If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I'm a big believer in reframing. But you may not know exactly what reframing is.
I'll let you in a little secret: Reframing is the most powerful tool you can have in your life.
It's how you can sleep at night in spite of worries. It's how you can feel at peace, even though the world may be falling apart around you. It's how you can grow from those less than pleasant things in life. And it's how you can find hidden meanings and possibilities that are meant just for you.
Let's start off by explaining just what reframing is. We're going to start with this pic. It's my precious fur child, Toby. And his photo needs a home (AKA “frame”).
Hmm, so after digging around in my collection of picture frames, I came up with some possibilities. Here's one:
This frame is so cute (but not as cute as Toby- can you tell I'm a proud mama?). So let's see how Toby's photo looks in this frame. Cute dog and cute frame. What do I have to lose, right? Here goes…
What do you think? Separately, they are both adorable. But together, it doesn't go together like peas and carrots. It doesn't look completely awful, but honestly? It's not great. Cute flip flop frame + cute Pembroke Welsh Corgi = a mismatch
So let's try another one…
Ooh! Much better! I like this combo. It works. Cute frame + cute dog = a good combination!
Even though this one looks good, I wonder if there may be an even better fit for the cute dog in a frame. Let's try this one:
Ahh! Do you hear the angels singing? I do. I this frame with this pic! THIS is the right FRAME!
Reframing in life works an awful lot like finding the right frame for a picture. The picture represents the situation in your life. It could be your job, your relationship, your friends, your bank account, your health, or (insert what I left off here). The frame represents your view of the situation and what it means to you and in your life.
So, if you have your dream job (picture) then you frame every day you go to work as inspiring, exciting, and stimulating (the frame). That doesn't mean there aren't some hard days in there. But overall, you feel great about your job and that carries over into your life.
If you have a job that you hate, then it's a drudgery. It's hard to get out of bed. You may have a pit in your stomach every day and feel anxious, nauseous, and tense until Friday when you get off of work for the weekend.
Reframing lets you change the way you look at something that's less than pleasant. It's kind of like finding the silver lining, but not no cheesy. And much more helpful.
So how can you reframe a job that you aren't in love with? Here are some possibilities:
- I have a job that pays me enough money in this really bad economy.
- Even though I hate my job, I hate great job security (as long as I don't outwardly show my distaste for it).
- This job is helping me to get through college until I can be closer to making my BIG dream happen.
- Despite how much energy this job takes from me, I am THRILLED to be paying off my debts.
- I am learning SO MUCH about how to be a great leader and future boss by learning what not to do.
OK, so this gives you a little bit of a start. The more specific you are with your worry, the more this helps. There will be more posts about this (s0 stay tuned). But, here's how reframing works it's magic.
Your brain, like mine and everyone else's, is wired to go negative. So if there are two possibilities, one being positive and the other being negative, your brain will so negative without even trying. Reframing does two things:
- Instead of looking at things in terms of black and white, it allows you to start seeing the shades of grey (and there are way more than 50 shades BTW). Most of your anxiety focuses on black and white possibilities. The reality is most of life is really lived in the grey zones.
- It gives you back control of your life. When you focus on the bad things (and the bad possibilities), it takes away your freedom to decide your destiny. You sink back and give in to the negative possibilities instead of tuning in the positive things that could happen.
- It actually shifts your thinking and even does some “rewiring” in your thoughts.
- It increases the likelihood of positive things happening. Sometimes you go into a party or a meeting or a job interview and think, “This is going to be awful.” And usually, it is. But if you go into that same exact situation with the thought, “This may not be so bad afterall. Heck, it could even be fun!” then you usually have a much better experience than you would have.
Reframing is a pretty simple idea. But, it can be much easier said than done. And, it can take some practice for it to really pay off. When I've introduced this idea to some of my clients in the past, I have gotten some really quizzical looks. Now, they have some pretty fantastic lives.