Years ago when I worked with a team of health officials to design and write a Chronic Illness program for a major HMO, we wanted to share stories of people who took what life had handed them and reframed it from one of tragedy to one of hope, anticipation and motivation. These were real people who had come to terms with their situation, took off their glasses of denial and hopelessness and took those baby steps towards a new life.
It is never easy. It takes acceptance, perseverance and a conscious decision to alter our perspective from one of helplessness and despair to one of courage and determination. We start where we are and slowly develop the spiritual, psychological and physical muscles that is needed to start over again.
Today, I still look for stories of people who have weathered adversity, faced incredible hardships, or face on-going limitations. I find within these stories the courage I need to meet the challenges I face that often seem like overwhelming giants. Together, with the clarity, strength and grace from God, these “giants” are reduced in size to “manageable mole hills”.
What does it take to expand your field of vision and reframe your circumstances?
• It takes honesty. Are you willing to be honest with yourself on every level? Are you willing to take off the rose colored glasses and address your fears and vulnerabilities and become comfortable with them? Can you be strengthened in the process of humility?
• It takes a conscious choice. I choose not to be a victim. I choose to take what life has given me and do something with it. I choose to find blessings in the ashes of ruin.
• It takes a willingness to challenge negative thinking. In crisis and pain, old tapes are triggered that tell you, you can’t, you don’t have what it takes, others are smarter, more advantaged, etc.
• It is choosing new self talk that affirms my worth and esteem and accepts both strengths and weaknesses
• It is looking for and finding those nuggets of gratitude and blessings
Reframing puts a different interpretation around what is happening or has happened. It expands our field of vision to see opportunities and possibilities. It takes the focus off of what you can’t do and expands it to all kinds of possibilities. It challenges a negative mindset that says “I can'”t and replaces it with a “Oh Yes, I can”. Then persistently moves forward looking for new creative ways to resolve problems.