Framing and Re-framing

Noam LightstonePsychology Leave a Comment

Framing is all about how you view a situation, event, occurrence, trial… anything that happens in your life. Recently with regards to a specific event in my life, it was a reminder of how important framing can be.


Nobody likes having anything bad happen to them. It would be great if everything was all roses all the time, nothing went wrong, and there was no conflict. But such a life does not exist, and anyone who says that their life is this way, I’d probably run the other way… because they are lying through their teeth! Life is chaotic, it is full of twists and turns.

Depending on the prevailing mindset you carry throughout life, you may view more things in a negative than positive light. You may be poor at seeing all the greatness that is out there and in what you experience. Someone who always plays the victim (i.e. “Why is this happening to me?”) or lives with a scarcity mindset (“There’s never enough of X to go around!”) will have a hard time seeing the good in anything… ever.


The Uses of Framing

So where does framing come in?

Any situation which you think is negative will always have a positive. It will always have a lesson you can learn, a viewpoint that you aren’t seeing. I repeat: there will always, ALWAYS be a positive to take from it. Granted, it may be hard to find, but it will be there.

When you look at a different situation in a different light, or frame, that can be referred to as re-framing.

This is where good friends who listen to and support you, or counselling will come into play. You need others to check your “blind spots” that you can’t see if you’re having trouble seeing the other side of what happens to you.


An Example of Re-framing

For instance, maybe you go on a date. You really like the person and call them multiple times afterwards to tell them how much you enjoyed it and want to see them again. They don’t respond.

You feel confused, hurt, rejected. You thought you had such a great connection. What happened? Why won’t they return the affection?

So you re-frame:

  • I may have learned traits about a person I want to date in the future from this, that was what made me feel so attracted to them
  • I learned that if I show so much eagerness and incessantly call someone, it makes me seem needy and desperate and it isn’t attractive
  • I learned that this person wasn’t right for me because they didn’t return the feelings at all


Cautions of Re-framing

You have to be careful with re-framing. No matter what, when you feel a certain way your emotions are trying to tell you something. The deepest meaning may be hidden, but it’s there and worth finding. When something so tragic such as a loved one passing away happens, yes, you can re-frame the situation. But, that doesn’t mean you push the emotions of anger, sadness, loss, and so on that you feel down, and ignore them.


Whenever you go through something in life, feel the emotions and notice when they occurred. This will hopefully help guide you to discover WHY they came up. Then, if they are negative, look to see if there are any chances to re-frame the situation into another light that you didn’t see before. This will maximize growth in many situations, and as well, can make for some pretty amazing lessons and experiences that were previously undiscovered.

By learning to see the positives of every situation, you’re going to make yourself a lot happier living life instead of being drowned in supposedly constant “negative situations”.

This doesn’t mean that once you re-frame something the negative side will instantly go away (UNFORTUNATELY!). But, it will help expand your mind to show you that not everything is bad, and not everything has to always be negative.


There is always a positive.

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