I recently participated in a holiday fitness challenge with one of my favorite running communities, Fellow Flowers. During the challenge they share a lot of “Because” messages including one that really resonated with me:
I had a moment in an airport late last year when I was struck by the negativity of all of the conversations I was hearing around me. Some folks were talking on the phone, others were talking to travel companions… but all of them were complaining about something. And all of them seemed miserable.
As I thought about that observation, I reflected on how often I think about things negatively myself. I tend to think of things in terms of burdens – of what I HAVE to do and therefore don’t want to do. But I do this to myself even when I have signed up for something that I wanted to do to start with.
So I’ve decided that I want to change how I am thinking about things. I want to embrace the “because” phrase above… to remind myself that I GET to do these things. I want to focus on the good fortune I have to be able to have these things I consider to be “burdens.” Yes, I can be frustrated and annoyed that I “have to” clean my house. OR I can be grateful that I have a beautiful home that I “get to” take care of.
I’m not saying that my thinking has magically changed. This is something that I’m working on. And I’m sure it’ll take a while. But each time I find myself feeling frustrated and burdened by what I “have to” do, I am trying to pause and flip the script to re-frame these as things I “get to” do.
Reframing is a really wonderful tool, it can be extremely helpful and empowering to look at our own situations and view them as though we were speaking to a friend about their concerns. Re-framing with more positivity doesn’t make the emotions around a situation any less valid, yet the perspective shift can be quite enlightening!