Friday, June 20, 2014

The Power of Reframing Your Reality

If you're not familiar with what reframing is, I have a quote from American Actress Shelley Winters that is an example: "I'm not overweight. I'm just nine inches too short."

Why would anyone need to reframe what-is? Reality is what it is, isn't it? Maybe. We know that how we perceive things is how we experience them. This is why two people can see or hear the same thing and respond or react differently. Sometimes, this means we ignore the obvious, perhaps make excuses. Other times, it means the story we tell ourselves causes us to feel bad rather than better. When your attention is primarily on things as they are, or seem to be, you block expansion of what-is and what is possible.

Reframing is so very important because if we don’t put it into practice, we can exhaust ourselves or make ourselves ill as a result of all the opposing thoughts to what-is that we have and repeat to ourselves and others. Our opposing thoughts can, instead, get our attention onto the fact there is deep-level resistance going on about what-is, and it’s likely about something we feel we can’t change or are afraid to change. Viktor Frankl gave us his renowned quote that relates to reframing: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

During the course of a day, or a lifetime, we tell ourselves a lot of things. Maybe we say we can't be happy, confident, serene, or whatever we want to feel until we lose 20 pounds, have a certain bank balance, or reach whatever parameter we place out ahead of us. Will we attain our goals and dreams faster and easier if we delay feeling the way we want to until we accomplish what we aim to? Even if this doesn’t cause delay, why feel bad in the process? We waste time and energy waiting for circumstances and ourselves to be perfect or ideal so that we can feel good “when” instead of feeling that way now. Neale Donald Walsch said, “Happiness is not produced by conditions; conditions are produced by happiness.”

"It is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up." – Steve Maraboli

A good time to reframe is when an outcome is less than we expect or hope for. Times such as these are not "failures," but valuable information-gathering experiences. (Did you notice how the last sentence used reframing?) You can choose to make every outcome or process work for you rather than against you. This may not feel natural or simple, but if you do it, you'll move forward rather than stand still. That is the real power of reframing. “The only thing that ever prevents your receiving something that you desire is that your habit of thought is different from your desire,” said Abraham-Hicks.

Reframing takes us out of the mono-vision we can get locked into. If we look around, we see lots of people enjoying themselves in ways we're putting off until... Do you know anyone who is not a millionaire, but is happy? Do you know any men or women without perfect bodies who are happy and in romantic relationships? Do you know anyone with a health or physical issue who not only gets around, but enjoys as fulfilling a life as possible? One thing can be assumed about such people: they tell themselves a story that is different from what someone else may tell themselves. They are reframing experts. Aristotle advised, “What we expect, that we find.”

Pick something you're putting off feeling better about until you reach a specific outcome. Choose to feel good just as things are and just as you are. This doesn't mean you don't still aim at your desired outcomes, it means you give yourself permission to enjoy yourself and your life right now, and feel and express appreciation, which is the ultimate vibration to send out, whatever the circumstances. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.         
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

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