Imagine for a moment that I have my magic wand out…you know the one.
Today I’m going to take it and wave it around and give you a gift. It is a speaker that will take your thoughts and amplify them so everyone around you can hear them. But don’t worry, it will ONLY use the thoughts you have directed at yourself. That cutie on the bus you see every day on the way to work will never know you think their smile is amazing til you tell them yourself.
Just take a moment and let that sink in okay? The voice you use to speak to yourself is going to be out there for everyone to hear.
What’s that going to be like? What will people hear?
- why is my life is so hard?
- get your shit together will you?
- oh my god what is wrong with me?
- I can’t believe you said that..ugh
- I’m going to fail this test, I just know it
- she hates me for some reason, I don’t even know why. What’s wrong with me?
Stuff like that?
So my next question would be ‘how long til the guys in white come to gently take you away?’
I mean really, if we were out there talking to ourselves so that others could hear us, they’d wonder when our mental state crashed right? Neglecting of course that almost everyone is having a rather similar conversation in their own heads.
Or goodness, imagine if we were walking around talking to OTHER people like we talk to ourselves! How awful sounding would that be?
Not so great right?
Okay, so at this point I’m sure you’re wondering what you can do to avoid the padded room or more importantly crushing your own self-esteem and instead begin creating more self-love.
Don’t worry, I’ve got ya!
I want to teach you a very simple tool called re-framing. Here’s how it works.
You need to identify the thoughts that you want to transform. This can be the toughest part for many of us when we first get started on our journey of self-development and self-love. We are so used to these thoughts that we barely even notice them.
Still, words and thoughts are powerful and help shape the way we experience our life. Often after I teach this tool to my clients I will ask them to re-frame a comment or thought they’ve shared out loud. Sooner or later they are quickly recognizing when they need to do this for themselves and will laughingly say ‘hold on, I know, I know…re-frame’ It’s part of the process to internalize.
Challenge the thought. How TRUE is it really? It is the only truth? What other possibilities? Go ahead, disagree with the thought!
Remember, you are not your thoughts. You are simply the one noticing them. Just as you don’t have to believe or accept all the things other people say, you do not need to believe or accept all the thoughts you have.
Choose a new thought to replace the old one. This is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives. This doesn’t mean lying to yourself or pretending that issues don’t exist. It does mean being kinder, gentler or flipping over to a new perspective that serves you (and ultimately everyone) better.
Need an example?
Now keep in mind this is simplified and if you need some help learning and practicing this tool let me know and we can set up some time to work on that together.
- Thought “I can’t believe my idea totally bombed at the meeting. I’m so stupid. I should just shut up and keep my dumb ideas to myself so I don’t look like a fool.”
- Challenge “Wait, I’m not stupid. No one laughed at my idea. It’s just not going to work because of XYZ reasons I didn’t know about yet. I’ve had lots of ideas and opinions accepted, used and well thought of. That thought wasn’t true. I’m just feeling worried I looked bad”
- Re-framed thought: “I’m so grateful that I have so many creative ideas, but hey, you win some, you miss some. I wonder what I’ll come up with next to wow them?”
As you can see, I haven’t changed my situation. I’ve changed my experience of it. That has made all the difference to how my energy, flow, creative thought and stress levels are being managed as well.
You can do this too. Like I said, it’s simple – but it does need practice! The good news is that as awkward, goofy and even fake as it might feel at first…it gets real, really fast! Let’s face it, the re-framed thought FEELS better. Feeling better is what we all usually enjoy more than feeling bad right?
You might even have to re-frame the same thought a number of times to create a new one. It’s like creating an override you know? It takes a bit but it will happen. Just keep noticing, keep challenging and re-framing it. Suddenly you’ll notice you barely have to think about doing the steps. And then, you’ll notice the old thought has retired!
Let me know in the comments below of a thought you have that keeps niggling away at you and how you’re going to consistently re-frame it so it doesn’t show up anymore.
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