Positive Framing is a powerful tool, and often forms part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Also known as Cognitive Reframing, it refers to the lens through which you view a situation. At it’s simplest, it could be described as ‘seeking the silver lining’.
The goal of positive framing is to find a more constructive interpretation of what is happening to you. It isn’t ‘spin’ or denial of something negative, but an attempt to react in such a way that you are able to derive some good from the situation.
It is about transforming negative events into more positive ones. It is accepting that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you react.
The technique enables me to have a more positive perspective about any event, even one that appears to be (or indeed is) negative. I don’t ignore the bad side; we need to accept reality, rather than wish for a fairytale every time. But I try to focus on the good, or find a way to create my own positive results.
Positive Framing In Action
Being diagnosed with GNE Myopathy, an untreatable form of Muscular Dystrophy that will massively affect my mobility, was terrible. But, positive framing has allowed me to see how I can use it to my advantage. I am determined that good will come out of it.
I am grateful that this illness, and my experiences of supporting others through illness, has given me a greater sense of perspective. Over time I have developed a clarity about how I want my life to be, and the strength and courage to pursue that.
Illness has also helped me to define boundaries and make change. It taught me the value of living life in pursuit of being as happy as we can - both with what we have got, and in working to achieve more for ourselves. And I can now share this with others.
And illness has taught me that there are always other ways. They may not have been quite what you’d planned, but you can still do so many things and enjoy them. You’ve just got to be stubbornly determined to make them happen. Goodbye complacency.
using positive framing to move forward
When it comes to using positive framing as a technique in daily life, to make change or work towards achieving something, adopt a mindset in which you focus on the positive actions you can take. Instead of saying “I want that”, “I wish I had that” or “this is not fair”, declare “I can get that”, “I can use this”… “and here’s how.”
“And here’s how.” Powerful, active words. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of something, move forward by taking responsibility. Focus on what can be done, asking yourself:
“What does the ideal look like?”
”How do I take the first step towards that?”
And step by step, work towards your ideal scenario. It can be a slow and frustrating process, and might not be straightforward, but if you really believe in what you’re doing, it will feel worthwhile.
Of course, this approach doesn’t lead to miracles: for example, I cannot and will not be able to fix my health issues. But we can control how we respond to such things, and how we behave.
We can create our own positive alternatives, which might turn out to be even better than the things we used to dream of.