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The Art of Reframing

“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.”

Nicole Reed

Hi Motivation Seekers and to all the Mums out there, Happy Mothers Day!  I know that will only apply to those in the Southern Hemisphere, but I want to extend the greeting to all of you, as you so deserve it.

We have never celebrated Mothers’ Day in my own family, we always felt that it was too commercial and that acknowledging and loving your Mum doesn’t really need a day set aside to do that.  I know that all my sons appreciate me – that is right guys, isn’t it????

Anyway, I do always think about my own Mother at this time, and I gave thanks for her at church this morning. She  passed away more than 25 years ago, and I probably have only started appreciating her since I took up coaching.  I had always had a difficult relationship with her.  I told myself, she wasn’t the sort of Mum that I wanted, she made my life hard, I didn’t really respect her, I couldn’t get close to her.  Everything that ever went wrong in my life was blamed on her.

The thing is that she was Bi-Polar and was in and out of mental hospitals for all of my life.  I went through periods of feeling rejected and abandoned when I was a child and couldn’t understand what was going on.  However, I know a lot about this disease now and I so admire my Mum.  She struggled on bringing up 6 children to the best of her ability.  When she was herself, she was a loving, kind, gentle person and I learnt so much from her.

Why couldn’t I see that all those years ago?  I was looking through a different lens.  The one I was looking through was a “poor me” lens, that meant I couldn’t see the good in this situation.  Years later, through coaching I learnt to reframe how I saw it.  This is something I work on frequently with clients, it’s about helping them to see the good that may have come out of bad situations from their past.  If they can do that, their whole perception about events and relationships can change dramatically.  Even better, this massively changes how they feel about themselves,  helps them to move on and stops them getting stuck in limited thinking i.e. “poor me” or patterns of behaviour that don’t serve them well.  That’s got to be good, hasn’t it?  I have an exercise for you to try:

How to reframe a bad situation and/or relationship

Step 1 – Look for the positives.

Look for the positives from this situation.  What are the gifts that you acquired through this?  Can you identify character strengths that have come directly from this situation?  In my case, the situation with my mother is probably what brought me into coaching.  I have huge empathy for others, especially people who are struggling and/or unhappy in life.  I am driven to want to help others lead their best lives and move on from their past.

Step 2 – Acknowledge the gifts

I doubt that I would have discovered all that without my Mum being the way she was.  I doubt that I would have become the person I am today without having the experiences I had with a mother with mental illness.  I am sorry that she had to go through so much, but I am so thankful that I learnt so much from her.  Acknowledging your strengths received from any bad situation is very empowering.

Step 3 – Forgive the person in the bad situation

This is huge.  Being unable to forgive is one of the main reasons people go through life feeling hurt and unhappy, or unable to reach their potential.  Ironically, the person who is hurt most by an inability to forgive, is not the one who wronged us, it is ourselves that are hurt most by this.  I know this is a big ask for some people.  Particularly those who have had some form of abuse against them.  However, it is necessary to be able to release ourselves from this.  You can express forgiveness to the person, to the situation, to another person you trust or to a higher power.  Just whatever it takes to help you move on.  Remembering the gifts in Step 1 helps in this.

I hope you have found this helpful.  Reframing is an extremely powerful way of taking control of your life, taking responsibility for yourself and giving up feeling sorry for yourself.  So often, it is these very things that keep us stuck and unable to achieve the life/career or business success that we so desperately want.  These are all available to us, we can be, do and have whatever we want when we let go of the things stopping us.  So give the reframing exercise a try and have a brilliant week and a brilliant life.