How do you frame your picture of the situation?

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In life we have choices about how we see situations.  How we frame the picture of the world can make a huge difference in how we feel and behave. Reframing our view can move us from feeling stuck in emotional reactions -to being in a place of awareness, acceptance and action. It is a valuable tool for living in a positive, satisfying way.

Have you ever gone to a framing store with a photograph or painting? As you tried out different frames you notice that one made the picture looked darker, another made it look more vibrant, another made it look smaller, etc. How we frame situations that occur in our lives can truly change how we see them and therefore how we behave.

Many folks see the world from a place of “lack” –we have limited time, money, resources.  We think, “If I only…then life would be good…I’d be happier… etc.” When we change the frame we put around something– when we notice what we have instead of what we do not have for example–we change our reality–and where we put our attention is where our energy flows.  Suddenly the picture is one of fulfillment. As you change the direction of your attention–your energy– your behavior, feelings and responses will change as  well.

You may have heard the story about the two shoe salesmen who  were both sent off to a foreign country to look for business opportunities. On the first day in the country the first salesman phoned his offices and demanded that they immediately fly him back home as “no one in this country wears shoes“. The other salesman phoned his offices to demand that they immediately sent over as many pairs of shoes as possible because “no one in this country wears shoes.”

Another example is about a university student who broke his leg during summer vacation. He was crestfallen because he could no longer play tennis with his family and friends. A few days later he realized that he had the quiet, alone time to learn how to play the guitar, something he had always wanted to do but had been too busy to attempt. He then discovered he had a great aptitude for music and became a decent guitar player by summer’s end. One year later he changed his major to music. After graduation, he embarked on a successful music career. Years later, his friends recalled how unfortunate his leg fracture was that summer. His response was “ breaking my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me!”

Consider practicing!! Reframe the following:

· I only finished 7 things on my “to do” list .

· This work is very difficult.

· I have way too much on my plate.

· My recent evaluation was horrible. I’m not sure that I will have a job next week.

· I have 400 e-mails waiting to be read– I am overwhelmed.

What we understand from this kind of practice is that if we perceive something as a liability, that’s the message we deliver to our brain. Then the brain produces a state that makes it a reality. If we change our frame of reference by looking at the same situation from a different point of view, we can change the way we respond in life. It can mean the difference between feeling impotent and stuck to feeling powerfully at peace!