When I first started on this path I had to rewire my thinking. My thinking always landed on the negative sides of life, it wanted me to fail, it would tell me you all were against me, and it got me to a place that almost cost me my life. So when I decided to get well, to focus on doing things differently, more positively, and more loving towards myself, and those around me, I had to practice a lot of contrary action.
What is contrary action? Well quite simply put it’s doing the opposite of what you had been doing. It’s not falling back in old behaviors that brought us on a self-destructive path, or in the path of negative and destructive people. It’s when you think you’ve got the right solution, but should probably do the opposite because the other solution that is more loving and honest to yourself.
The key to contrary action is to pause. When we are quick to judge, react, or come to a concrete conclusion, we should pause, and think it through. As I’ve mentioned many times here at State Of Slay, life is not a game show, there is no prize for the fastest response, and usually our fastest response is not the one we should be acting on. So what is? It’s thinking things through, and perhaps, talking it out with someone you trust or who you admire for the way they handle things. It’s also playing the scenario through all the way, maybe envisioning it playing out both ways, the way you initially think you should, or the way you have always done it, and the opposite way, and seeing which one is the better way of handling yourself, a better way of loving yourself, or a better way of honoring yourself. For me, at the start, my thinking was so negative, I practiced contrary action practically every time I thought I had it figured out, and, typically it was the right way to go, even though it felt awkward, strange, and well sometimes, like I was backing down. I wasn’t. What I was doing was stopping old patterns, not engaging in fights I didn’t belong in, not lying and manipulating to get my way, and not setting myself up for failure so I could continue to fit things into the narrative that I was a loser and no one cared about me. Contrary action put a stop to all of that. And, what it also did, was put a start to me carrying out esteemable acts, acts that were the right thing to do and in doing them they gave me the self-esteem I was lacking, and when I started to gain more self-esteem, I didn’t want to do the old things I had been doing, I didn’t want to act out, or participate in things that chipped away at that newfound self-esteem or self-love I was building in myself. Contrary action was the key to finding a new way of living that felt right, even when, at times, it felt uncomfortable or strange to do them in the moment, the overall result of carrying out contrary action started the foundation that I now stand on, and it’s still something I fall back on today when I know I’m in a grumpy mood and my first thought is a negative one, contrary action will always steer me in the right direction.
Here are ten examples of how you can practice contrary action in your day.
1. Give someone a compliment when feeling envious or less-than.
2. Make amends or take responsibility for your part instead of plotting revenge.
3. Take a walk instead of overeating.
4. Take some deep breaths instead of speaking out in anger at someone.
5. Engage in visualizing living the life of your dreams instead of engaging in “morbid reflection” based on personal conditions, world events, or bad decisions in the past.
6. Remember an empowering memory when fear creeps in to hold you back.
7. Doing something just for yourself instead of telling yourself that you don’t have time.
8. Politely decline an invitation instead of going out of false obligation and feeling unhappy, disconnected, or uncomfortable.
9. Go to bed and get some rest/sleep instead of getting sucked into meaningless and uninspiring social media.
10. Lead a conversation about possibilities, ideas, and dreams instead of gossip, rumors, and drama.
When we start to respond to the world differently than we did, our world gets brighter, bigger, and better, don’t allow yourself to fall into old patterns, you deserve more than what you had, and maybe have, and you hold the key to the life you want and dream of. SLAY on.
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you see how old patterns have led you down a dark path? Do you typically respond to situations quickly without thinking them through? What typically is the result of that? How does it make you feel? Do you get the result you’re looking for? Do you often feel bad about the result later? Is the result usually at the expense of someone else? Do you see that contrary action, although it may feel strange, could end in a better result for everyone? List 5 situations where using contrary action may have resulted in a better solution to a situation. Look for ways you can practice contrary action in your day SLAYER, and if you’re unsure, reach out to a friend, they may also benefit from your questions and offer an opportunity to come up with a solution together.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you