Be Straight With Yourself

By Amy Riley

There’s a lot of emphasis today about the power of positive thinking. And I agree that there is great value in this practice. Yet, at the same time, what we resist persists. If we resist looking at negative thoughts and concerns, they will stick around. The negative considerations may even fester and grow as we’re trying to pretend that they don’t exist or will just go away. If we’re straight with ourselves and put our disempowering notions in the forefront and examine them, we have the opportunity to reframe these thoughts and feelings or do something empowering about them.

In my book, Loving the Pregnant You, I recommend this exercise to expecting moms. And, I’d say whether or not you’re pregnant or even a woman, you can take this on about any aspect of life.

It can be useful to put pen to paper and write down the seemingly “good,” “bad,” and “neutral” thoughts that you have about pregnancy, or the issue or situation you’re dealing with. What positive or empowering thoughts do you have? What are you excited about? (And remember, what’s empowering to you, might not be to the next person. So, trust yourself.) It might be, “I’ve always known that I want to be a mom” or “I can handle anything as long as I have a happy, healthy baby at the end.” It’s great to identify these “good” thoughts, and then you can choose to increase your focus on them.

Next, what negative thoughts or concerns do you have? What makes you nervous? Look at each concern you listed and examine it: Is it outside your control and you just need to let it go because worrying won’t make a positive difference? Is there something that you can do to ensure the experience or outcome that you want? Can you look for evidence that your concern isn’t as big as you think it is? Ask yourself: What can I do to put my fears in perspective?

Repeat the exercise with “neutral” thoughts about the subject. Write these out and take a second look to see if they empower or disempower you in any way. Increase focus on the empowering ones and reframe any disempowering ones using the techniques described above.

Again, there’s power in looking at our empowering (“good”), disempowering (“bad”), and seemingly “neutral” perspectives. We can then see where we want to focus our attention to further empower ourselves and increase our positive outlook. It can seem counter-intuitive at times to take a closer look at our negative thoughts and concerns. Yet, if we leave our concerns to run around in our minds unchecked, we might not take the actions that will lead us to what we ultimately want.

Amy Riley

 

Amy L. Riley, MSTD, CPBA, is a skilled trainer, facilitator, speaker, coach and author of the book, Loving the Pregnant You.

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