I like the idea of reframing my thoughts. As one person mentioned, Paul’s suggestions are simply a redirection of thinking optimistically vs. pessimistically. I have a coworker who struggles with clinical depression and her pessimistic thinking is incredibly obvious – but there are many other people, less extreme, whose negativity I notice and I have always used this technique without even knowing. My housemate Helen for example is a lovely, warm-hearted person but my goodness she is very negative. I very often reframe what she says, just to get the conversation off a particular track, towards something more positive.
Helen is moving out, by the way. She has lost her job, for which she moved here, and is now looking to move back to her parents. I have all sorts of fears to deal with about this. We’ve just started to get along really well and become friends; I’m not clinging on to her but I worry about who may replace her. Previously, my landlord Duncan let me choose who moved in; this time, he told Helen that he would place an ad for the room and I would only get to meet & approve people. Duncan also emailed me to say that gas & electricity bills are such that he will have to make changes to the contract when it ends in February. I’m already very stretched for this place, so I’m concerned: not yet worried, but concerned. Moving again wouldn’t be a big deal but it’s a hassle I don’t want to undergo yet again if I can help it!
So how do I reframe this situation? Not sure – this place is wonderful, great landlord, large and spacious house. I could move to the smaller room that Helen is vacating, if I have to, but I don’t want to so I’m not suggesting that to Duncan… only if worst comes to worst.
I think the bigger picture of reframing is simply the idea that I get to choose my own attitudes and thoughts, which determine my emotions. The way I think about something – and I can consciously choose that – determines how I feel about it. I’m quite good at choosing my thoughts in many ways, like redirecting my thoughts away from food when struggling… but often there are conditioned, instinctive thoughts where it doesn’t even occur to me that I could think about something differently. Guess it’s all a matter of growing!
Thank you for being with me on this journey.