The Reframing Game
I was a really good long distance runner at school. At the start line everyone would be moaning about how hard it was going to be. I remember thinking, “this is going to be easy”. As I was running everything would start to hurt, but then I’d just keep reminding myself “this is easy”. I was tricking my mind, but it would work. Every-time I thought it I started running strongly again.
It took me another few years before, thanks to Tony Robbins, I realised that I could do this everywhere. Reading his work about reframing your reality, I learnt that our reality is not the truth, it is just the meaning that we attach to things. When I was running, my legs could be hurting, my lungs could be burning, but if I thought it was easy, my experience could change almost instantly.
I started to put this to test by playing the Reframing Game. Here’s how I did it:
1. My relationship with my Dad
I’d been telling myself for years that my Dad had caused my depression and anxiety. He was controlling and volatile when I was younger, and I felt like I had lost all of my confidence. I decided he was a horrible person and I resented him for making my life so difficult. This was a very negative and disempowering story. I was always angry with him and I had no relationship with him. One day I decided to reframe that story. I choose to believe that my Dad had wanted the best for me and that he had been acting in a way that he thought would make me achieve everything he wanted me to achieve.
I realised that if that was really the case, I needed to apologise for being so angry with him. I rang him and said, “Dad, I’m sorry for being so angry with you. I’ve been blaming you for making my life hard when you used to tell me off and be controlling. What I’ve realised is that you were being the best Dad you could. You really wanted me to succeed and you were doing your best to make that happen.” He went silent on the other end of the phone and then after 30 seconds he said, “Thank you George, that’s made my year.” He rang me 3 times that day to thank me again.
By reframing the situation I went from having no relationship with my father for nearly 4 years to having a great relationship with him.
2. Being an entrepreneur
I always thought that running a business had to be hard. I put so much emphasis on the fact that it needed to be tough, I needed to grind out results. I decided to reframe my reality from “hard”, “tough” and “grind” to “FUN”, “EASY” and an “ADVENTURE”.
Since I made this shift I have so much more energy, I want to work and I want to make things happen, rather than it feeling like a burden.
I used to think I was only working so that I could retire young and get on with what I really wanted to do with my life. Now I know that I could do what I am doing forever. I just love the process.
Where are you finding something difficult and you could reframe it as easy?
This is a very recent breakthrough. I’ve spent my whole life feeling like I need to do more with my life. It’s been exhausting. I constantly feel like I need to learn more or do more before I can have what I want in life. But the reality is that I don’t need to have more or do more. I’m great just the way I am. There is nothing to wait for.
I’ve reframed the conversation from “I need to do more to be great” to “I’ve already done an amazing job, where could I do an even better one”.
Playing the Reframing Game in this area has made life so much easier. I no longer feel overwhelmed or disillusioned, I feel like I am making things happen, but I am excited to become even more masterful. I no longer feel like I’m a failure – this used to spiral me into depression – It’s very freeing and exciting.
Do you think that you aren’t good enough? How about telling yourself that you are amazing and it’s time to get even more amazing?
So where could you play the Reframing Game?
So you’ve seen how I play the Reframing Game, now it’s over to you. What thoughts are dragging you down and how could you reframe them?
The trick here is to always remember you are on a journey and that you have been winning the game that you have been playing. My game used to be to be as cool as possible. I’d smoke 20 cigarettes a day, drink two bottles of wine and go out partying. I won that game. I used to be all judgemental about that and blame myself for causing my depression. It didn’t help, I just caused more negativity and anger. Now I don’t blame myself. I embrace that period of my life, it made me who I am today, and I’m grateful for that. Reframing this has given me so much power and I know laugh at the things I used to do rather than trying to hide them.
Other positive habits for better mental health can be found on the following link.