If you remember, we are trying to beat the (horrible) odds found by multiple research studies that shows more than 9 out of 10 people will fail to change… even if their life depends on it. I repeat this for a few reasons… Primarily, I find it absolutely fascinating…. Sad, painful, but fascinating. (As only we human animals can be.) Additionally, to offer comfort and illustrate that none of us are alone in this… change really is hard! And lastly, to show that no matter how good, important, devastating, etc. our reasons may be for wanting to change… it’s still really hard!
Ok, now that I’ve almost caused you to give up before you start… Let’s look at the final piece of the puzzle that can make a huge difference in succeeding. (Again, review the first two installments about the first two keys to change.)
REFRAME: The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life.
Eventually, when the change has become a natural part of your life, you will look at the world, your life, you, in a way so completely different to you that it wouldn’t have made any sense before you changed. You would not have been able to comprehend it… even in an abstract way. Interestingly, when you look back, you will no longer be able to clearly understand how you saw all of these things before. How they made sense to you, how you could have thought that way before, what your logic or feelings were before. I liken it to the old axiom about the cucumber and the pickle… Once you become a pickle, you can never go back to being a cucumber.
My favorite thing about the reframing key is how that new perspective makes ripples throughout your life and your being. For example, let’s continue with our yoga story and see where that might go.
You’ve been doing yoga for several months. You are sleeping better, feeling more focused, finding yourself much more flexible and much less achy on a daily basis. Some of your fellow yogis have become friends and you are spending more time outside of class with them. Your social life is more active than it has been in quite a while. And the influx of ideas and information opens up all kinds of new thoughts for you. You’ve begun to notice how much easier it is carrying in the groceries… or that really big bag of dog food! In fact, you are feeling so much better regularly, that you are beginning to notice more when you don’t. You begin to notice how what you eat affects how you feel, or how gross you feel after smoking a cigarette. Before you even realize it, you are thinking about your food choices and making plans to actively quit smoking. None of these things would have ever occurred to you before… you just did them.
You find yourself contemplating going back to school to complete that certification that you gave up on before, telling yourself that all you need to do is breathe into the fear or difficulty where you gave up last time. “Breathe into it??!!” What?! Where did that come from? But it makes perfect sense to you now, and you don’t understand why you didn’t just do that the last time you took the class.
Have you experienced this kind of reframing? Or the unexpected ripple effects of making one change? How did it show up in other areas of your life?