There is a parable that goes like this. A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, "That's bad news." The farmer replies, "Maybe." The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news? Maybe. The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg. Bad news? Maybe. In a week or so, the emperor's men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer's son is spared. Good? The story could go on alternating good and bad, so I’ll stop here with good news. You get the picture. 

Frame Purple Blue with Scene

Basically it comes down to the meaning we assign to people, places, things, and experiences. If you live long enough, you might become convinced that the world contains a lot of illusions: what is deemed good today will be deemed bad tomorrow and visa versa. 

A lovely saying is “if you are going to laugh at this someday, you may as well laugh at it now.” Likewise, if you are going to change your meaning on something someday, you may as well change it now. If it better serves you.

How do you do this? Perspective. There are three ways to change perspective on an experience. One way is to change the point of view. Another way is to change the category in your mind in which you’ve placed an experience, typically the ‘good' or ‘bad' category. The third way is to change the scope of space and time.

A reframe is the second way, a shift in category. It is desirable to change things in a ‘bad’ category into things in a ‘good’ category. There are three reframe requirements. One, be open to being surprised, tickled, and/or curious. Two, apply reframes only on yourself. Three, settle for nothing less than the feeling in an a-hah.

Here are some of my favorite reframes.

  • Depression (bad) is a stop sign (good for safety reasons). Look around and resume instead in a new direction that excites you. I have Karla McLaren (Emotional Genius) to thank for this one.
  • Bad behavior (bad) is a call for love (good in that we can never get enough love). If you take on the belief that everything stems out of love or within a call for love, it is easier to rise to the occasion rather than condemn.
  •  When you doubt your inherent value (bad) remember God Himself is incomplete without you (good). Because Gods’ grandiose plan is total; so sorry, you cannot be missing from it.
  •  To accept your insignificance or littleness (bad) is arrogant, because it means that you believe your evaluation of yourself is truer than the Universe’s (good).
  •  When someone betrays you (bad) you are blessed with an opportunity to forgive (good). Forgiveness is what will save the world and all of us, because we get to correct and learn from mistakes and errors. Our own and others.
  • Your left-brain road-rage impatience (bad) is reminding you to slow down, be mindful, patient, and more right-brain (good), where the magic occurs. You wouldn’t want to miss the magic in life, would you?
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How might you take any ‘bad’ and go toward it, perhaps turning it into a messenger? To where could you expand its scope and time to find its value or lack of? How capable are you in asking it its positive intent, be it specific or general? What does it want to for you? What is it trying to tell you that you might need to listen to deeply, as opposed to what you want to selectively hear or dismiss?

How else might you re-categorize that ‘bad’ into a ‘good’ then thank it for saving your bloomin’ life? In some cases, it might be a matter of life. Just saying. 'Anything come to mind?

If you live long enough, perhaps you will merge ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories into a greater ‘just is’ category. How might a category of ‘just-are' experiences impact your life moving forward?

Or how might an abundance of formerly ‘bad’ turned now ‘good’ experiences contribute to your history and to your future happiness?

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© Kris Kramer Coach 2019