Reframe to Empower Yourself
by Linda-Ann Stewart
"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus
The way you think about a situation affects your emotions, actions and your ability to find solutions. When you look at a situation from a single perspective, you get stuck in however it's making you feel at that moment. The situation doesn't impact you as much as your opinion about it.
If you're optimistic about being able to triumph over circumstances, then you're empowered and have the ability to respond in a positive way. However, if you feel helpless, angry, or stressed, this closes down your creativity. Negative thoughts about a situation freeze your resourcefulness. Your negative emotions will keep you from being able to take actions that will benefit you. In that case, all you can do is to react in ways you've done before and get similar results.
Shift Your Perspective
However, you have the power to change the way you think about any occurrence. When you look at the situation from a different angle, you open yourself up to new options and interpretations. You can do this by finding a way to reframe the incident.
Imagine you're looking out of a window. You see the landscape from a single perspective. Anything else outside of your view doesn't exist. You might even judge it to be boring or threatening. Once you've decided your attitude towards it, then your choices are limited.
But if you shift your position or your viewpoint in relationship to the window, suddenly you have a different angle on the scene. You notice things you didn't before, such as beauty or support. You've put a different frame around the landscape. Now you have a greater appreciation for what's there and change your conclusions.
Reframing a situation changes where you place your attention, and helps you to think differently about the conditions. When you think differently, you're empowered to make different decisions. Suddenly, a wider world of possibilities is available to you.
How to Reframe a Situation
Reframing also opens the door for the subconscious to seek solutions. Your subconscious can discover new options and opportunities for you. Learning how to reframe takes a willingness to let go of your preconceived notions and entrenched attitudes. But it can pay off by not only making you feel better, but improving your approach to the circumstances.
1. Notice what's upsetting you. The way you think about something causes you to feel an emotion. When you recognize you're distressed, track it back to what you were originally thinking. You may become aware of an outdated idea, attitude or judgment.
2. How else can you look at the situation? Mentally, take a step back from your emotions. Challenge your thoughts and beliefs about the situation. Could there be some other interpretation? Consider a benefit that could come from the situation or what you could learn from it.
3. What's something more positive you can tell yourself about the situation? You choose what you tell yourself about the circumstances. By taking a different inner position on the incident, you cultivate greater resources to make better decisions. If you can't think of anything specific about the situation, use a generalized affirmation. "This, too, shall pass" or "Something wonderful comes from this" are ones I've used with great success.
Make Reframing a Habit
Your old ways of reacting to situations is a habit, but you can create new habits. When a circumstance arises that makes you uncomfortable, practice disputing your thoughts, beliefs and emotions about it. This breaks up old thought patterns to allow you to build new mental pathways that support your empowerment. Eventually, this process will become automatic.
Wayne Dyer said, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
When you shift your position towards an event, you become aware of other options and actions you can take. As your actions change, so will the dynamics in the situation, and generally for your benefit.
Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
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As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.