Top Skills Thursday: Reframe

I’m going to start today with a visual example to explain why we should reframe things sometimes. The following image is one I took, and I’m going to frame it in two different ways.

In this first image, there’s not a lot to see. Some scruffy grass, maybe a mildly interesting pattern, but overall, not terribly interesting.

Many times, this is how we see our world. Especially if we’re feeling depressed or anxious, we get focused on one small area of our lives or a situation we’re facing.

First, we have to realize, there’s more than just what we’re focusing on. If we shift our focus, we may see something else.

This image is from the same photo as the one above, but do you see how different it is?

What a change this makes! There’s a tree? What happened to the barren ground?

When we shift our focus and reframe, this is what we’re letting our mind do. We give ourselves permission to see more than what we had directly in our sights. We can focus in, and see the details. We can focus on the other side and see their perspective.

We can also step back and see the whole picture.

When you’re facing a problem and feel stuck, try to reframe it.

“Susan is always angry when I ask her a question.”

Reframe: “Susan seems stressed. There must be something going on I don’t know about.”

“That driver cut me off on purpose and then slammed on their brakes! I bet they’re trying to cause a wreck and get the insurance money!”

Reframe: “I should give that car a little space. The driver must be dealing with something that is distracting them.”

“My job is a dead end nightmare. I hate it.”

Reframe: “I want to do something more with my career and I hate feeling like I’m stuck. What can I do to move myself forward?”   OR  “This job would be truly miserable if not for these coworkers. I love my team and I look forward to seeing them at the office.”

Reframing is a powerful tool we can use, not to ignore stress factors or paint the world with rose-colored glasses, but to allow ourselves to take a different view. That shift in perception allows us to engage with others with understanding. It lets us see ourselves, our opportunities, the ways we restrict ourselves, and so much more, in a different way.

Go back to the first image. Think about something in your life that feels like it might be made up of hard-packed earth and a few weeds.

Then reframe it. Do you see the rest of the scenario?

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