"The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it." Chris Pine
Reframing makes the picture different. Reframing is a powerful tool that we have in our arsenals to view our experiences in the ways that we dictate. Reframing let's us craft the narrative, and the story we tell ourselves about our own lives. So much of our lives can be dictated by fear. Fear is paralysis. Fear is a blockade. Fear is holding us back. Fear is not a way to live. Fear prevents us from living. Oh, what our lives could be if we lived in spite of fear. Fear, apprehension, nervousness, and all their dastardly cronies that prevent us for the fullness of life can sometimes be overcome through reframing. We can take a hardship presented to us, and make it small. We can take it is a challenge that will benefit us in the process. We can turn it into something of our own creation. It's taking a bland photo and putting a matte behind it, adding a clear frame, or a rustic wooden one. The frame is just as significant as the image it encompasses. The context we place experiences in matters. Will it be one of grace, patience, and perseverance, or one of wallow, despair, and trepidation? Sometimes, not all the time, the choice is ours.
Shifting our perspectives let's us view the world differently. Instead of obligation, things become opportunity. My supervisor from grad school always corrected me until I got it down from "have to" to "get to." That simple word switch changed everything. Things went from obligatory tasks to opportunities to do. It was a switch from being choraled to taking ownership of what I choosing to do. Choice is liberation. Choice is autonomy. Choice is agency. When we take control of our will, our entire vantage point is altered. We can have a positive outlook on even the most cloudy of storms that lie ahead when we choose that viewpoint. When we are able, we can choose our attitude.
That is not to go down the path of toxic positivity (positivity without context), but it is to say that we can take the mundane and make it profound. We can transform menial tasks into games. We can take soul-sucking experiences to soul-enriching ones. Yes, we're still doing the same thing, but the mindset of how we're approaching it truly makes all the difference. We can make things better by changing how we view things. When we get out of our own head, or even still, get in our heads but move things around for the better, the results can be cataclysmic. Upgrade the boring with music, food, conversation, activity, etc. Add finesse, panache, flavor. Jazz it up. Make it yours. Own it. Reframing takes drab to make it unique, or to our own tastes. It's a reno job for the mind. Take what you've been given, and make your dream house.
Change can be terrifying. The future feels ominous. Leaving the comfort of what is familiar - people, places, spaces, and the like - can be nerve-racking. It can be so easy for our minds to project hardship on to our upcoming experiences. We have to strike a balance between optimism, and nostalgia. We are just as likely to have a positive experience (especially if we intend to) as we are to have negative ones. What makes an experience negative? Is it when things don't go precisely as we imagined them to? Is it because we're learning to be comfortable instead of operating from a place of comfort? Is it because an experience is effortful instead of seamlessly effortless? It's important to celebrate where we've been, the people who have been part of our lives, and who we were. Period. Full stop.
And, and, and, we can reframe to looming future of departing from the familiar as novelty. There is no value ascribed to newness. Why can't we place excitement, light, and inquisitiveness at the center of our new experiences? We have a new adventure coming up. We are up for a brand new challenge. We get to meet new people. We get to try new things. We get to grow in different ways. We get to become even more us than ever before. As much as we are leaving the safety of what/who we've know, we get to explore a new frontier where possibilities abound. What if there is goodness that lies ahead instead of ambiguity? What if there's betterment that's just on the horizon? What if what we've been looking for, or something completely unexpected is just around the bend? I love that.
Been meditating on this whenever I am worried about what is to come. Know that people will love you. Know that people you have not met yet will love you. Know that people that don't even know you exist will love you. In your life, there is love from those you have yet to meet headed your way; and there's people around us now that love us but we may not know. There are people who have loved us and we'll never know. There's always more love than we can ever actually know. Know that. X
Here's some guiding questions to reframe as changes are coming about to go from nervous to hopeful.
Questions to reframe:
- How do I hope to be changed by this?
- Why will this be memorable?
- What do I already have going for me?
- How can I leverage my network/resources & knowledge?
- Who am I? Why does that matter?
- When do I feel most comfortable? Uncomfortable?
- What have I been through before that has prepared me for this?