“External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind. It’s ultimately up to us how we greet these things. It’s not always easy, sure, but there is a comfort in knowing it is possible to view any single thing in multiple ways.” Matt Haig, in Comfort.
I love this quote, which talks about the power of reframing, a key tool for living in a healthy way. When you are in distress about a turn of events, you can ask yourself, what am I making this mean? You can then ask, and what else might it mean? If you have three options, you have some choice, moving past stuckness or a dilemma of two alternative perspectives.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to reframe, and we have to consider things from multiple perspectives to gain the wriggle room we need to change our state of mind. You might consider how something looks from someone else’s viewpoint, or as a fly on the wall. You might reflect on how it will seem in a year, or 10 year’s time. You might change the context and consider how the turn of events is a positive, for example a rainy day is good for the gardens even if it means you have change your outdoor trip plans.
A useful reframe uncovers new information that enables us to change the meaning of what is happening. Sometimes it’s the hidden gifts that make this possible, the way experiences offer growth and learning, especially when they are tough.
As Matt Haig says, it is not easy, but I often notice it’s the hardest, toughest situations that seem to bring about the biggest insights and shifts, that’s one of the ways I reframe things when the going gets tough.
What’s the best reframe you’ve used or heard of late?