"If you can't change it, change your attitude."
– Maya Angelou
The quote above reminds me of the fact that more than once in my life I’ve been told I need an “attitude adjustment”. If I’m honest, on several occasions, I have even told myself the same thing! Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) leader and author Meena Srinivasan sheds a gentler light on the attitude adjustment in her description of practicing the reframe. “Reframing is a powerful strategy where we can create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning.”
As I understand it, practicing the reframe is an opportunity to acknowledge something I am struggling with, challenge myself to find a different way of looking at the situation, and an opportunity to practice gratitude for the gifts and blessings in my life. Believe me; this does not always come easily!
One example in my own life is my tendency to complain about doing yard work. I find once the workweek is done and the housework is complete, the last thing I feel like doing is the yard work. As a result, for the past two summers, I’m unhappy with my weedy, flowerless yard! I recently found this to be an excellent opportunity for a reframe.
Meena describes the reframe as changing an “I have to” to “I get to”. In my example, changing “I have to do yardwork” to “I get to do yard work.” Here we find the opportunity for gratitude. Yes, I am blessed to have a house with a yard and the opportunity to keep it well maintained. For me personally, this is not a stretch. Having a house was a long-term goal I worked very hard to attain. I actually give thanks for my home every day, yet why was my attitude so negative when it came to yard work?
Honestly, the reframe comes easier some days more than others, but for the most part, I’m really enjoying the stress relieving benefits of gardening and spending time in the sun. I also smile when I look out the window and see the fruits of my labor.
Of course, yard work might not be your reframe. Other examples might be doing the dishes, having (getting) the opportunity to care for your children while working from home, or dealing with a challenging person in your life.
Where is your opportunity to practice the reframe? I challenge you to find something you might not have the most positive attitude about and practice the reframe for yourself.