There’s a lot of talk about good and bad thoughts. I try to avoid that and talk about helpful or constructive thoughts instead. Yet how do we know how helpful a thought is right now. Let’s imagine a ladder.
At the bottom are thoughts which occur naturally often as an automatic response but are neither helpful for you nor others.
Next are thoughts which many would consider negative but you can get at least some short-term reward out of them. Hater comments, as annoying as they are to the rest of the world, make the hater feel superior. From the perspective of the hater this is arguably better than feeling depressed.
You can build in as many intermediate steps as you like.
The top spot of the latter are thoughts that are in complete alignment with your most cherished values which also uplift those around you.
We might not have the energy to jump to the very top of the ladder every day. However it’s also helpful to define the lowest of the low levels that we are willing to go.
Sometimes the most helpful thought we can muster is to imagine to flip off anyone who talks to us. The childish satisfaction we get out of that might be enough to help us climb one more step on the ladder.
So where on the ladder of helpful thinking are you?