As you prepare to enter your New Year I wonder…are there people in your life who drive you crazy? Can you count on them to continue to do or say the same ridiculous, lame or annoying things over and over? Do they grate on your nerves so much that you go out of your way to avoid them even though you know that keeping a connection with them would be better for you or your family?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it might be time for you to become a reframing expert this year. The word “reframing” is used in relation to several different conceptual areas (math, problem solving, dealing with people, education, etc.). I am specifically writing today, however, about how we see, understand, perceive and “know” people. Human beings can really get into deep ruts with how they perceive people. Sometimes these ruts feel or seem so deep that we give up. We quit hoping that the “problem” person will change. Rather, our solution is to put up with, avoid, or hurry through interactions with them.
However, reframing might be just the step stool you needed in order to get out of those ruts…and stay out. So, what are reframes?
Anthony Robbins wrote, “A signal has meaning only in the frame or context in which we perceive it.“ And although Tony Robbins is known for his powerful presentations on dealing with people, and implementing reframes, he wasn’t the first person to really articulate techniques for changing the games people play. Therapists such as Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson are generally credited with defining them first when it comes to dealing with people. Reframes are renaming, or “re-framing” ideas about people in positive ways that were generally seen as negative. When someone hears a reframe, their brain almost does a double-take. In other words, it gives the people involved a chance to step back, take advantage of how things were shaken up, and redefine the “meaning in which we perceive” them or their behavior. The trick is…if the problem is perceived negatively, the reframe must always be implemented with a positive approach. To reframe one negative into another does no one any good.
Here are a few examples to help you understand specifically what this might look like. You might recognize some people in your own life, and that is good too because you can begin practicing right now!