Giving things a frame

I often write about looking for the beauty and blessings in the every day however during one of my course webinars last night I learned that this process actually has a name.
It is called ‘framing’.
Framing is the act of putting a ‘frame’ around any given situation and drawing the eye inside the frame to what it contains.
One line spoken by my instructor stood out for me:

“An event has no meaning until you give it a frame”.

In a nutshell, this means that any situation that occurs throughout the day means absolutely nothing until you place a frame (or some importance to it).
Let me expand on this.
I recently had a conversation with the Garden Gnome about a person we had just been speaking with. Afterwards I said to him “I think xxx is upset with me”. He replied “What makes you say that”? So I ran through all the reasons and replayed the conversation and facial expressions of the other person over with him. He looked at me and said “How did you get that out of a simple exchange? That’s not how I saw it all”.
Both of us had been there and both of us participated in the conversation yet both of us had put a completely different frame around it.
Let’s look at it another way.
Say your employer has chosen to restructure a particular department to increase it’s efficiency. In the process the boss takes some tasks away from one person and gives them to another and redistributes other tasks around the department. If you were one of the employees that had the task taken from them how would you feel? If you were the other employee that received the new task how would you feel? How would it affect your relationships with those in the department?
I would say that there would be a high level of anxiety and stress generated amongst the staff as they begin questioning the reasoning behind this occurring and begin questioning themselves.
Yet to the boss, there was no other reason attached to this redistribution other than to allow the department to run more efficiently. There was nothing personal about it and the employees involved never had their integrity or productivity questioned by the boss.
However, all people involved in this situation placed a different frame (perspective) around the issue.
Perspective is an interesting concept.
When I was a child we used to visit one of my aunts. She had this huge (I’m sure it was about 12 feet long) fish tank filled with anemones and tropical fish. I could sit and watch that tank for hours if I were allowed to. I was impressed at its size and beauty.
As an adult, I visited my aunt once more. The fish tank is no longer there however the buffet that it rested on still is. I said to her “I’m sure that buffet was much bigger than this. Your fish tank was huge.”
Nothing had changed except for me. When I was a child my perceptions were vastly different to that of me, the adult.

To see the best in each situation (change of perspective), we need to retrain our brains to me more optimistic and to see the good, the beautiful and the blessings in all situations rather than looking for that which is negative.
It isn’t easy.
Wayne Dyer in his book “Wishes Fulfilled” writes:

“Don’t dwell on your troubles, difficulties or illnesses. The subconscious mind by its very nonselective nature accepts all your feelings associated with troubles as your request – and worst of all, proceeds to make them your experience…”  (p108)

Our perceptions in life are a collection of past experiences and the values we have developed in our journey through life. How we see ourselves fits into the frame. If we see ourselves as not worthy of happiness then we will see the universe as conspiring against us to thwart our efforts to find joy. If we see ourselves as deserving of every blessing that life has to offer, our days will be filled with opportunities and sunshine. Our self perception forms the frame we put around any given situation.
If I look at the conversation I mentioned above, I can analyse myself as wishing to seek approval from the person we were talking with and felt that I hadn’t received it. Because of this, I read things into body language and voice that weren’t anywhere except in my own perception. I placed a negative frame around the situation.

If you wake in the morning and say to yourself “Today is not going to be a good day, I can just feel it” then your prophecy will in all likelihood self-fulfill.
Or you can choose to begin your day in the same way that Louise Hay does: by stretching and thanking the bed for a good night’s sleep and then saying to yourself “Today is going to be a great day and filled with blessings”.
I’ve given you two extremes here. Most of us wake in the morning and mentally go through what needs to be done for the day before our feet hit the floor. We yawn and stretch and wish we could get a few extra minutes of sleep.
I am suggesting that what we can do after this is say to ourselves “Okay world, today is my day”.

So  as you go through the motions of your life this beautiful day, take the time to step back and think about your reactions to any given situation and if you can, change your perception from negative to positive. I guarantee you’ll feel a whole lot better for doing so. 🙂

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32 thoughts on “Giving things a frame

  1. There’s a lot of this going around on the web! I just read something else about positive thinking and the grass being greener. It’s so true about perspective, and I love your perspective on it, lol. One thing related to size…one time I lost about 20 lbs of weight. The same people I thought were so thin before I lost weight no longer looked as thin! And this was only after a few months. Isn’t it odd? Your fish tank story reminded me of that.

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    1. I haven’t actually seen it, so I would say that the fact you have means it is something that is relevant for you right now. 🙂
      Would you believe I was reading a book yesterday and two sentences on perspective just jumped out and slapped me in the face. It must have been something I needed to read also.

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  2. It’s so true. Framing. I like that. You know, I have an insecurity about anybody reading what I write about. I write as I speak, which is a bit chattery, or all over the place. I really enjoy reading your blog because you write the way I wish I could. You make far more sense than I do. I too, have that problem of seeing things that are all in my mind. I have been learning to turn it around, by asking myself if I would think the same about the other person I’m misinterpreting. The answer is always no, so I shouldn’t believe they are judging. It’s starting to work….as you said, it’s how we’re framing the situation.

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    1. I write my first draft like a speak and then I go through and fix up the grammar and bad spelling 😉
      April, your writing is perfect. You tell it like it is and you hold nothing back. That’s what is awesome.

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  3. I remember marching around our front yard as a kid saying, “This is our terriTORY, terriTORY, terriTORY. ” When I went back there, decades later, I couldn’t believe it. My territory was just a small patch of grass.

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  4. Thank you Suzie, for a thought provoking article. Frame/perspective really does affect out lives. I have kept a gratitude journal in the past where I wrote daily the good things and blessings that happened. On a bad day I reviewed my journal and realized how many good and positive things I have going in my life.

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    1. That’s so great that you kept up your gratitude journal. I love those journals however I tend to get caught up in other things and forget to write in it at the end of each day on a regular basis.

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  5. This is truth. It is all about our perspective. We can all look at the same thing, but each of us could see it differently. I also like the frame idea, because in order for anything to have meaning we must be present. Too often I feel as though I am on the outside looking in. I get nothing from that. It’s only when I enter in, that the situation gains relevance. Putting a frame around a moment, requires us to be present in that moment. In other words, every moment in our lives should be frame-worthy.

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  6. A fascinating writing Sue, I can understand the framework idea, but cant comprehend the perspective aspect, you could take it further and put a framework around the company as a whole.
    Then the perspective and goals of the company must be put in a framework.
    It seems like building boxes on boxes.
    Thanks for sharing, gave me food for thought.
    Ian

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    1. I think perspective is a bit like putting a real frame around a picture. Sometimes the picture would go beautifully in the bedroom with a particular frame but if you changed the frame it would look great in the hall. So if you change your perspective it changes the way a situation appears.
      But yes, it could be boxes on boxes. I think though for the purposes of what I have written, I want to focus on the most important and immediate box, which is what directly affects me.

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  7. Yes. I agree. It’s all in the perspective…but then, it can be complicated by many personal things…the reasons why we seem to see things as we do. Attitude adjustment is a constant issue for myself, as I see so much around me that strikes of negativity. I fall victim to it easily at times and I have to work extra hard to be mindful not to let it affect me so much.

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    1. It is difficult at times to find that balance between negativity and happiness I agree.
      I find that when I am feeling a little unwell or just not right, then I am more negative.

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