Difficulties come in all forms and shapes and are inevitable. However, the size of the difficulty, in my opinion, is largely determined by your perspective. It’s the way you see it that shrinks a problem or exaggerates it. Too often, we are examining problems with a magnifying glass, or worse yet, a microscope. By focusing a telephoto lens on the trouble, we take an almost insignificant concern and blow it up into a life-altering catastrophe. Reframing difficulties is a useful strategy to reduce anxiety and apply maximum effort to solving problems. Changing perspective is a very powerful emotional regulation tool. Here are three positive reframes you can use.
Opportunities to Grow
Most of my growth in character has not come when everything in life is going smooth. Conversely, growth occurs when I do the next right thing even when I’m tired, sick, lonely, discouraged, sad, grieving, or angry. These emotional obstacles stretch me and have created increased compassion for others, led to a better understanding of my own limitations, and shaped a desire to contribute to those around me.
Challenges to Overcome
Here’s a great place to use your magnifying glass, not to examine your faults, but to focus on your strengths and resources. Use your competitive nature to win the contest. Become energized and focused by the challenge rather than shut down by it. You can solve problems and overcome difficulties. Rather than see yourself as lost, concentrate on your ability to navigate the course. You are gaining confidence and strength. You can rise up and face your fears rather than shrink back in defeat. You can make progress, get things done, and accomplish your goals. Difficulties do not defeat you–they define you.
Lessons to Learn
When you go through difficulties, ask yourself what you can learn from the experience. Yogi Berra, a famous baseball player, coach and manager, stated: “Losing is a learning experience. It teaches you humility. It teaches you to work harder. It’s also a powerful motivator.” Difficulties, hardship, and adversity can be invaluable instructors, loudly emphasizing what won’t work and quietly reminding us what will. Reframe trouble as it comes. Is this an opportunity to grow, a challenge to overcome, or a lesson to learn? This is not a clever denial strategy, but rather a powerful way to convert setbacks of the past into inspiration for the future.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!