Positive Reframe is a positive shift in perception. It does not mean you are always positive and that you should avoid all things negative. It means being positive about being negative and embracing negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors or/and events to discover their value in our lives. It’s about giving yourself permission to feel whatever you feel without judgment and then making a conscious choice to focus on strengths, resources, and solutions to get emotional, physical, spiritual and relational needs met. It is an exploration of transferring our awareness from negative objects to positive intention whilst creating a compassionate and calm lens to filter our life experiences through.
We all live in our current frame which has been influenced by a lifetime of experiences, our genetics, relationships, all interacting with various environments and temperaments. All of these coalesce at each moment influencing our thoughts, feelings, and actions. When we experience stress and have unmet needs yet have no way to process the stress or get our needs met, then we have more negative thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and consequences.
Over time, a build-up of unprocessed stressful experiences create a negative perspective or a frame of reference for similar situations. When we get into a stressed state, like feeling scared, confused, frustrated or even hungry or tired, we often react from this negative frame. The negative reaction can be as simple as snapping at your partner, parent, child or colleague. The negative frameworks we build form a complex web of behaviors with significant and lasting consequences, especially for our relationships and well-being.
Most of this negativity goes on without us even being aware of it (i.e. unconsciously), thus the first step to positive reframe is awareness of our negative thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and behaviors. The ideal moment for a positive reframe lies between the moment we become aware of the negativity arising and the moment we decide how to think and respond to the triggering event.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl
When we take the time to slow down and see things from another perspective, we can reframe a negative event like someone yelling at us, into a positive, loving and trust-based thought, “Wow, they must be having a bad day” or “I wonder what has upset them,” instead of a fear-based and negative reaction like “What is wrong with them?!” or “How dare they act like that!” All negative behavior comes from a state of stress and unmet needs so when we ease the stress and meet the need, then we create space for connecting, learning, growing, and healing and transform our lives and relationships.
Wellness begins at an emotional level. Emotions are our natural psychological and biological responses that bridge together our thoughts and actions. We have two primary emotions: Love and Fear. When something happens, our emotions determine our response. When you feel fear, you will fight, flight, or freeze. When you feel love, you will remain calm and be able to access your higher-level functioning skills so you may effectively process, understand and plan accordingly as well as connect and empathize. Our emotions depend on our needs, past experiences, beliefs, and temperament. When we find ways to positively process the stress and past trauma, then we can respond appropriately to get needs met and positively frame our lives. Thus the goal is to empower you with the skills to tap into your innate resources as well as cultivate lasting wellness and connection.
The Positive Reframe list below is meant to be a guide, a work in progress and an example of how we can learn to see “negative” behaviors in our loved ones more positively by viewing their behaviors from a different perspective and/or context. Every situation and person has unique needs, yet when we focus on the positive, we give power and opportunity for positive beliefs, feelings, traits, and actions to manifest. Through Positive Reframes, we can empower ourselves to see the brilliance of ourselves and others.
Click here to discover Five Steps to a Positive Reframe
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Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. This online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers, engaging in respectful dialogue with friends and family as well as seek referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state of Illinois, USA