Is it Time to Reframe the Situation

focus Apr 28, 2022

As I pull out my keyboard to write this morning, I’m feeling imposter syndrome creep in.


Reframing dips into the sphere of therapy. Because you all know how much I love therapy, I'm going to start this post by stating...find professional help if your "situation" is rooted in trauma or something that is interfering with your everyday life.


Sigh, I feel better with that off my chest.


If you're just feeling stuck, keep reading.


Reframing Defined

Let’s start out with a definition of reframing. 


Harvard Stress & Development Lab explains, “Positive reframing involves thinking about a negative or challenging situation in a more positive way. This could involve thinking about a benefit or upside to a negative situation that you had not considered. Alternatively, it can involve identifying a lesson to be learned from a difficult situation.  Finding something to be grateful about in a challenging situation is a type of positive reappraisal. For example, after a break-up you could think about the opportunities to meet new people, the things you learned from the relationship, and the gratitude you feel for the time you spent with the person.”


The following analogy should help make this a little bit more clear for you. Imagine taking a picture. You can zoom in and out on your iPhone or your analog phone, whatever it is. Your photo will look different as a result. If you take a step left or right, the picture will change. You're looking at the same thing from a slightly different angle, but it's still the same thing. The shift, the reframe, can help you move past whatever is getting in your way, whatever the obstacle may be, 


Is it Time to Reframe?

Here are some things to look out for:

  • All or nothing thinking - this is that voice in your head telling you that you blew that last conversation with the mom friend you are trying to win over because you let politics drip into the conversation. 
  • Blaming - placing your problems on someone else or something else rather than taking responsibility for them
  • Catastrophizing - imagining the worst thing that could happen
  • Mental Filters - always looking at the negatives (a quick win if this is you is to create a habit to note your wins each day)
  • Should statements - the words should and shouldn't are like mean girls at school, trying to keep you small and insecure

Does any of this resonate with you?

Let me share a story where my daughter nailed this process. 


Our spring break was spent in a cabin in Tahoe with friends. On our excursion out for an afternoon, the boys were done with shopping before the girls (shocking, I know). Michael jumped into our friends' car and left me to drive my car back.


Jayden's nose started bleeding minutes after they left. Trying to grab tissues from the car, we realized hubby had left with the key in his pocket.


Although high altitude in Tahoe can cause nosebleeds, this one gushed. At this point, I got panicky and made a comment I wish I could take back. “You sure have great timing kid”


My husband turned around and brought us the key as soon as I called. In the meantime, we rushed into the bathroom of the restaurant where we had lunch. It took a few minutes to get her cleaned up (and I'll spare you the yucky details).


Our friends had grabbed the key from my husband and on the walk back to the car my daughter dropped this gem, “actually my timing was perfect, if it wasn’t for my bloody nose the boys would have made it back to the cabin (a 15 minute drive).”


I told you she nailed it. 


She was absolutely correct. My mental filter zeroed in on the negatives: no tissues, gushing blood in public and where the HELL were my keys. She saw the positives: the bloody nose alerted us to the missing keys, everyone spent a lot less time waiting around for those keys to be returned.


Looking back on this now it looks like there was some blaming and catastrophizing thrown in there too.


Now it’s your turn. I want to hear the gory details for what needs to be reframed in your life. 

Grab your freebie!!

You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life.  Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.

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