When you are about to leave your home to go somewhere, and forget something, do you say, “Oh, I forgot…” Or do you say “Oh! I remember…”? Well, not long ago, when I realized that I forgot something, and caught myself saying so, I realized that I couldn’t have known that I forgot it until I remembered it. I decided to start saying, “Oh, I just remembered something else!”
Re-framing Is Another Way of Looking At Something
This is a simple re-frame, another way to look at something. It may seem subtle but I am giving myself an entirely different message. It is one small part of moving in an upward spiral instead of a downward one. Reframing is part of New Thought philosophy.
It’s taking something that you believe, and turning it around; looking at it another way. Mentally walk around the thought to another side, or turn the thought, and you will see something different. In the same way, I can take a thought, turn it on its head, and find a more productive way to think about it.
I’m Asleep… I’m Waking Up
Recently, fumbling in the kitchen in my just-woke-up-gotta-feed-the-cat haze, I caught myself saying for the umpteenth time, “I’m sleepy… I’m asleep.” I stopped right there and realized what I was saying to myself, so I said, “I’m waking up.” And when I caught myself saying, “I’m tired.” I changed it to, “I’m moving nice and slowly. I’m waking up and being easy with myself.” This is a big deal for me, since I had in my younger years been accused once of tap-dancing on the table at 6am. These days, sleep is more elusive.
On several levels, I would MUCH rather be waking up than sleepy. In the physical process of daily sleep-wake cycle, I am telling myself that I am on my way to waking instead of reinforcing to my subconscious that I am sleepy. And of course in the spiritual sense, I would much rather tell myself that I am awakening than that I am asleep.
Wait a Minute…
So now I have a new practice for myself. Whenever I catch myself saying something that points me in a direction that I don’t want to go, I can stop and say, “Wait a minute!”, and choose to reframe it. The first step is becoming aware that I am doing it. Then I can start noticing it often, and sooner in the process. Eventually I can catch myself as I start to think it, and choose something else. That step takes some practice. Then when I’ve practiced it enough, it becomes a new habit.
Many years ago at work, I was taught this learning process called the Four Stages of Competence. It comes from Gordon training, and applies to everything from riding a bicycle to learning a new language. And I use it when reframing habits I want to change. That stage where I’m consciously incompetent is where I need to be gentle with myself, remembering that I am practicing a new habit or idea, and it will take time before it’s second nature. I can simply notice it a little sooner each time until I am effortlessly doing the new habit. Just like riding a bike.
I am currently practicing this process with my eating habits. I eat really healthy food most of the time, but I have a huge sweet tooth. When I go on my friend JoAnn Newton’s e-cleanse program, it helps me avoid what she aptly calls nutritional bandits. And then sometimes I still fall down when I see a plate of brownies at a potluck. Back to consciously incompetent. This may take a while. This may take a LOT of patience.
Practice, Practice, Practice
So it’s a practice, just like meditating. It is an awareness practice throughout the day to honor what works for me in terms of food. And instead of saying to myself, “I blew it again.” I can choose to re-frame it and say, “My stomach is not glad I ate that.” And associate the mental picture of the brownies with the feeling in y stomach so that next time I see cookies or brownies, I can remember a little sooner.
I can remember, not forget.
How about you?
Do you relate to the stages of competence? Do you feel consciously incompetent about anything?
If you would like some coaching to reframe something in your life, I invite you to schedule a free 30-minute Unleash Your Light consultation with me to see if we are a good fit to work together.
What is Spiritual Coaching? Read about it here.