Having the skill to reframe experiences, perspectives, and statements is a powerful skill to have. It can help you get the most out of life, and it’s a critical skill to have as coach, teacher, or leader.
Like any skill, though, it has to be used in moderation. When it’s underused, we get fixated on one particular view of the world, but when it’s overused, we become unable to see the world as it truly is. True wisdom comes from being able to see the world as it is — not as we’ve made it to be or as we’d like it to be, but as it is.
At a certain point, excessive reframing becomes a sophisticated smoke and mirrors operation. The real concern is that what’s distorted is not how we see the world, but how we see ourselves.
Pivoting Away From Yourself
Reframing allows you to pivot quickly, since what often gets us stuck is a particular belief or perspective. Once we let go of that belief or perspective, we can shift those bottled-up energies to something that helps us make the changes that we’d like to see.
However, it’s possible to pivot too quickly. Even when we’re Stuck, there are things to learn. Understanding why we’re hurt or scared, for instance, can help us work with and through the hurt and fear instead of developing a coping strategy that’s just another form of hiding and running from those feelings. Since we’re not addressing the cause and instead pivoting away from the effects, those effects will come about again. There are times to defer dealing with the internal challenges, but that debt has to be paid sometime – and it does acquire interest.
Not only does the debt acquire interest, but there’s also a lack of acknowledgment about how you truly feel. Reframing and pivoting away too quickly can keep us from learning to listen to those emotions that start as a whisper one day but become a Big Deal three weeks later.
If your feelings are hurt, they’re hurt. If you’re sad, you’re sad. You aren’t your feelings, and they don’t have to control you; in fact, they can help you. But they can only help you if you acknowledge them for what they are.
Reframing the Lessons Away
Similarly, sometimes we set goals and just don’t meet them. Reframing and pivoting away from the reality that we didn’t accomplish our goals keeps us from asking the really good questions that may help us accomplish the next goal we set. What could we have done differently? What were the external factors that made it challenging, and can we mitigate them next time? Failure can be an opportunity; but if you don’t acknowledge that the goal wasn’t met, it’s hard to learn those lessons.
Furthermore, the more you break commitments to yourself, the harder it is to trust yourself. And, since respect is built on trust, it’s easy to get into self-defeating patterns that lead to a lack of self-respect and self-acknowledgment. Accomplishing meaningful goals takes a lot of showing up and hard work sometimes, but if part of you knows that it doesn’t really matter if you meet your goals, Resistance and the hard parts of life have a much easier time winning.
Sure, you didn’t lose 25 pounds in three months, but you lost 5. That’s good, right? Nevermind that you worked out four times during that period, ate whatever you wanted, and set an unrealistic goal to start with; you can always try again!
You Need Lemons To Make Lemonade
This post started with moderation, and it’ll end there.
Focusing solely on the negative components of life makes you blind to the new possibilities and presents of the present. Reframing and pivoting from the negative too quickly keeps you from learning, growing, and acknowledging your real challenges and strengths.
Lemonade is sour and sweet; without lemons, all you have is sweet water, but without sugar, all you have is a diluted acid. When life hands you lemons, don’t reframe them away.