A frame is simply structure that provides focus for our attention. When you have glasses on you frame wherever you direct your face. Your glasses frame or capture a particular image in the scene or environment. Or, imagine a large wall mural with an intricate scene and you have been given an 18 x 24 inch picture frame. You have been asked to place the frame somewhere on the mural that highlights something that motivates you. You have the opportunity to review the entire scene and place the frame. Where will you place it?
Why am I talking about this? Why is it important?
Because, so many of us hung a frame a long time ago that keeps us focusing on a part of the mural of our lives that keep us from living our best life. Some of us either don’t know or forgot that we hung the frame and either don’t know or forgot that WE CAN MOVE IT. (As often as we like)
Here is a truth, a frame:
I grew up in a home with a mother that loved me. She told me I could be or do anything I wanted to be if I set my mind to it and worked hard. We always had a roof over our head and food to eat. I love my mother. My little brother and I were very close. As kids we went on adventures in and around our small town. In school I was able to participate in extracurricular activities, had a lot of friends and great times! I was a cheerleader, the state officer for DECA (a marketing education student vocational group) and homecoming queen.
Sounds like a pretty great life?
Here is more of the story…
I grew up in a dilapidated trailer in a shabby trailer park on the edge of town. My Mother was
a single parent, a prison guard and alcoholic. My father left us when I was 5 years old and was never a presence in my life. We were poor and were supported by government subsidies. I remember the giant tub of peanut butter and block of cheese we received every month. I was unable to participate in dance or club sports or anything that required parental time or money. The adventures my brother and I created were primarily because were left unsupervised for most of our childhood and all of our teens. I got a job the day I turned 16 at Taco Bell (when uniforms were polyester and I had to wear a kerchief on my head! Not cool.) I was never without one, two or three jobs at a time until my early 30s when I was married and stayed home with my firstborn. Throughout my junior high and high school years I don’t recall my mom ever attending any of my events. It hurt. Both my older siblings moved out at 16 and I moved out in the middle of my senior year.
Sound like a pretty rough time?
Both of these stories are absolutely true. Most of the time when I recall or tell my story, I focus on the things that serve me and propel me forward. My focus (my frame) is placed on the good things, the positive things that lift me up.
Why? This serves me. When I reminisce and recall the joy and love and good things in my childhood, it creates a neurological response! Serotonin, dopamine...These are neurotransmitters in our body responsible for feelings of calm, peace, hope, excitement and joy. I want more of that!
I don’t forget or reject the things that were hard. Sometimes when I look back on my life, I choose to focus on what I didn’t have. I recall the shame, sadness or anger that was part of my life. What I don’t do, is stay in those emotional places that hurt me. I reframe them. I choose to frame them with rose colored glasses. Meaning, I use the rose tint to bring out the VALUE produced from those hard times. I embrace those negative experiences because they made me who I am, but I do not hold on to those negative emotions. I recognize them and leave them in the past.
Tough things happen in life. None of us are immune to difficulties and tragedies.
Bad things, HARD things, challenges in life will happen. (Illness, divorce, death, unemployment, STRESS, to name a few) This is NORMAL and EXPECTED. This is the human experience.
It is said that 50% of our lives we are going to experience negative emotion.
I accept that today. I accept the past and do not argue with it.
Why? It already happened! Fighting or arguing with the past? That’s always a FAIL. I can’t change it and therefore I have decided that it happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen so that I could have the perspective, gratitude and ability to see life the way I do now.
I don’t ask myself “why did that happen to me?” I change one tiny word that shifts my entire perspective. Instead of asking myself “why did that happen TO ME?”, I ask myself “why did that happen FOR me?”. Switching this one word creates a huge foundational brain shift! This causes me to approach my past (or current situation) with rose colored glasses filtering for value. This creates a completely different energy about my past.
As always, my job as a coach is to ask questions.
What is the story of your life? Is your frame stuck? Do you focus your memory and attention on the things that hurt you or cause you stress? Do you find yourself consistently arguing with why and the way that things happened (or are happening?) Have you ever won that argument? Can you rewrite your story focusing on the good things and times of joy? Can you use rose colored glasses to see the value that your pain created? What can you frame in your life that gives you motivation? What if you simply accepted that (whatever) did happen and you decided to spend your energy determining how you can best grow from it?