clarity and emotional intelligence that helps you deal with life's challenges with less anxiety.