I’ve noticed that many students have challenges identifying reframes. In module 11, they learn what reframing is and how to use it in regards to the Six-Step Reframe. Reframing is one of my favorite techniques as I’ve always been one to reframe naturally.
As I see it, reframing is basically making lemonade from lemons. It’s the basic tendency of an optimist.
I have found however, that some students have a hard time understanding the concept. It seems that they confuse reframing with justifying. Interestingly, it seems to be students from cultures outside of America. It makes me wonder if the whole, “Lemonade out of Lemons” thing is an American concept. Possibly it is called something else in others countries. I would love to hear feedback regarding this in the comments below.
So let’s talk about reframing vs. justification.
They start out about the same way- Here is my problem and here is how I can see it so it’s no longer a problem.
Let’s take the statement: “I demand too much from others.”
Now let’s apply a justification: “When I demand too much from others it helps them be their best.”
Now for the reframe: “…”
There isn’t one because the premise is wrong to begin with. The behavior of demanding too much from others is not a good thing. It actually causes problems for others.
Now, in regards to the Six-Step Reframe, my positive intention in demanding to much from others is to help them be their best. But is my demanding too much of them actually encouraging them to be their best or is it just stressing them out?
In the Six-Step Reframe, the next question one would ask is, “Is there another way you can achieve encouraging others to do their best that doesn’t involved stressing them out?”
The answer, “Yes, I could encourage and praise them instead.”
Now let’s look at an example of a proper reframe situation.
The statement: “I wasn’t being careful and I lost my cell phone.”
The reframe: “Now I’ll be less distracted when spending time with my kids.”
Yes, the situation sucks. We all know how bad it is when we lose our cell phone. But, we can’t change the fact that we lost our cell phone so we might as well find a positive that can come from it. Additionally, when we can reframe it, we can be less angry, sad or hopeless about the situation.
So how do you know when you are trying to reframe or justify? Reframe = good; Justify = bad.
When we justify we are generally trying to make an excuse for our bad behavior. If I can find a way to justify, i.e. make a bad behavior acceptable I don’t have to change it.
We we reframe we are taking a bad situation and finding a use from it.
One is a behavior, one is a situation.
When you start a reframe with a bad behavior, the only direction to go is into the Six-Step Reframe. When you go into Six-Step Reframe, you are led right into the your psychological attachments.
Your initial statement is your complaint of your bad behavior. Your positive intention is your goal.
So let’s look at how that relates to a psychological attachment:
We will take the original statement, “I demand too much of others.”
Positive intention,”When I demand too much from others it helps them be their best.”
Question, ” Why is this a problem?”
Answer, “Because it makes people angry at me and not want to come around me.”
Question, “And you don’t like that?”
Answer, “No, I want people to want to be around me.”
Question, “Then why do you it?”
I’m sure you can come up with a bunch of responses to that from I just always have to I have no idea to I can’t help it.
So, you can see that this person’s positive intention is their goal. They truly want to help people. But what they get is rejection. So their behavior, even though they have justified that is acceptable, is actually only helping to seek rejection.
Our psychological attachments are often disguised by good intentions.
Now when we can apply the Six-Step Reframe to the behavior, we can see that if they found a different way to achieve the result the desire, they would be receiving acceptance instead. Let’s look at that scenario.
Question, “When you want to help others be their best what do you do?”
Answer,”I encourage them and tell them how great they are doing.”
Question, “How do others react to you?”
Answer, “It makes them feel good and want to be around me more.”
Question, “How does that make you feel?”