When fog settles in visibility lessens. Ordinary objects become distorted, perception is askew and navigation treacherous. Some souls have been lost at sea or driven over a cliff.
The same is true on the road of life when emotions cloud one’s vision. Annoyance become paramount, perception is out of kilter and course-plotting underhanded. Jobs are lost, relationships are harmed and happiness is illusive.
Where you are is where you are. The meaning you give to where you are is your perception based on the meaning you attach to where you are. Anxiety is the body’s response to thinking and feeling. When one makes a clear distinction between the event and the meaning given to it, one is better prepared to handle the realities of life.
Example: Driving on an unfamiliar road one may think, “I don’t know where I am.” “I’m lost.” You feel you should have gone another way; that you should have stayed home, that this road is too dangerous. Your body is tense and anxiety sets in.
Reframe: Distinguish between event and the meaning it warrants. “I am unfamiliar with the road and the surroundings. I am a good driver and will navigate cautiously. I will slow down and arrive alive. It is okay to be a little late.” Tension abates.
Example: You are told what to do when you already know what to do! You begin to mind read; “You think I am stupid.” “You think you are so smart.” “Get off my back!” You feel judged and criticized. Your body tenses as anger rises and hard feelings compound.
Reframe: "He/she means well. Maybe they know something I have overlooked or have not yet learned. Either way, I will respect their input and treat them with civility." Calm is restored. Relationship remains intact.
Example: A botched performance. Meaning attached, “I am a big goof. I ruined the entire event.” “People are placating me.” Feelings attached are discouragement, despair and failure. Body’s response is tight muscles, headache and depressing.
Reframe: Make a clear distinction between event and the meaning you give it. “Even though I messed up a little I gave some salient points. I am learning to be a presenter and will do better the next time.” Let yourself off the hook. Be able to receive compliments.
All day, every day four things are happening simultaneously:
1) the event
2) your thought regarding the event
3) your emotions associated with what you perceive about the event
4) your body responding to how you see, think and feel about the event
Reframing helps you to see what was not clean when clouded by emotions. Reframing takes you to a detached position where you might be able to see what a bystander would see (about the situation as well as about you).
Rethink and let the sunshine reflect a better light on success, relationships and happiness.