Reframing helps us see things differently and, as a result, come to different, more empowering conclusions or feelings about the event or experience.
The ability to reframe a situation can provide a new perspective and, with it, new possibilities. Things that seemed impossible now seem possible!
Reframing isn’t about pretending that everything is great. Rather, it offers and invites more and varied ways to consider the problems they are facing and to find new ways to meet the challenges.
Perspective is a point of view; a way of looking at or interpreting a set of events. We all have perspectives about our world and the circumstances we find ourselves in. And it’s your perspective that determines your experience in life, not your circumstances. So while we cannot always change our circumstances we can choose to change our perspective at any time. This a powerful tool to have in life!
Perspective is a little like wearing glasses. Your glasses are silver and have yellow lenses. Everyday you put your glasses on and see the world with a yellow tint. Overtime you forget that your glasses are tinted yellow and you start to believe that the world, through your eyes, has a yellow glaze to it. The trees are not quite green, more autumn in color; the sky is not quite blue but more greenish. You may even think this is due to an increase in pollution or many other possibilities.
Years later you go back to your optometrist and get a new pair of glasses. They ask you if you still want a yellow tint and it is now that you realize you had forgotten that they had a yellow tint. In a moment you decide it is time for something different and so you decide not to have any tint. You pick up your glasses and put them on and as you turn around to see the world you are suddenly taken aback by the richness of color everywhere. Green is so green, blue so blue and the world looks vibrant and alive. Your perspective has suddenly changed.
Reframing Perspectives in Action
Re-framing is an art and when done powerfully, it can change our life in an instant. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking a pause for a moment to reflect on what we’ve said, and what perspective it might indicate. Sometimes the perspective that will work the best for us is radically different to our current dis-empowering perspective, but sometimes we only need to shift perspective slightly to make a breakthrough.
Here are some powerful questions we could use to help discern and reframe our perspective:
- What is the most enjoyable aspect about this?
- If you were feeling resourceful and generous, what might be different about the situation?
- What’s missing here, that if included, will make this situation flow?
- What do you think is the other person’s perspective?
- What can you learn from this?
- In what way is the current situation absolutely perfect?
- What in this situation can you find to be grateful for?
- What are you doing well? What can you do better?
- What is the value of your current attitude?
Here’s a simple exercise you can try to reframe your perspective on a situation – you just need to have an open mind and some fun while trying it out!
Think of a situation you’d like to have another perspective on.
Now answer some of the following questions:
- What would my 20-years younger self would have done differently?
- What would my 20-years older self do differently?
- What would the situation look like if I was as tall as the Empire State Building?
- What would the situation look like if I was as small as an ant?
- What would I do if I had superpowers?
- What would I have done if I was born 200 years ago?
- What would I do if I was from a different [gender, ethnicity, social background, sexual orientation, religion, …]?
- What would my [mum/dad, sibling, best friend, spouse, boss, …] do in this situation?
- What would [Einstein, Rosa Parks, Jennifer Lopez, Minnie Mouse, James Bond…] do?
You can play around and be very creative about it, there is no right or wrong way to see things, you’re just taking another perspective and seeing what comes out!
Have fun and keep changing the glasses!