“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” Dr Wayne Dyer
I love this quote. It’s the very embodiment of reframing. Dr Wayne Dyer was an author and speaker and very well known for his work in the field of personal development.. He often professed that if we want to live in a different world then we need to change how we see it. Albert Einstein once said that we need to decide whether we want to live in a friendly universe or a hostile one. These view points suggest that our worlds can change simply (albeit not necessarily easily) by changing how we see them. Our experience of the world is therefore a choice.
Let’s view a couple of examples:
Two people are getting a flight from London to LA, Person A is extremely excited, Person B is anxious. Person A is thinking about their upcoming adventure in LA, the places that they will visit, the people that they will see, the great weather and beaches – they can’t wait to experience all of these things. Person B is nervous about the flight, they’re concerned about how safe the flight is, they don’t like the uncomfortable seats and they are worried that they might end up sitting next to a person that they find annoying. These two people are about to experience the exact same thing however how they feel about it will be completely different.
Let’s take a second example:
A team at work are arranging a work night out. Two colleagues are missed off the email communications when the arrangements are being confirmed. They both find out about the night out through another colleague. Person A assumes that it is a mistake and speaks to the organiser who apologises, confirms that it is absolutely a mistake, and adds them to the list. Person B thinks that they have been deliberately excluded, they feel rejected and vow to themselves that they will no longer spend time with their work colleagues. Again, these two people have encountered the same situation but their experience of it is completely different.
How we feel about a situation has very little to do with the situation itself, typically about 5% – 10%, what actually drives our experience of the situation is the meaning that we choose to attach to it.
Therefore, the question that we ask ourselves is: if the meaning that we attach to a situation can differ from person to person, can we change the meaning and therefore change our experience of it, and in doing so change how we feel about it? The short answer is absolutely yes..
We can reframe how we feel about any situation.. How can this be done? It takes practice, it starts with recognising when we’ve attached a negative meaning to something and actively changing it.
The below gives tips on how to do this – it only takes a few minutes to do, and the more you do it, the quicker it becomes:
- Disrupt the thought pattern by questioning its validity. Could there be another explanation? List all other possible explanations – there will almost always be several.
- Review the list and grade the explanations on how likely they are to be true using a test of reasonableness. How reasonable is possibility 1, possibility 2 etc.
- Choose to adopt the most reasonable explanation.
This is very simple but not always easy.. When applying the reasonableness test our minds often want to tell us that our original thought about the situation is the most reasonable.. If this happens go back to step one and question it’s validity – how likely is it to be true and what are the other possible, more reasonable, explanations..
Doing this over time will positively change how you feel about the situations that you find yourself in. Therefore the next time that you find yourself in a situation that you’re reacting negatively to – you can deal with it without becoming upset – you’ll have a calm head and will therefore be in the best place to manage the situation to get the best outcome.
Have a fabulous day xx
Rapid Transformational Coach
Founder of Kirstin Marshall Coaching