As the new year of 2020 is taking over us, and we all take the time to look at the past, summarizing a decade, reflecting on what has been achieved, and what are our goals for the coming 10 years, I have been reading so many stories on social media which made me think a lot about the way we choose to tell our stories. After all, WE are the only ones who choose how to tell our story, which of its parts to look back on, to reflect on, to enjoy, to regret, and mostly, what parts of our story can we appreciate and celebrate in ourselves and our achievements.
But the questions which come up are: do we choose well for ourselves and do we take the time to think about how to tell it?
The Art of Reframing
As I read these stories, I think about the process that goes on in our minds when we choose to tell our story. When we want to tell a story with big impact, we will dig deep and find a connection to how it got us to where we are today, and usually, even if it is a very difficult story, we look at the half glass full when we connect it to our achievements.
The beautiful part of all this is that we can rewire our brains to think positively, or differently, about every situation. We can rewire ourselves to tell ourselves and the world a different story.
I would like to offer a few related exercises for the new year ahead.
The art of reframing any situation in our lives so we are purposeful about telling our story – to others as well as ourselves – is a critical skill.
Meta View Reframing
Let’s look at a few examples:
Take the air pollution situation in Thailand. I for one open my window in the morning these days and work hard not to cry, for not being able to go out and play with my kids, in school or to the park. Walking them to school with masks this week was just a very depressing event for me.
However, if I look at reframing using a meta view technique, I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, as if I was just about to summarize my year of 2020. When I look at the year as a whole, I am so glad that the air situation was only a short disruption of our lives, I am also so thankful for having air purifiers in my home and my air monitor showing me the level was ok even when it was very bad outside, I am also thankful that schools and different play areas now have their own purifiers too. Thus, in general, I can safely say that I am glad it is over and I can appreciate so much of the advantages of living my life here.
Future Visualization Reframing
Another helpful reframing skill is future visualization.
When you write your goals for 2020, try and imagine your year first, how do you want it to look like (including how you want to look!). Then open a notebook or a notepad, and jot it down, if you would like to divide into categories, like self care, relationships, health, money, family, etc… go ahead.
Using this exercise as a foundation, you can begin to reframe where you are “today” with where you envision yourself being at the end of this year… and then start living that life today!
I would like to bring another example which is so relevant to our lives in relocation, as expats.
A lot of times we leave our jobs behind to travel to a new country, and when we arrive in our new destination, we are just like entrepreneurs, needing to invent and reinvent ourselves nearly from scratch. I hear many women and men whom I coach, who have followed their spouse, say “I can’t do anything in Bangkok, it is impossible to work here, I gave up my life, my career…” When you say something enough times, you manifest it into your lives. You wire it in, this is a neuroscience proven result.
Taking a different perspective on this matter can help.
For example, you could change your self talk to be, “There must be something I can do here for myself. Maybe I won’t be paid a salary, but there is volunteer work, working from home, working online and many other options. I have the privilege of finding a new passion which I never imagined I could do, or I never knew existed.”
Choosing this perspective allows us the option to make things happen for ourselves, no matter where we are, and what we gave up to be here. We will then control our lives and not let life control us.
I wish for you a year full of choices, while mastering the art of reframing for the sake of positive thinking and success. Remember, we are all simply storytellers!
Learn more about Adi Nevo at Transformational Life Coaching on adinevo.me