Reframe your thoughts and take back control of your mindAug 29, 2022
I was never a negative person……until my fertility journey. I was always a glass half full kinda gal, and saw the best in every situation.
I think that was why infertility was so hard (ok, there were many reasons). Because it changes us. And while we’re told all the time to see the positive changes you’ve made and seen as a result (and it has) – the strength, the determination, the resilience. We can’t discount that in some cases, it changes us for the worse too.
That innocence of our knowing that the odds are always stacked in our favor, is tarnished. The idea that hard work always equals results, becomes a load of bullshit. And the concept that we are in control of everything that happens in our life, is blown to pieces.
For a lot of us, we lose our identity and our purpose. We can no longer recognize the thought patterns that are happening inside our head. We feel like they are outside our control, because they come in thick and fast. It’s like our minds have been hijacked, and we’re strangers in our own bodies. We’re jaded and bitter. And are always expecting the worst.
If this is you, you’re not alone. There were moments on my fertility journey when I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me in the mirror. It’s like I didn’t exist anymore. And I was so ashamed of who I had become.
But here is what I wish I had known back then.
Firstly, we are not our thoughts. I want that to really sink in for you. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you become it. And it’s the same with our emotions. You are not angry – you feel angry. You are not negative – you are having negative thoughts. It’s important to create that distance between who we are, and our thoughts and emotions.
When we do that, it’s not so hard to imagine change. Because we don’t have to change who we have become, or who we are. Because you’re still you and you’re still amazing. We merely need to change the thoughts (which in turn changes the emotions) we have.
This distance can also stop you from punishing yourself for “becoming” a bad person. You’re not by the way. It’s just that the longer you’re on this journey, the more negative thoughts come up.
It’s important to remember that a lot of these thoughts are fear based. And you have a right to be scared, because this is really important. So, it’s essential that you show yourself a little compassion, instead of berating yourself for having them in the first place. You’re human, and this journey is sooooo freaking tough.
Now that we’ve sorted that out, how do you reframe your thoughts?
And no, it’s not a matter of saying to yourself – I just have to be positive or hopeful, or say the opposite of what I’ve been thinking. Because that’s fake, and I’m sure you’re sick of faking it by now. It’s important that you change the thought pattern to something that feels good to you.
The first step is to create a level of awareness. A lot of the time, we don’t even notice the thoughts that are coming up for us. They eventually become the white noise in the background. But even though you may not be conscious of them, your body is reacting to them. Your thoughts create an emotion that you feel inside you.
For example, if your thought is – This is never going to happen for me, I’m never going to have a baby. You may not notice it because it’s running on a constant loop in your subconscious, however you may wonder why you’re feeling like everything is so hopeless. You may be feeling disheartened, and your shoulders may even be hunched over.
So in order to make the change, we need to know what the thought is that’s driving it. Go to the root cause, rather than just putting a band aid of toxic positivity and gratitude over the top.
A great way to create awareness is to get out a notepad and write down all the thoughts you’re currently having. Then as things come up during the day – when you feel an emotion bubble up, ask yourself – what am I thinking right now?
Once you know what your most common thoughts are, let’s take it one set further and identify the consequences of this belief. What happens as a result of having this belief? Ask yourself, Because of this belief, I……..(and complete the rest).
For example, This is never going to happen for me, I’m never going to have a baby. You could say -
Because of this belief, I………am in a constant state of sadness and defeat. And when I feel like this, there is a lack of motivation to do anything. When I’m not motivated to exercise or eat well, I not only lack energy, but it puts me in a deeper level of hopelessness. I don’t like feeling this way, because it makes me feel weak and like a victim.
Next ask yourself – how would I feel without this thought?
In our example, if I didn’t have this thought, I’d feel less pressure and panic and fear. And as a result, I’d feel a lot happier and lighter. I’d feel more positive and hopeful.
The next step is to question and challenge this thought. Is it actually true? Where can you find an example of the opposite? Become your own devil’s advocate and really question the validity of this thought.
Working with our previous example – I have no idea whether this is going to happen, therefore that statement isn’t true. I don’t know either way. Other people have babies all the time, and I know there is nothing specifically wrong with my body. I’ve been pregnant before, so I know it’s possible. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do IVF, but I did. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to run a half-marathon, but I did.
Once you’ve come to the conclusion that there are half-truths and holes in your thought, the final step is to reframe it to something a little more helpful.
With our thoughts, we can change the goal. Instead of reframing them to be positive or hopeful, we can reframe our thoughts to stay present. What are the facts right now? For example – I don’t know if I’ll have a baby, but I’m doing everything to make it happen.
Now, when we’re talking about thought patterns and self-limiting beliefs that have been escalating over the years, it’s not a matter of “just change your thoughts”. It’s a gradual process of being kinder to yourself, creating the awareness, going through the process, and choosing better thoughts.
And it’s not a once and done exercise either – it’s continual work. But I promise you, it’s worth it.
Because while you may not be able to control a lot of things on your fertility journey, you do get to choose your thoughts and whether you believe them.
And there is nothing wrong with you, it’s just your thoughts.
You’re amazing xx
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