How often in your lives have you been in situations or looked back on events and experienced a negative response or emotion?
How often have you then faced the same situation or event in the future and instantly assumed you would experience the same negative response or emotions?
William Shakespeare once said “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Any situation or experience we have ever been in during the course of our lives means something personal to us. How we perceive the situation or experience is down to the ‘frame’ we associate with it.
Let’s for example, take a candidate who had applied for their ideal job but is unsuccessful after the interview then apply to the same situation, a positive and a negative frame;
Negative Frame: The candidate perceives the outcome as a failure on their part and subsequently gives up trying to get their ideal job. They associate a negative emotion with the interview process and approaches future interviews with a defeatist attitude.
Positive Frame: The candidate accepts that on this occasion they were unsuccessful. They embrace the situation as an opportunity to learn and better prepare themselves for the next time the situation occurs.
When you change how you look at a situation or ‘change the frame’ you’ll also change what the situation means to you.
This in turn will affect your responses and behaviour to future instances when the situation may occur again.
Reframing is not a tool for glossing over any problems in your life or refusing to accept they exist. It is a tool to give you greater freedom to deal with any negative situations you may have experienced in your past or will encounter in your future.
In part two, we will look at the main types of reframing.