There is a phrase, “That person rubs me the wrong way,” that basically means the person (though it also could be a situation) doesn’t make you feel good. You, at times, do this with your thoughts (most of us do); so what works to shift this?

Esther Hicks of Abraham fame has a video on YouTube, “Now Is Where All Your Power Is, Part 2,” where she likens feeding negative thoughts—any thoughts that take you out of feeling good—with rubbing your hand on sandpaper. You wouldn’t rub your hand on sandpaper for an extended period of time because it would hurt, remove skin, require healing, maybe lead to infection, and so on.

But, you will rub your thoughts in this way . . . because it’s a habit that seems logical. And, likely, nearly everyone you know does this from time to time. You may have worked yourself, or watched someone do this, into a frothy state of anger or upset—about something that isn’t even happening at that moment, or is long or long-enough over.

A good example of this is replaying in your mind and verbally repeating events you’ve labeled “negative” that happened in the past. How many times will you need to replay and repeat “negative” past events before you’ll feel better about them or change them to “positives” in the present moment? You may even do this when you anticipate negative events that “might” happen.

What does this habit allow you to do?

It doesn’t empower you. It doesn’t allow you to feel appreciation. It doesn’t allow you to feel aligned with what’s good in your life. It doesn’t open you to inspired ideas and creative solutions. It doesn’t allow more good in this specific category to come to you; and if more good does pierce that energy, you may not appreciate it fully.

It does present you with an opportunity (maybe even Opportunity No. 5,798) to ask different questions about it such as: What can I learn about myself from this? If I don’t like what I learn, how can I shift that? In what way does this make me feel disempowered? How can and will I empower myself about this? What does this opportunity allow me to do, and will I do it?

The tendency to use your thoughts like sandpaper comes from knowing that whatever causes you to feel out of alignment, negative, angered, hurt, fearful . . . wasn’t or hasn’t been resolved or addressed—within you—in a way that allows you to feel the way you want to feel. Maybe it is something you can address in the present, and maybe what you need to address is what you’re doing to yourself (and perhaps others) in the present.

You may feel it’s logical to place responsibility for how you feel, or shifting that, onto someone directly involved. How’s that worked for you so far? Maybe it worked in some way (like from manipulation), but do you feel self-empowered? If you give any person responsibility for how you choose to feel, then that person has the power, not you. And, even if you practice this denial of your power, you know it’s not true—because of the resistance you experience.

Here is a way to shift any thought about anything you use repeatedly like sandpaper on your psyche, whether from the past or now:

1. Notice that you’re doing it. Notice what you’re allowing yourself to feel and be by doing it. Notice it without judgment, because self-criticism is another form of sandpaper—a very coarse form.
2. Ask, “What part of this reflects something in me?” You may not like this fact, but anything you harbor resentment about is something you do in a similar way, even though it may appear as different—so “different,” you may not even recognize you’re repeating a pattern you detest in another. This level of self-assessment may not (initially) feel good, but it is extraordinarily powerful on many levels.
3. Ask, “What can I do about this that I will do?” One thing you can do is find something to appreciate about this. You can appreciate that you notice it, that you ask the right questions from a sincere desire to shift and self-empower. You can appreciate how this process leads to deeper understanding and compassion of and for yourself and others. You can appreciate the feeling of relief you get when you empower yourself to stop rubbing your thoughts the wrong way and rub them the right way.

You may also experience challenges about allowing what you say you want into your life. Any thought about what you desire that rubs the wrong way, will slow or prevent what you want coming to you. It’s like saying No or Not Yet.

When this habit surfaces, you can diffuse it with this question: Does allowing this thought pattern support me to move forward, self-empower, and feel the way I want to feel now? If it needs addressing, address it. Otherwise, find and use a thought pattern that lifts your mind and emotions from the sandpaper. The most immediate relief is to stop doing it when you notice you’re doing it.

You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer

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Author's Bio: 

You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say ( Get free empowerment gifts, access the link to her interview about relationships, see which of her books and e-books may meet your needs, and read her current free weekly newsletter at