Something extremely hurtful and disappointing happened to me the past week. I don’t want to get into details, but it made me feel rejected and vulnerable.
An event like this is a stimulus that triggers many negative thoughts followed by emotions.
I, however, refuse to dwell on something I have no control over. I immediately made a plan on how I could keep going, and then realized that I also wanted to excel.
The first thing I knew I had to do was to organize and reframe my thoughts. The negative event elicited a high emotional response, and emotions can unfortunately create illogical thoughts, such as, “I’m not pretty enough,” which are not true and/or not helpful. For instance, thinking, “I should have been more polite,” is a constructive thought, because it is trying to make a positive and realistic change, which is controllable. A thought like “my nose is too small or big,” on the other hand, cannot be changed, and is not likely the issue.
The chart below illustrates the steps of how I reframe my thoughts:
After I organized my thoughts, I used my emotions as motivation to focus on new behaviors. I then wrote down achievable behaviors that I could do that science shows can assist in happiness. Some behaviors included exercise and eating healthy foods. I was doing these things already, but I wanted to be more consistent about them and do them more often.
After listing my goals, I suddenly realized that I logically should not feel insecure about myself; what I just did showed character. Screw crying with ice cream in bed- I want to be the best version of myself. A woman who plans her goals and uses problem-solving skills is a woman of value. Even though I had to experience something hurtful, I responded with mental strength by being proactive, optimistic, and determined to stay strong and become my best self.
Melanie J. Wajda