Reframing

I’m tired, so my nose is running and the run on effect of that is (ha! see what I did there?) that when I woke up at 6am this morning I had to get out of bed because the sneezing and nose blowing would have woken DH. So now I’m tired, sitting on the couch, blowing my nose, sipping coffee and trying to do some re-framing.

Have you heard of re-framing? It’s when you take a situation you are not happy about and change how it looks to you so that you can be happy about it.

All the work involved in planning a child’s party becomes part of the joy of celebrating my son’s life (or my daughter’s) and the gratefulness that you can do that.

Cleaning up the living room becomes playing with your house, making it beautiful so everyone can enjoy it.

Maybe you get the idea. Anyway, that’s what I’m trying to do this morning. Trying to forget the fact that my glasses are still downstairs, in the darkened room with the sleeping husband and to instead enjoy the little bit of space alone to start the day. To enjoy the sunrise that I can see from my position here on the couch, to enjoy the cat sitting on the couch beside me (she is definitely enjoying my company, she is purring like mad).

I know there’s a school of thought out there that says that you can ‘think your way rich’ or ‘think your way healthy’ or happy or successful. That all it takes is the right attitude, thinking that you are rich (when in fact, you aren’t yet) and acting like it (not sure how that works when you don’t yet have money) to make you in fact become rich. This is not what I am talking about here.

But it’s tricky isn’t it? Life is not cut and dried, not black and white, although when I was a teen I really thought it was. And so much in life does actually depend on your attitude.

I can’t choose what time I wake up in the morning, but I can choose to greet the day with a smile or I can choose to complain about it to everyone I meet. It’s like DH’s new car, it needs work (yes, already, but no, its not serious) and we can choose to be upset by that, or to be happy that he gets to play with his new toy (he was as happy as a pig in mud yesterday, covered in grease, tools spread all over the carport). We can choose to focus on the behaviour of our spouse that annoys us or on the behaviour that drew us to them in the first place. When we wash dishes we can be grumpy that we don’t have a dish washer or grateful that we had food to eat off the dishes in the first place.

Now I like a good complain as much as the next guy and I got worried for a while that when I talk to my friends I am too negative, focussing on the bad. But I decided that I was just making conversation, talking about things that have happened. I try to watch the tendency to complain though, and make sure I talk about the positives too. Again, it’s not cut and dried. I don’t want to be negative all the time but I don’t want to be PollyAnna either – ignoring any bad and pretending that the world is completely good.

The ‘think your way rich’ type of thinking depends on something called ‘confirmation bias’. Basically your brain sees what it wants to see. You start thinking about buying some red shoes, and suddenly you notice that everyone is wearing red shoes this season. You decide to have a baby, look around, and bam! Everyone’s reproducing like mad! It’s the way our brain is made to work, and as you focus on (for example) becoming rich you notice opportunities coming your way that you might have missed before. Focussing on the good in life doesn’t make the bad go away though. And focussing on the opportunity you are buying your way into, doesn’t remove the debt you just went into to pay for it, or the risk that it could all go belly up. That’s one issue I have with ‘think your way rich’.

Also, I could focus on my own comfort and, for example, forget what the people of Nepal are going through, forget the injustice in the world and become totally narcissistic. I don’t want to do that at all, I don’t want to lose the pity and concern I feel for others around me. But I do want to lose the self-pity that easily occurs in my own life.

So if I choose to be grumpy I’ll focus on the cold, the tiredness of my eyes and the runniness of my nose, but if I choose to find good in the day then I’ll enjoy the sunrise, notice how still the water is in the river and how beautiful the birds sound as they greet the day. I’ll even enjoy the hum of the heater warming up the room.

Making myself accountable to you, dear blog readers, is helping me to choose the good. How’s your attitude this morning? Hope you have a great day, and that no matter what you are going through, you will be able to find some good to focus on.

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