Over this holiday season I have witnessed many positive and negative human interactions. Now that the holidays are over, you would think that things would have calmed down, but that doesn’t appear to be so.
Today while I was at work, there was a ‘fender-bender’ in the parking lot – a gentlemen in a truck backed into a customer’s beautiful red sports car. The customer that owns the sports car is a regular customer at the diner – he comes in almost every day. I had to let him know that his car had been hit; obviously he was concerned and went outside to check it out and talk to the guy in the truck.
When he came back in I asked him if everything was okay, initially he was visibly upset – he started telling me about how well he cares for the car and that there weren’t any scratches on it. But then – before my eyes I saw him mentally reframe himself, he immediately became calmer and told me that It was going to be fine – it’s just a car, nothing that can’t be fixed.
The ability to reframe your thinking is a huge asset. Reframing is defined as framing or expressing something differently. Being able to look at your circumstances in different ways can be a big help. Kind of like the old question of whether the glass is half empty or half full?
Orrin Woodward wrote about reframing on NetworkingTimes.com in a post called ‘Adjust Your Attitude through Reframing’. He says that a person can change either the content or the context of a situation by reframing how he thinks about it. In other words, it isn’t what happens to us – but rather how we think about what happens to us that causes us to feel any certain way.
Orrin says that the way we can reframe a situation is to learn to turn down our negative voice and turn up our positive voice. I like to think about this is a visual sense – many times I will try and picture myself taking off an ugly pair of glasses and putting on a new pair which helps me to ‘look’ at the situation differently.
Learning to reframe your thinking, like any habit, takes time and consistency. But it is possible, and it makes such a difference in one’s quality of life, attitude and relationships.
Another thing that helps to ‘turn down the negative’ is to be mindful of what you are watching, reading and listening to. We all know to make sure we monitor the things that our children watch – but at what age does it stop mattering what we allow into our minds? It doesn’t. No matter how old we are, what we allow into our brains will always affect us and our thinking.
Do you monitor what you allow into your mind?
Are you able to reframe situations in your mind?
How do you look at the bright side?
What challenges do you face when trying to ‘turn down’ the negative?