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How to reframe your thoughts about "what is"

Sep 15, 2009

In the last newsletter,"How to live in the present with a sense of joy", I mentioned reframing our thoughts from negative to positive about "what is" as one of the ways we can learn to live in the present in a joyous way. There is a definite trick to doing this and often requires us changing something that is truly a negative into a positive in our minds.

First we must believe the concept that no matter what happens, no matter how negative an event or problem seems, there is always a positive element to it. There is always a positive truth to it. And we must see and choose to focus on that positive truth even if the positive truth accounts for only 10% of the truth and the negatives account for 90%. Focusing on the positive truth instead of the negative truth is how we will change how we feel from bad to good. Focusing on the positive truth is how we will learn to live joyously in the present.

Let me give you some examples of reframing our thoughts to the positive truth.

Example#1- We have had a problem in our life that has brought us pain and/or inconvenience. We can't get over how it has affected our life and what we see as the unfairness of it. We feel it should never have happened to us. We are obsessed with wishing the problem would just go away.

We instead could choose to reframe our thinking to the positive in one or more of the following ways:

a.We accept that problems are a part of life and we will never be free of them.

b.We learn to expect problems instead of resenting them.

c.We accept that sometimes, or often, life will bring us a problem that we don't deserve and know that everyone gets their fair share of them.

d.We focus on what we have learned from the problem and decide to be happy about our increased wisdom.

e.We focus on how we may have contributed to the problem happening and feel more empowered to prevent the problem in the future. This is different from feeling that we have failed.

f.We are thankful for the opportunity for growth that the problem has brought us. We understand that it is through coping with problems that we grow and become better people.

Example #2- Someone in our life has greatly disappointed us and/or hurt us and we hold a lot of resentment towards them. The resentment and anger that we hold towards them is only hurting us. We are essentially giving them the power to hurt us further by holding resentment towards them.

Instead we choose to reframe our thoughts to the positive in one or more of the following ways:

a.We are thankful to the person for teaching us to take better care of ourselves and set better boundaries.

b.We are thankful to the person for teaching us to pick better friends.

c.We are thankful to the person for giving us the opportunity to practice forgiveness.

d.We recognize that our greatest torturers in life bring us our greatest gifts because they bring us our greatest lessons. We accept that we should be thankful to those that hurt us because we can choose to take what we learn from them and empower ourselves.

Example #3- We are anxious and worried about the outcome of something over which we have little or no control. We fear the unknown.

Instead we choose to reframe our thoughts to the positive in one or more of the following ways:

a.We do everything that is within our power to bring about our desired outcome and accept that we can do no more.

b.We decide we will accept the "what is" of the future that we can't control.

c.We decide that however events turn out in the future is how they are supposed to be.

d.We anticipate the opportunities that will come from future uncontrollable events.

e.We make a plan in preparation of things not turning out how we would like.

f.We decide to not be rigidly attached to one outcome.

g.We learn to love the unknown and the endless possibilities that it will bring us.

h.We recognize that we are more empowered and will flow through life more gracefully and happily when we can allow life to guide us rather than us trying to control all future events.

i.We choose to believe that no matter what the outcome, there will be a positive result.

Just remember, there is a positive truth to everything and we have a choice whether to focus on the positive or negative.

Lorraine Watson

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