This image is probably going to trigger some people. I’m sharing it anyway because the point it presents is so important! People don’t give our minds enough credit.
Our mind has a ridiculous amount of power. Whatever you feed it determines the trajectory of your life. I still have moments where I have thoughts in the “don’t” column… often, and I recognize that they will probably never go away entirely.
What I’ve learned though is that I can shift them. When I notice a limiting thought, I actually say to myself something more in line with the “do” column. Framing is everything.
Maybe your current circumstances prevent you from having or doing something now, but you can frame it in a way that makes it seem possible in the future. Maybe you’ve “always” struggled with something in that past, but you can frame it in a way that makes it seem like it can change. Reframing thoughts allows you to look for opportunities and steps to get you closer to what you want, rather than remaining stuck somewhere you don’t want to be.
The examples in the photo are just that, examples. This could look very different from person to person. For me, it often centered around negative self-talk.
If I looked in the mirror and thought to myself “you look fat“, I would mentally correct myself. I would tell myself “you have worked so hard and made so much progress!” I would remind myself of all of the positive changes I’ve made with my health and reinforce that I am not fat and I am doing great.
Let’s say I made a mistake, forgot something, or did something a little thoughtless and thought to myself “you’re an idiot” or “you’re so stupid“. In this case I would mentally correct myself in saying “you may have done something a little dumb, but that doesn’t MAKE you dumb”. I would remind myself that everyone makes mistakes, and those mistakes are not what defines them as a person.
When thinking about my dating history, I could say “I always pick the wrong men“. A more empowering way to approach that would be “up until now, I’ve struggled with accepting less than I am worthy”. This acknowledges the past challenge while also recognizing that I am learning and growing, making it possible for me to change this pattern going forward.
These reframes take only a few seconds to perform, and they are super helpful. Instead of ruminating on the bad feeling or thoughts, reframing helps to shift you into a more positive and empowered state of mind. Call me crazy for talking to myself all you want, but it works!
Who’s up for a fun growth activity?
If you’re open to a challenge, try paying attention to the way you speak to and about yourself for a few days. Notice how you think about yourself, your performance at work, etc. Any time you notice a negative or pessimistic thought, think about how it could be reframed. Keep a journal somewhere of the negative thoughts and the empowered reframes you come up with.
If you have any that came up often or that feel really heavy for you, it may help to put that somewhere visible. You could print the reframes off and keep the sheet somewhere you will be able to see it and read it daily, or simply when it comes up and you need that reminder. You could put them on sticky notes and post them somewhere you see often. If you have a morning practice, you can incorporate reading the most critical reframes into that routine.
The more often you can remind yourself of the empowered reframes, the better. Essentially what you are doing is training your mind to think in a new way. To look for the positive and the possibilities. To keep you open for expansion and not held back by negativity. To step closer to the happy life that you want to create.
If you give this exercise a try, let me know how it goes! I would love it if you shared your most impactful reframes in the comments.