By Kathy Kruger
Every minute of every day we take photos in our minds of how life ‘should be’ and compare them to the reality in front of us.
My mind’s eye sees neatly folded clean clothes – the reality appears as a giant, unruly, bottomless pile of laundry waiting (endlessly) to be washed, hung out, taken off the line and folded.
The gap in between is where frustration, judgement, anger and pain exist – if we let them.
The choice is to reframe.
Over the course of Mr Yang’s six and a half weeks holiday (yes I did say 6.5 weeks – well he did do one week of fours shifts in the middle to swap for time-off later on), I tried not to let jealousy frame the situation as him sitting by the pool, while I slaved away in the office.
In reality, he didn’t sit by the pool at all, nor spend all his time (or very much at all) at the beach or fishing. He mostly ran around after the kids, taking pressure off me even more than normal. Plus he did some odd jobs (I may have harangued – love that word).
One of the odd jobs was installing a bench top and extra shelf in the laundry (we are lucky to have a large laundry, but a bench-top was sorely missing (I didn’t realise just how sorely). At last a place to deposit all the clean washing that is waiting, and waiting, and waiting to be folded.
This one single odd job has enabled a significant and welcome ‘reframing’ for me – no longer is a huge pile of clean laundry a permanent fixture in our bedroom, but said pile is now ‘out of sight, out of mind’, where it can grow, and grow, unnoticed. I cannot express the sense of relief – of course the washing remains to be folded, but it’s the reframing that counts.
Now I just need to reframe the insanely long time, at a deliberate snail’s pace, with painful sighs for emphasis, that it takes Miss Yin to fold even a few items of said laundry as a valuable lesson in patience (for me).
Yesterday morning I reframed a mad dash back into the house from the car to retrieve Little Yang’s forgotten kindy bag from being a running-late inconvenience to a potential house-saver.
Mr Yang (the Fireman, tsk, tsk) had left the iron on (I know he’s good, he irons his uniform) – I heard that little noise the iron makes as I raced back inside and quite possibly saved the day.
Reframing. May even prevent house fires.
Does the photo I have in my mind’s eye of my job interview last week look like a confident candidate or a nervous interviewee? Depends on how I frame it really. Certainly there are things I could (should) have said and perhaps I undersold myself a bit, but what about my polished presentation and spontaneous responses? I’m pretty sure the person in the interview scene I’ve replayed in my head too many times is still me regardless of how I choose to perceive myself.
As I processed more and more photos of this scene in my mind I had myself framed as a failure, when in reality I’m probably a front-runner. Although I’m still waiting to hear. ‘Time’ to reframe.
Full time career vs part-time position, money vs time – it is possible to constantly reframe what our life could look like, should look like.
The key is how we see ourselves and our situation in those photos we take in our heads – if there’s a big gap between our mind’s eye and reality, we need to change our perceptions (or change ourselves of course).
That could mean ‘photo-shopping’ out the judgement that colours the way you see yourself, because in reality you’re much better than you give yourself credit for. Without this judgement, you’ve reframed things much more positively. See how much more confident and happy you look.
It could mean overlaying your mind’s eye image with acceptance that perfection is impossible and your expectations about always having the laundry done are only going to cause you grief. Look how much more relaxed you look in the frame.
Sometimes random circumstances give us the opportunity to reframe, such as suddenly realising how lucky I was when I returned to the house and could turn off the iron.
Reframing can also be gradual, like how I’ve come to see myself as strong and balanced in yoga, just as my practice has slowly improved (the reframing and the improvement being totally correlated).
Of course we can reframe our perceptions out of fear to settle for a reality far less than our desires, but we’ll never be truly happy with how we look in the photo.
When we reframe positively we celebrate small successes, cut ourselves some slack, recognise gradual progress, let go of false expectations, and accept things that we genuinely can’t control.
We put ourselves in the frame for a contented life.
Through another odd job (which was actually quite big) – I’ve shed new light on the situation to reframe what I think about our house (I’d love a new kitchen and ensuite, but our large and partly renovated house really is pretty good).
Mr Yang exposed a hardwood ceiling beam in our lounge-dining area which was previously painted (this involved a huge amount of dust, everywhere, from the sanding back). With a new designer-style pendant light, things really are looking brighter.
Love to know how you’ve reframed things in your life.
Linking up with the lovely Grace for FYBF.