How we feel about the world and us in it depends entirely on how we interpret it. Two people can have the exact same experience and respond very differently to it:
You go for an interview. You don’t get the job. Do you think:
- I’m a complete waste of space, terrible at interviews and may as well give up
- I wish I’d got that job. I’ll ask for some feedback about why I didn’t get it and see if I can improve my chances for next time I apply for something.
I work with people all the time who do either 1 or 2 – yet both have had the very same experience. It all comes down to how we think about the experience.
Lots of people use affirmations to help change their thinking about certain things – particularly around negative thought processes. I have to say that I’ve never been a big fan of affirmations – I find that my brain usually rejects them as being untrue so I end up having a mental argument with myself! Instead, what I’ve found really effective is using the NLP technique of re-framing.
Reframing Negative Thinking
Reframing is simply a way of changing the perspective or context of a problem to allow for a less negative/more positive and hopeful mindset instead.
I’ll give you some examples:
“Today was a disaster”
“Today didn’t go as well as I’d hoped”
“I’ve got a lot of feedback today that I can use in the future!”
“Not my best day! but hey, onwards and upwards”
Or how about this one:
“My boss is always criticizing me. He hates me, the arrogant b*stard!”
“Boy does he give me a lot of feedback!”
“He’s probably not trying to make me feel like I’m a failure – he’s just wanting to get better results.”
“I wonder if he realizes how demoralizing that sort of communication can be? I know I’m not perfect. Perhaps I could talk to him and find out what he’d like done differently.”
Reframing nudges you towards a new, calmer and more helpful perspective with love and a bit of gentle humor. It’s like invoking the wise and sensible part of your brain that tells you the smarter way to look at things when you’re feeling enraged, hurt or bruised by an experience. It’s what really good friends would tell you, or a favorite aunt or uncle. And it’s the voice that tells you that you need to get a bit of a grip when you’ve got a bit diva – Sorry, let me re-frame that! It tells you that the disaster you’re freaking out about really isn’t that bad, that tomorrow will be another day and that ultimately you’re a human being who makes mistakes like everyone else.
And it has the power to make your life a much calmer, kinder and happier one too.