Events are just events...
They have no meaning until we allocate meaning to them. We do this by filtering our experiences according to our beliefs and values formed from our individual upbringing, together with cultural and social exposures. Hence we create our own reality based on how we choose to think about what happens in our lives.
The meaning we allocate to an event depends on the frame we put it in. When we change the frame we change the meaning, and when the meaning changes we alter our behaviour and response.
In the story about the meaning of events Lottie felt upset about Sarah’s behaviour until another frame – a different perspective or way of thinking – was presented to her. This opened up the possibility of a different reality, one that was clearly much more helpful to her than her current one.
Being open to alternatives
Reframing isn’t about making everything positive, however, but about providing new options and choices to open up the possibility of different realities and different models of the world around us. Having more options can provide better opportunities for achieving workable solutions and results, and may shift us into seeing possible advantages to an experience that may at first appear to be problematic.
Diana had been diagnosed with a very rare form of endometrial cancer and her family was devastated. There wasn’t much scientific knowledge about this kind of cancer and treatment options were questionable. But Diana had a different reality. “I feel so special,” she said. “I’m getting so much attention and care from the consultants and I know that can only be a good thing right now. I feel very empowered by the care I’m receiving and I can honestly say that, for the first time in my life, I’m taking care of my needs and living every moment to the fullest.”
“Misfortune is a point of view.”
There are two main types of reframing – content and context