In neurolinguistic programing (NLP), we use the term “reframe.” Reframing is simply a way to create a mindset shift around something we may perceive to be a problem. Many of us meander through life succumbing to our circumstances because we don’t know there is something else available to us other than being a victim of circumstance.
I’ll give you an example of reframing a problem into an opportunity. When we were living in Hawaii back around 2012, I had what ended up being the biggest reframe of turning a problem into an opportunity. My kids and I were hiking with our family friends, we were nearing the end and perhaps my friend’s son was tired or just having a moment. He was about seven at the time. He turns to my daughter and gives here a stare up and down and mutters the words “YOU’RE fat, Harper!”
I felt the color red run through my body and rage swell up in my chest. I had just watched as my child’s face whittled with detriment. He was her first crush and he’d just seemingly crushed her soul. I was shaking with rage trying to keep composed until we got to the car to leave. A million thoughts were flying through my mind; “he just shattered her body image, is this going to the beginning of a long road of eating disorders?” I held back my mamma bear rage and although I don’t remember what I said to him, I do remember it was very adult and composed and likely something a long the lines of “honey can we choose nice words when speaking to our friends?”
For whatever reason, when I got in the car I had a complete shift in my brain and miraculously pulled the words from my ass that lead our conversation in what would be one of the most powerful directions we could have gone in that situation. We discussed what a healthy body is and how there will always be critics in the world and it’s about anchoring into who we are as a person that will leave us strong like a palm tree in a tropical storm. We talked about compassion for people when they say really dis-empowering things to the people they love and care for. My daughter was able to see her body as strong and beautiful and find confidence in knowing it’s strong and beautiful because she makes healthy choices and stays active and treats it respectfully out of self love.
This post blog isn’t about my awesome parenting skills (though I did feel like that was an “I’m winning at parenting” day) it’s about looking at a situation where our automatic would be to come from self defense and survival. The lion in the wild would have taken that boys head off. Because we’re humans, we have the ability to discern between whether we come from survival or shadow or whether we come from our higher self. We can choose to let our problems become really empowering opportunities and reframe how we react, even in the seemingly shittiest of circumstances.
Though this idea may seem irrelevant when we encounter things like a death or illness in the family for instance, simply practicing reframing and building the muscle on a gradient will actually allow you to see opportunity even in the most catastrophic scenarios. It’s just a tool that you can build your muscle on using, day by day becoming more practiced and better able to weather the storm to see the rainbow on the other side.
Photo Credit @deewaang