Our world can use some of Rebecca’s reframing.
Need some spin?
by Rebecca Crichton, Seattle, Washington
Actually, just call me if you want a reframe to help with a decision or perspective. For my friend who has decided to hire someone to help with her yard and worries about money, I remind her the workers can use the money. When she says they are friends and don’t really need money, I reply: they like helping you; they feel useful.
Learning to reframe how we see things is not just a trick to make ourselves feel better and allow bad behavior – although clearly it can do that – Did the Devil really make you finish the Ben & Jerry’s pint in your freezer? Probably not. And here’s a bit of advice: Never use the Devil as a reason with friends you want to keep.
The value of reframing is that it reminds us there are ways to expand how a particular action or behavior fits in a broader context. And of course, that context relates to deeper truths: our personality, our culture. I used to quote an anonymous Chinese Sage who said: “We see from behind our eyes.” That was followed by this: “Children believe what they see, adults see what they believe.”
We can’t help but start with where we are and what we have. Growing up with the dictum, ‘Don’t speak unless you have something nice to say,’ has meant I have had to learn to catch what feels like bland approval with a more honest, although not nasty, comment. I still see value in some ‘little white lies.’ When a friend asks for reassurance about a purchase she has made that I wouldn’t have made, I tell her she will enjoy it.
We seem to be wired to see things as either-or, black and white, them vs. us, as opposed to both-and, shades of grey, all of us. If this reminds you of today’s political realities, it’s not by chance.
An old coaching trick is worth sharing: Every time you are tempted to say ‘but’ after something you or someone else says, stop and replace it with ‘and.’ When we force ourselves to expand the discussion with an inclusive word, we allow for new learning and new possibilities. We invite learning. We become curious.
I have lots of ways to ramp up discussions with questions and comments that are more interesting, overall, than the simplistic places we might blurt that are more reflexive and reactive than thoughtful.
We need to be more thoughtful and more curious. We also need to choose hope over despair, but that is another polarity I can speak to another time.