Positive Spin or Denial? You Decide

A common technique used in therapy is something called “reframing,”  where the therapist helps the client view certain concepts in a different (and usually more positive) way. What’s the purpose of this? Well, we mortal humans tend to see events or situations as being either “good” or “bad,” when most of time, they’re somewhere in between. For example, when we’re in love, we see the other person as being wonderful and perfect. We’re unable or unwilling to see any flaws. On the other hand, when we’re depressed, we experience even neutral situations as lonely and sad.

People seek therapy for themselves because they want to think and plan in new ways that will help them feel happier and healthier – and reframing is one of the first steps toward this goal. After all, if you think everything about your situation is terrible, and you don’t see anything to hope for, you’ll probably be less likely to make changes…because what’s the point, if there’s no hope?

Here are a couple examples of reframing…

“Instead of being stubborn, maybe you just know what you want.”

“You’re frustrated with yourself for feeling anxious, but feeling anxious is a normal and understandable response in your situation.”

It’s also a helpful technique in parenting – just like people get “stuck” on how to help themselves, they can also get stuck on how to handle certain behaviors in their children. Reframing can aid in increasing a parent’s compassion toward her child, and return her sense of being in control. By changing the perspective, it unlocks a new set of solutions.

Here are a couple examples of reframing in regards to parenting…

“Instead of seeing him as bossy, maybe we can see him as a natural leader.”

“The advantage to her hyperactivity is that she’s creative and energetic.”

Reframing is not dishonest, nor does it mean sweeping the core problem under the rug. It truly is just a different way to look at the same situation in order to return a sense of agency.  Of course, this wouldn’t be my blog unless I took something good and useful, and twisted it into something weird.

When I was in high school, I had a yellow shirt that read (in pink sparkly glitter): “I’m not opinionated, I’m just always right.” I cringe now to think about how obnoxious that shirt must have been.  Forgive me, fellow classmates, for inflicting that upon you. But when I push past the regret of early 2000s fashion, I can definitely see the humor in those types of mottos. They allow you to completely ignore any flaw or issue you have, in favor of seeing yourself in a more flattering light.

And I like that.

So I started thinking about some of my own weaknesses and issues, and thought it’d be fun to reframe them beyond recognition. At this point, it’s probably not “reframing” so much as it is just straight-up denial.

Some of my flaws, both before and after I “reframed” them…

 Before:

reframing1

After:

reframing2

Before:

reframing3

After:

reframing4

Before:

reframing5

After:

reframing6

Before:

reframing7

After:

reframing8

Before:

reframing9

After:

reframing10

Before:

reframing11

After:

reframing12.jpg

Now it’s your turn at denial! What do you consider to be your weaknesses? How can you reframe (or twist) these flaws to get a different view of them?

Quote Challenge – Day One

I was nominated by Mark over at Coloring Outside the Lines to participate in a three-day quote challenge. Thanks, Mark! 🙂

Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • Post one of your favorite quotes(different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you

For the first day of this challenge, I selected a quote by Fred Rogers. Don’t recognize the name? Maybe you’ll recognize his graffiti visage:

rogers

You know you’re a big deal when someone spray paints your face on the side of a wall.

Anyway, Mr. Rogers contributed a lot to the world through his educational children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, as well as through his snappy dressing. But my favorite quote of his is this:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

As I’ve described in another post, I try to stay positive – not just about my own life, but about the world at large. Some days, I have to try really, really hard. And when a true disaster occurs, I can feel myself taking on a hopeless, pessimistic worldview. But I try to remind myself of this quote, because Fred’s mom (Mrs. Rogers?) was right – amidst chaos and sadness, there are ALWAYS people who are trying to lend a hand in some way.

Some offer a comforting touch, or listening ear, and some offer a different kind of assistance, such as through donating money. And some of us help by rating the quesos at various restaurants so others don’t have to.

Three people I’ve nominated to participate in this challenge:

  1. Midnight Musings with Megs
  2. Hotmess Memoir
  3. A Kinder Way

A Beginner’s Guide to Optimism

optimism2

I’m a little disturbed by a trend I keep seeing. It’s mostly evident on social media (god forbid), and in the comments sections of yahoo articles (why do I keep reading those??), but does happen in person as well.

What’s the trend, you ask?

Individuals saying things along the lines of, “there are few good people left in this world.”
Or, “I weep for the future.”
Or, “I’m terrified for where our society is headed.”

If you’re one of these people, what exactly got your panties in such a knot? What made you lose ALL hope for the future? I ask this because the majority of people I know who have experienced all the hurts and horrors life has to offer, still see the good. These are people who have witnessed enough pain to make the rest of us think it’d be understandable if they hated the world – and they still don’t. They see strengths in themselves, and in their loved ones, and they would give you the coats off their backs if they saw you shivering.

No, the people who fear the “inevitable” destruction of our society, and the annihilation of our morals, did not get that way by experiencing one too many negative life experiences.

Perhaps these people have jobs and lifestyles that don’t provide a lot of positive social interaction, so they miss out on the good, decent people who are all around us. Some of these lovelies are doing HUGE good things – advocating for human rights, conducting research to cure cancer and AIDS, and ensuring that families around the globe have access to clean water.

Some are doing smaller, behind-the-scenes good things that the world at large may never know about, but that still contribute to the betterment of our planet – becoming licensed foster parents, knitting blankets for animals in shelters, and writing blog posts about cheese  volunteering their time in some capacity.

Surely any naysaying doomsdayers reading this can think of recent times when others were good to you? Maybe your coworker left you a sweet note when you were having a rough day? Maybe a taller person helped you reach something you couldn’t get to in the grocery store? Maybe your roommate let you have the last slice of pizza?

I hope you Cranky McCrankypants can think of something, because the only thing that terrifies me about current society is the idea of living around people who all think our world is wretched and doomed.

And no, remembering that there’s good around us doesn’t make us “Polyanna.” It doesn’t make us naïve. If anything, it makes us human.

Okay, I’m done.

Rather than apologizing for getting a little rant-y, I’ll instead say a “thank you” for reading this to the end. Like a lot of other bloggers, I usually prefer to keep my writing light-hearted and humorous – mainly because it’s more fun for me 😉 But when something a bit more serious is poking at your brain, dying to be written about, sometimes you just have to give in.

A little bit of loveliness to make you feel better about the world