What I Do With Negative Thoughts

Dwelling on negative thoughts is what keeps us stuck in a spiral of self-deprecation. These are the two things I've learned to do when I get stuck in that cycle!

I had a great time at Blogfest in LA. I met up with wonderful friends, both new and old, and connected with a lot of brands in order to start forming relationships going forward.

One of those brands, when asked about working with health and fitness bloggers, emphatically said yes, and my friend Jess and I talked to him about some potential opportunities. A couple days after returning home, I sent out follow up emails to all the brands I had talked to and awaited their replies.

The first reply I received was from that same brand representative, who told me in the simplest terms that they would not like to move forward and that my posts were not a fit with their health and wellness positioning.

I figured it probably had something to do with my Instagram account, which I use primarily as a way to show that balance (particularly with food) is important in a healthy lifestyle. This means that in addition to healthy foods, I also post pictures of dessert, pizza, burgers, and other foods that may not fall under the “healthy lifestyle” heading.

I spent a good number of my years on one end of the food spectrum or the other — either restricting my food and only allowing myself “healthy” meals or not exercising and eating fast food and pints of Cold Stone on the couch.

Related: My Struggle For A Healthy Lifestyle

It’s taken me being in recovery to be able to let myself enjoy all kinds of food. I’m able to listen to my body in a way I never could before and amazingly, after one too many “treats,” it starts yelling at me that I need more smoothies and vegetables in my life. Bodies are amazing. They balance out.

But anyway, back to rejection.

I’ve already written a previous post about how rejection can make you a better person, but that was written with the gift of retrospection, where you’re able to see all the lessons you’ve learned and the sting isn’t quite as acute.

This one stung.

It wasn’t rude or dismissive, but my gut reaction is still to question everything about myself when I get negative feedback.

  • Am I a bad blogger?
  • Does my site not promote health and wellness?
  • What exactly is he referring to when he says we don’t align?
  • DOES HE HATE MY BLOG?
  • DOES EVERYONE HATE MY BLOG??
  • IS EVERYTHING A SHAM??? (well that escalated quickly)

It bothered me for longer than I was comfortable with, so I decided to email him back and thank him for his quick reply. I also asked him if he wouldn’t mind being more specific in his feedback so that I could understand another person’s perspective when interacting with my blog.

He wrote me back again and stated that my food posts were what didn’t quite align. All of the actual recipes I post on this blog are quick and healthy, so it must be the Instagram and other photos thrown into various posts. This reply came a couple days later, so I went through a bit of the initial sting again, but realized that in order to get over the paranoia and pity that I was partaking in (alliteration on point), I would have to do what I knew to do with negative thoughts: let them go.

I’m pretty confident in assuming that no matter how much self-esteem you have, there will always be negative thoughts that come up. Questions about your self-worth and your abilities. Doubts.

The difference between people who are able to get back up after a mistake or a tough time and those who aren’t is their ability to acknowledge the thoughts and then let them go. This can be done by a variety of ways, but two that I use most often are:

  • Tell myself the complete opposite of what I’m saying
  • Laugh at myself

This whole laughing thing didn’t come easily, and really results from deeply understanding my self-worth. By being able to own my story, share it, and know I’m doing the best I can each day to help others in their journey, thoughts where I question my training ability or my dedication to a healthy lifestyle can be laughed off and not taken personally.

If you’re not quite at the laughing stage, you start to build yourself up by doing the first option. Simply tell yourself the complete opposite of what those negative thoughts are telling you. In my case:

  • Am I a bad blogger? — I’m an awesome blogger! (whatever that means)
  • Does my site not promote health and wellness? — this site promotes MY vision of health and wellness
  • DOES HE HATE MY BLOG? — (the email also said I had very good content, but I chose to focus on the negative)
  • DOES EVERYONE HATE MY BLOG?? — people are reading my blog and commenting that they enjoy it!
  • IS EVERYTHING A SHAM??? — ok Erin, calm down.

It’s the dwelling on negative thoughts that causes us to get caught in a spiral of self-deprecation. Some days it’s easier to let them pass, and other days I have to be more deliberate in my intentions. I have to go through each thought and flip it around.

Thanks for letting me think out loud today and don’t worry, I have some other brands in the pipeline who feel the exact opposite. ALL THE FOODS AND ALL THE HEALTHY RECIPES (and some desserts). 🙂

Question:

  • How do you handle negative thoughts?
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44 Comments

  1. July 28, 2016 / 5:38 am

    I bitch slap them into submission. You do awesome things with your IG and your blog, and if it isn’t the right fit, you don’t need them anyway.
    I’ve been spending a lot of time with my frustration recently. Now it is time to actually make something of it.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…The Lighter Side : Thoughts on ThursdayMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 8:43 am

      Yeah I feel you. Tell em who’s boss 🙂

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 8:44 am

      I just dwelled on it a littttle too long so I figured I needed to do something to turn it around!

  2. Allison
    July 28, 2016 / 7:18 am

    Erin- What I love most about your blog and Instagram is the balance between health/fitness and mouth-watering deliciousness. We NEED to eat indulgently from time to time. It is necessary to keep us sane! It also shows all of us with fitness goals that we shouldn’t deprive ourselves because that is unhealthy. Keep up the amazing inspiring work!

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:27 pm

      Aw thanks Allison!

  3. July 28, 2016 / 8:02 am

    Love this Erin! Dwelling on those negative thoughts never leads to any good (even though it’s so hard to not do haha). I’m so happy for you that you found some brands that are supportive of balance with food because that is soooo important. Gotta always have your dessert hehe
    Alyssa recently posted…Currently July 2016My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:27 pm

      DESSERT IS LIFE! Thanks for reading Alyssa 🙂

  4. July 28, 2016 / 8:03 am

    In all of your health and wellness posts, I love that you relate a personal story to US, and how we can be better, happier, and let things go. Basically, I’m saying: you’re a wonderful writer. Your blog is one of my favorites. Most importantly, YOU are amazing. HUGS and bigger better things are coming your way!!
    To deal with things that sting I usually (in no particular order): cry, vent to Ray, my sister, get angry, and then practice letting go (sometimes it takes a long time to do that).
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Kale Salad With Creamy Thai Peanut DressingMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:28 pm

      Insert blush emoji. Thanks Jess. I WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

  5. July 28, 2016 / 8:07 am

    “When you go after literally everything you want, you’re going to lose more times than win, but you’re going to win more than most people.” – Said by someone very insightful

    This has been my mantra lately and seemed a perfect fit for this post.
    Emily @ Always Emily H. recently posted…Weekend Recap: Food and Beach ReadingMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:28 pm

      I love that quote. Thanks for sharing it Emily!!

  6. July 28, 2016 / 8:52 am

    Rejection always stings. But I think it’s good you followed up and asked for the specific feedback rather than dwelling on every possible thing you could be doing wrong.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #78My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:29 pm

      Yeah, that was a growth point for me for sure. Before I would have just imagined the worst things possible and made myself feel awful. Very productive.

  7. July 28, 2016 / 9:07 am

    I love this advice, and letting go is something I struggle with. I can get pretty comfy all buried in the negative thoughts, but I’m working on it.
    I think your blog and Insta show approximately the best version of health, complete with killer workouts, naps, and all of the best (healthy and not-so-healthy) food. And your writing is raw and real and funny. Basically, you’re fabulous and lots of companies recognize that.
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #58My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:30 pm

      AHHH thanks Ellen! That’s so nice. I still struggle w it too as you can see ha.

  8. July 28, 2016 / 9:38 am

    Well they are missing out then, and they invisibly didn’t take the time to really look at YOUR brand and what you’re about. When I don’t hear back on a submission or get rejected, I know it’s something to learn from and not the right time/fit. Think about how many times best selling authors were rejected by publishing houses!
    Bri recently posted…The surprising reason why I haven’t been able to lose weightMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:31 pm

      I know – that’s always a good point of reference. Just like the chicken soup guy haha

  9. July 28, 2016 / 9:58 am

    I indulge in the thoughts for a bit, then work on moving on by revisiting and reframing my perspective. I’ve generally found that not validating my thoughts causes me to hold on to anger, regret, irritation, etc. for longer than is needed.

    Validation is really helpful! But also so is proactive, constructive analysis as you’ve laid out in your post.

    Rejection is hard. When you write, you get rejected all the damn time and it’s just hard.

    Keep fighting the good fight!
    Molly recently posted…For the Love of BabkaMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:32 pm

      Great points! It’s important to actually acknowledge the thought or else you’ll have a hard time moving past it. Thanks for reading Molly!

  10. July 28, 2016 / 10:05 am

    Echoing what someone have said above, I really enjoy reading your blog because of the honesty and “different” posts than the typical/standard healthy living blog! Keep it up. And good on you for asking for feedback, rather than just ignoring the rejection or writing a different response back. I definitely find that’s the best way for me to deal with situations like that, or think through what I did and where I may have gone wrong in the eyes of the person giving the negative feedback.
    Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales recently posted…My Vancouver #4: Hiking Garibaldi Lake {in pictures}My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:33 pm

      Yeah, if I hadn’t asked I would have just made up a million reasons in my head and that’s no good for anyone!

  11. July 28, 2016 / 10:12 am

    I so agree with you Erin, and wow, I am sorry that you were rejected, but that meant that it just wasn’t a good fit for the vision of your blog. The blog expresses who you are as a person, so maybe that brand wouldn’t have done that just right. I know you will get other opportunities, and I love how you answered those negative questions with positive joyful thoughts. I have to do this so much. Tell myself the truth, when my brain is screaming all these lies. Rejection is hard, but when you turn it into a positive lesson, it becomes a gift.
    Emily recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Why Emotions Aren’t BadMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:33 pm

      That’s the real key to it, but it’s always so hard to do. Thanks for reading Emily!!

  12. July 28, 2016 / 11:08 am

    I echo what everyone else is saying – we love your blog because it’s YOUR creation. Your authenticity is so apparent and magnetic. Thank you for sharing your light! 🙂
    Jo @ Living Mint Green recently posted…Day In The LifeMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:34 pm

      Aw thank you Jo that’s so nice!!

  13. July 28, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    I usually dwell on them until they make my stomach hurt or I can punch someone in the face. Ok, not so much that second part. I dwell on them more than I should but I usually feel better after talking with my husband and/or lifting some really heavy weights or going for a run with a buddy and hashing it all out. I’m still a work in progress where that’s concerned. It’s even harder when those negative thoughts are brought about by something I READ, rather than was told to my face. Conversation is different via email/twitter/facebook/etc than it is face-to-face where you can read another person’s expression and interact more personally.
    Jennifer @ fitnana.com recently posted…MY EXPERIENCE WITH WHOLE 30My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Oh totally. Written things like that are so open to interpretation and I was always so used to assuming the worst. Eek.

  14. July 28, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    So… I love your blog. And your Instagram. And I definitely know that rejection stings, but I always try to remind myself that not everyone is a good fit for everyone else, and that someone not liking what you’re doing, doesn’t have so much to do with you as it does with them. We don’t need to change ourselves to anyone else’s idea of what works.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…what was this doing in my toilet?!?! (ToL#193)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      What a nice compliment! Yeah, I guess it goes along w the idea that not everyone is going to like you (post idea!) but that there will be others who will 🙂

  15. July 28, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    Negative thoughts have to be one of the most dangerous and detrimental things out there. They are so unnecessary, but make themselves so necessary in such a short amount of time. I try to let them go as quickly as I can, but that is often not soon enough. They still have time to build and linger. I’m working on and reading this posts is super helpful because I know I’m not alone in the battle against negativity! Thank you for sharing.

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Thanks for reading Amanda! It’s crazy how much power we can give the negative over the positive. And no, you’re definitely not alone!

  16. July 28, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    Girl, I’m no stranger to that line of thinking. It’s amazing how quickly we can spiral into MY BLOG IS THE WORST BLOG IN THE WORLD AND EVERYBODY HATES IT.

    I’ve learned (and I don’t always practice this) that it comes down to You Do You. And, you can’t make everyone happy.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…‘Bye July! My Recap of July GoalsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 3:54 pm

      Absolutely. Wouldn’t it be great if we just understood that all the time??

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 8:23 pm

      Well thanks heather!

  17. July 28, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    Like so many others have said, the way you show BALANCE (aka, keep the weekend food pics coming!) is why I love your blog.
    My thought process, sadly, is exactly the same. I quickly go from “oh that stinks” to “my world is ending” or “I’m a complete failure” (funny story: my now-husband proposed to me a week earlier than planned because of an epic breakdown just like that after I “failed” = “didn’t do as well as I hoped” the GRE).
    Keep doing what you’re doing and bigger, better things will come your way. 🙂
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Why I Haven’t Jumped On The Sweet Potato Toast Train (Yet?)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 28, 2016 / 8:25 pm

      Thanks Catherine! Hahha that’s a great proposal story. “Don’t cry – marry me!” Love it.

  18. July 29, 2016 / 1:42 am

    It’s hard not to get stuck in your own head, I can totally relate. But it does take some practice with acknowledging your thought pattern and then turning it around. Something I’m working on for sure. Thanks for sharing, Erin! You DO have an awesome blog <3
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…Mocha Cereal Protein BarsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 29, 2016 / 7:56 am

      Thanks girl! I hope you have a great trip and I want to see you again soon!

  19. July 30, 2016 / 8:48 am

    You are a fantastic writer Erin and the guy was clearly a short sighted douche. We’d love to have you write for us sometime. Keep that positive mindset

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 30, 2016 / 8:53 am

      Thanks eamon!!

  20. August 2, 2016 / 8:47 am

    Girl, you are an awesome blogger and just always know that when brands don’t move forward with you, it honestly doesn’t have much to do about you – it has to do with them, and the image they’re trying to portray, or the money they’re trying to save by not paying you your worth. On to bigger and better things! 🙂 I always tell myself = EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. While you might not find out right away what that reason is, one day, a lightbulb will go off! 😉
    GiGi Eats recently posted…THIS RECIPE WILL SHUT UP ALL POLITICAL RANTSMy Profile

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