In a Rut? Reframe Issues with Gratitude
Nobody likes the mental portraits that negativity paints – especially when fear, guilt and shame color the pictures in vivid shades of morose. Everyone gets in a rut every now and then. But instead of letting the groove get deeper, how do you release negativity to gain a positive mindset that encourages success?
Reframing professional problems or personal dilemmas in an intentional image of gratitude can work wonders in moving ahead. Even Buddha has deep reflections on the attributes of a grateful heart when he noted that “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.”
Challenging issues seem to often unfold new and wonderful opportunities for growth when viewed through a framework of gratitude. Take a mid-career man I know who was laid off from his job. Luckily, he was given an excellent opportunity to attend vocational training that lead to an entirely new career as a welder. He had been alert to the benefits of a training center in his town and took immediate action to move in a new and exciting direction. Whether realizing it or not, he was practicing gratitude by using his outreach to an established technical school as a resource to remedy his problem.
Affirmation work is one method of finding the silver lining within situations that are perceived as bad. Some, like hidden disabilities, affect both professional and personal life in harsh ways. I speak from experience: I have dealt with nerve degeneration that creates low-toned hearing loss since I was a young teen. The reactions that I get from some strangers, acquaintances, friends, and even family members, are cringe worthy. They may yell every syllable or over-enunciate something like a greeting with “HOW IS BUSINESS?” while nodding with each syllable – as if overdoing it will indeed help. Others do the opposite and speak continuously and block any attempt of a response to control the situation. And still others overtly avoid me. They refuse to make an effort to view my disability as a learning moment. Instead, they create drama and make it a chore they to deal with. These hearing challenges are compounded by the fact that I have an atypical reversed slope, low-toned hearing loss that has yet to be successfully fit with hearing aids after years of trials.
So I reframe the situation. Using affirmations such as “I hear with love” and “My hearing still works for me” helps me to deal with challenging people and situations daily. Furthermore, I adapt to a given situation by standing off to the side of a crowd, by lipreading, by carrying paper and a pad, or by texting and messaging in loud crowds.
And, several times a day, I ask myself, “What is the gift in this hearing challenge (rather than hearing “loss”)? At first, I had no answers, especially when people said, “Oh it really wasn’t that funny,” and refused to repeat a joke. Or curtly told me, “Never mind” and walked away.
After reading a pivotal work, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I have made, “I release the need to take other people’s actions personally,” a mantra. When I am upfront with my disability and treated poorly by others, I have learned that it is a sign of their own unease of adapting to differences in people, not my lack of flexibility. I, too, have learned that my hearing challenges assist me in weeding out those who do not want to even attempt the courtesy of inclusion. I take a page from the CEO Playbook, which says, “I am the CEO of my life and I can hire, promote, demote or fire anyone I want.” Rude people may think they have the upper hand, but I now chalk up their behavior to poor socialization skills. After all it is 2016. Inclusion? It’s trending! Moreover, there is a gift in educating others on how to communicate more effectively, which most people are earnestly willing to do. It is the emphasis of those individuals, whom I “hire and promote” from acquaintances to friends, that really make reframing a disability very worthwhile.
What issue will you reframe today?