We don’t have control over a lot of what happens to us, but by reframing your outlook, we do have a lot of control over how we react. You can tell yourself that absolutely everything is horrible and focus on everything that’s stressing you out. Or you can take some care in deciding how you’re going to view something and thus, how you’re going to think and talk to yourself and others about it. This is called reframing your outlook, and knowing how to do it is a key part of not getting worn down by life.
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Preventing a Burnout:
Here’s an example from my life. Over the last year and half I have had chronic back pain. It started in the right hip, then moved into sacrum, then into generalized low back pain. Just when I thought it had finally resolved, my left hip started bothering me. It eventually got so bad that I couldn’t sleep.
I did all the things—I talked to my doctor and my Ob/Gyn about it. Then, I got craniosacral therapy (which I REALLY benefited from and highly recommend for just overall relief of tension and rebalancing). Also, I used some great CBD cream from Therapist Preferred, who full disclosure has been a sponsor of this podcast. I got impatient and sad. But through it all, I told myself the narrative that my Pelvis Was Going through a Beneficial Reorganization. After all, it was during the exact year and a half that my monthly cycle was drawing to a close. It made sense to me that if the organs in my pelvis were going through a major shift, then my pelvis would be too. That doesn’t mean I didn’t try things to help. Finally, I found the right chiropractor and it feels right as rain and has now for a few months. But if I hadn’t had that mantra in my head, I would have gotten a lot more discouraged.
Reframing Your Outlook
So maybe there’s something going on in your personal life that needs reframing. Or maybe it’s the stuff that’s happening in the world at large. Take the Black Lives Matter movement, and so many people, institutions, and statues getting called out as racists. It’s upsetting. It’s hard. But also, only what’s been revealed can be healed. That’s my reframe, it’s a beneficial destruction so that we clear more space for the anti-racist and civil rights progress that has been made to grow bigger and stronger.
Or when our power went out earlier in the week and I had to spend a couple hour emptying the fridge, cleaning the fridge (because turns out that once you take everything out of it you can see how dirty it’s gotten), getting ice, getting coolers, and then reversing the process once the power came on. It was just forcing our hand to take care of something that needs tending to which is ultimately for the best, even if it’s an inconvenience. It’s also a good reminder that life is precious and to be thankful for what we have.
Change the Narrative in your Mind:
These examples I’m giving are pretty low stakes. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Sometimes hurricanes or wildfires or other natural events destroy your house and all your earthly possessions. Maybe you just discovered that your partner has done something you can’t abide. I’m not saying that you should reframe these as positive events. Maybe then the reframe is just taking that “what am I gonna do now?” stance and turn that into “I don’t yet know how, but I know that I will get through this.”
It’s just choosing to adopt a stance that empowers rather than disempowers you. It doesn’t mean you don’t get angry or sad or any number of emotions. Feel them all, but still remember your reframe. This is what we’re doing when we say “It’s God’s plan” we’re using a reframe that makes some sense out of something we don’t feel we can understand. It gives your mind a place to rest, and that rest is what helps you not get completely burned out.
Daily Tiny Assignment:
Your tiny assignment is reframing your outlook on something you’re facing now. What’s a different way of looking at it that makes you feel more at ease about the whole thing? Is something in your life going through a beneficial reorganization? Something getting revealed so that it can be healed? Or because God has a plan even if you can’t imagine what the heck that plan might be? Or something else? I’d love to hear about your reframe—use the Contact Kate button way down at the bottom of beabetterpersonpodcast.com. I’ll keep it private if you like or can share it with listeners on a future podcast episode or in a podcast newsletter.
Of course, there’s a flip side to reframing your outlook, and that’s falling prey to what’s called brightsiding, which I’ll talk about in tomorrow’s episode. I hope you’ll come back for it.