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Monday, March 09, 2009

Tool for Life - Reframing

"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!"

I just saw this quote and of course it made me smile. But then I realized this is the perfect example for a life tool. This tool is a skill you can develop for keeping your mindset positive. It is called "Reframing". You can use this tool for the way you relate to your own life and also how you relate to others.

You get to decide how you want to frame your life and your perceptions. Kind of like when you take a photograph. You choose what to focus on. In life, you decide what to focus on! You decide who is in the picture and who is out. You decide what you want to photograph--you decide what to put energy into, and how you want to do that.

Then once you have taken your photo--or once something has already happened in your life--you decide how you want to view it in your mind. To open up your thoughts on this one, take a minute to understand how a frame on a picture really makes a difference:

If you have never taken anything to a frame shop, now would be a good time to head on out to one just to have a look at how the process works. or check out these websites to see what I mean:
Look here to see ideas of the way things can look in different frames and how many different kinds of frames and matts you can choose from.
Look here to see more framing ideas and notice the way the environment you place your picture in is also like a frame.

So how do you apply this in your life? Let's say you set the goal of hiking up a mountain. At the end of the day, you didn't make it to the top of the mountain. Now you get to choose the way you want to frame the day.
You could say to yourself: Wow, what a great day, I saw wonderful sites, climbed higher than I ever have before, and had a nice time.
You could say to yourself: What a failure, I never even got to the top of the mountain.

What attitude will serve you the best? What attitude will help you enjoy the life you are living?

Here's another way you can use reframing: A child says "I hate you" to his parent. The parent can say to himself "Oh, I'm a failure as a parent!" OR "This kid is tired and needs a nap." OR "What can I do to help my child understand this situation?" In this situation you can use reframing to give another person the benefit of the doubt. You can do that if you're the kid too. Say your parents yell at you "for no reason". It could be that they are actually having a bad day! Poor, poor parents. They are doing the best they can.

And, you're allowed to give your own self the benefit of the doubt too! You are doing the best you can. When you make a mistake (or your parents or your kids or anyone) know that you (and they) are doing the best you can.

Bottom line: You can choose the thoughts and perspective that you want. I hope you'll choose well in ways that will help you grow and find peace.

You can do this!

Aunt Laya

Thank you to and Procrastinator for the great image!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How to say "I'm sorry"

There are a lot of things you might need to say "sorry" about. When you bump into someone or knock something off the table by accident, "sorry" comes a bit easier.

But what if you did something that hurt someone else? What if what you did hurt them physically, emotionally or mentally?

It takes courage to apologize!

It takes a lot of courage to say you are sorry about something. Courage is feeling the fear and doing what is right any way. Even when it feels scary, you can do the right thing.

If you just say "sorry" with out meaning it, it is meaningless. You must mean it.

When you have hurt someone and you are sorry, you have to be clear that you will do your best not repeat what you did. We all make mistakes and for sure we're all going to say stupid things that will hurt others even when we didn't mean to. We have to do the best we can and go from there.

What if what you did or said was not so simple?

If what you did was severe and you need help to stop behavior that hurts other people -- and hurting yourself hurts other people--ask for help. Ask for help until you get the help you need. What ever shame you might feel when you do something hurtful can be healed. First you need to bring light to the dark places. Dark places are shame, pain, hurt--your own and others. Sweeping the pain under the rug doesn't heal it or make it go away. Time will help heal, but not until you clean the wounds. The first step is to feel and say you are sorry. You can say "I'm sorry and I want to ask for your forgiveness." You can say it, you can write it in a note. Just mean it.

Do not expect forgiveness. Lots of things are forgivable. Some things are not so easily forgiven. Sometimes saying sorry fixes things in a relationship. Sometimes the relationship ends for what ever reason. It's still good to say sorry even if you will never see the person again.

Being sorry when you've done something to hurt someone else is a good thing. It signals when we are on track or off course with who we need and want to be in the world. It's a first step at least.

In some situations, sorry isn't enough. Sometimes there are other actions a person needs to take to fix what was damaged. Sorry is a great place to start.

When you do something to help yourself or someone else heal the hurt places, you are bringing light into the world in a real way. That's a big deal.

You can do this.

Aunt Laya

Thank you to ariadna and for the great photo.