Reframe Your Thoughts for Healthy Self-Esteem
If you reframe your thoughts, you develop healthy self-esteem because self-esteem is all about the way you look at yourself. So, one of the best tools to practice in this journey is the ability to reframe a negative thought into a positive. Learning to change your point of view is key in your effort to build strong self-esteem.
This week I had to reframe my thoughts about my efforts to become the person I want to be. I often write about my belief that having a set of well-defined life goals helps me every day to make decisions, to stay motivated, and to create plans that will hopefully lead to achieving my personal vision of success. Sometimes, like everyone else, my plans fail.
For much of my life, poor self-esteem kept me stuck believing that if my plans failed, I was a failure. Learning to change my point of view and reframe my thoughts helped me see that every failure was in fact a lesson that would help me eventually achieve my goals. Today I want to share the power of this lesson.
Reframe Your Thoughts When You’re Faced with a Failure
We all face failure at times, and learning to reframe your thoughts at these points is important to maintaining your self esteem. I’m facing a failure right now, and I’m reframing how I think about that failure to remain healthy. You see, one of my life goals centers on being a good citizen of the world by working to sustain our ecology and avoid damaging the environment. It’s not one of my primary goals like remaining self-supporting and independent or maintaining the best health possible, so it’s not often in the forefront of my mind.
I have a commitment that I’ve kept for over a decade of giving up one disposable item and replacing it with an eco-friendly one each year on Earth Day. Over the course of time, I’ve stopped using paper plates and cups and plastic utensils. Last year it was plastic straws. This year it was to be paper towels. I had a five-roll pack in the pantry when the pandemic began, and I was sure it would be the last one I would buy.
I did my best to prepare for this change by creating a stash of reusable cloths, remembering that my mom always had a bag of rags under the kitchen counter for this purpose. But I just put my last roll in the dispenser and only months after Earth Day, I am faced with the fact that my effort this year is failing.
As a young adult, I had a quote from Star Wars hanging in my cubicle. It said « Do. Or do not. There is no try. » It sounded a lot like my father, and I admit that I still channel Dad when I’m faced with something unpleasant that must be done. But nowadays I’m a lot kinder to myself, and I’ve replaced Yoda’s wisdom with that of Dr. Wayne Dyer, a famous author in the field of self-development and spiritual growth. « Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. »1 It’s a powerful statement, based in quantum physics of all things.
Reframing Your Negative Thoughts Creates a Positive Perspective
When I learned to look at a failure as a lesson to help redirect my efforts instead of as a reason to beat myself up, not only did my self-esteem grow, but life’s journey became more interesting. I didn’t have to be afraid to try and fail. Instead, I learned what worked best for me and what didn’t. It was a way to explore and accept my individuality, because I realized that things that worked for others didn’t necessarily have to work for me and vice versa. All I had to do was to try another method of reaching my goal and figuring out what that might be kept me engaged in a positive way with my life journey.
I still haven’t figured out how to reshape my efforts to give up paper towels, but my new philosophy keeps me from becoming mired in a sense of ineffectiveness. I’m sure there are options and I will figure them out in time. I feel strong that I can continue to strive in the face of failure. Sometimes I come up with a new path to try, and sometimes I must tweak my goal or break it down into tinier steps, but my self-esteem will stay strong because I am still pointed at my destination.
Your self-esteem will grow when you learn to reframe your thoughts in a positive way and take the point of view that you are worthy of the life you desire. Convince yourself and the battle is won. How do you react when your plans fail? Does making a mistake throw you off course? Share your story about how changing your point of view keeps your self-esteem healthy.
- Dyer, Dr. Wayne W., « Success Secrets » , Wayne’s Blog, October 2009.
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