Over the years, as I’ve written and spoken about Fred, I’ve found I am not alone. To varying degrees, most of us have a Fred. I’ve also found most people don’t think about their Fred and live as if everything he says is true! But it is so important to have daily dealings with your Fred because what you think about yourself radically determines how your wife experiences you—and that radically affects your marriage. But I found a proven and simple exercise that keeps Fred from sabotaging your marriage. Here are 2 steps to help you put Fred in his place.
Step 1: Name your Fred.
I want to encourage you to bundle your negative thoughts about yourself and give him or her a name. You can call yours Fred if you like. I’m certain Fred is agreeable to franchising. Or you can give her or him a name that has meaning or humor to you. Giving him a name is one of the most powerful things you can do to battle Fred. It simultaneously makes him more and less important. Naming him helps acknowledge the importance of your thoughts, while also separating those thoughts from who you really are. At the same time, naming him also helps make him a joke, and for many of us, humor heals. Now it’s your turn. Write down the name of your Fred.
Step 2: Write Fred’s messages to you.
Write down some of the negative and worrisome thoughts that come from Fred. Give yourself at least 10 minutes to sit in this question. Don’t hurry past it. If we are going to put Fred in his proper place, we need to know exactly what kind of thoughts we are listening for.