Shift Happens

Monday November 11, 2019

Yes, you heard accurately... shift happens!

This week, my friend Sam shared his experience of being stuck in traffic for nearly three hours only (normally) minutes from home. This was after a long journey of over five hours. Sam said it was the first time he'd ever seen a sign warning drivers to stay in their cars.

How would you respond in such a situation? Would you be honest and acknowledge that you were tired and that the last thing you needed was a three hour delay getting back to your family at home? Or would you, like Sam (who is a Mindset Master), suddenly be overcome with a sense of gratitude that he had avoided what was clearly a horrible accident. If he'd been a few minutes before, he may have been the victim.

In psychological warfare techniques like Neuro Linguistic Programming, this shift of meaning is called 'Reframing'. It literally puts the experience in a new frame that shifts the way we feel about an event.

Relationships really relish reframing. For example, if you and I were to become Mindset Masters, like Sam, we'd ascribe the highest motives to everyone's behaviours. We'd actively choose to imagine (and, yes, it is imagining) the very best of reasons behind everything we experience.

The power of reframing is that it frees us from what I call 'The Tyranny of the Absolute'. Let me explain. If I only have one absolute interpretation of somebody's (usually negative behaviour), I'm stuck. There's no negotiation. There's no room for manoeuvre.

This often happens in well-established relationships where one person 'mind-reads' the reason behind the other person's behaviour. They know them so well, they think they know 'why' somebody did something that made them feel bad, good, or whatever label you want to put on your feelings.

Let's face the facts – this is always mind-reading. We don't know. And since we don't know for sure, how much better it is to cut them some slack and allow space for reconciliation.

Mastery is a long way off for me. I still get annoyed when the computer doesn't do what I desire – and still occasionally blame it as if it was deliberate! I'm hoping that one day, I may grow up and realise any technical problem is not personal! However, I do have an element of wisdom entering into my mind now. It goes, "What if..." and in the gap caused by looking for a positive 'What if' – shift happens.

What examples do you have of re-interpreting events so that they make you feel less frustrated and more empowered or resourceful?

A Moodscope member.

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