It was the 1980s. Sally Jessy Raphael was a popular talk show host. I was impressionable. So, when I went to the eye doctor for my vision issues, I chose a pair of red-framed glasses, just like Sally wore.
They were too big for my face, but I learned the power of reframing.
I apply it now.
Reframing: It helps us to see.
We know that eyeglasses help us to see better. We’re near-sighted, far-sighted, or have an astigmatism. We need to see the life around us, to see objects, peoples’ faces, rules and regulations posted everywhere. We need to see things clearly.
When we are faced with a situation in which we feel stuck, like we are powerless to change things, sometimes, the only thing we can do is to reframe how we think and feel about it.
And no, it’s not easy.
Like some wise sage somewhere once said…
“When you can’t change a situation, change how you LOOK at it.”
A change in perspective about a supposedly, immovable circumstance can help us to look, with fresher eyes, at what could be possible in life. Challenge the limitations. Forgive ourselves. Forgive others. Change a behavior. Let something or someone go.
When it comes to our lives, what do we see? What can we see instead?
Reframing: It updates our vision.
I was near-sighted when I got those red eyeglasses. I could not see things clearly from a far distance. This was especially the case when it came to reading the teachers’ writing on my school chalkboard.
If there was something far away, pre-glasses, I’d squint trying to sharpen my vision. It’d work somewhat, but it’d give me a headache. And it wasn’t as effective as wearing corrective eyeglasses was.
But when I put those red Sally Jessy babies on, BAM! Much better than squinting! I remember being able to read print that had previously just been a blur. The print, on its own, was already clear, the entire time.
But my experience of it was lacking. It needed to be updated.
Perhaps, a situation is a particular way already. But experiences with things like abuse and trauma may have obscured its reality.
We don’t see things clearly, sometimes, even, from the start.
Therapy, outside people, and learning new information can all be tools in updating our vision and can aid in correcting how we see things.
But we need to put on the eyeglasses; we need to update our frames, the structures around our field of vision.
Reframing: It changes over time.
When I got those Sally Jessy red frames at the eye doctor, it was not my first pair of eyeglasses. And it wouldn’t be my last, either. Over the years, I’ve acquired such spectacles as a Tortoiseshell frame, and even a light lilac, kind of “cat eye” option.
Likewise, seeing our lives, via change, is not a one-time event. It’s ongoing and lifelong. Our perspectives on getting help can also change over time.
Many of us have been in therapy for years. There have often been different focused approaches involved in dealing with our life issues: addiction, disordered body image and eating, trauma, and grief are some therapy examples of these attempts to cope with and improve our lives.
When we first ask for help, often, you and I have no clue how layered and complex of an onion it is that we are peeling. We start peeling at one issue, and find another or five cropping up, without warning.
Does that mean we no good at dealing with our issues?
Does it mean we’re “doing therapy/getting help all wrong?”
As in “Should-Have-Already- Mastered-Everything.”
Just like we would not expect a vision prescription for corrective eyewear to never change throughout one’s entire lifetime, we cannot expect that we will address, deal with, and face, head-on, every issue and trauma of our lives in one shot, with no room for further revelations, insights, and updates on who we are and on what we’ve come from.
In short, “this’ll take a while.”
It’s all subject to change.
Check yearbook photos from high school. Do you and I still adopt the same hairstyles and clothing trends as we were when we were sixteen?
We’ve evolved. Our tastes are different. We’ve been influenced and have undergone experiences that have changed us. We are not in the same place as we were as children, or even as adults.
We continue to evolve.
Evolution involves vision, seeing things in a different way, over time.
It can take years for us to see things a certain way. It’s a process that cannot be rushed; it arrives in its own time.
The Grace of the Reframe:
Grace and Perfection are two different life realities. One is doable, and the other isn’t.
Guess which one is which?
Many of us have spent our lives unsuccessfully trying to see and live with absolute perfection. We have been so oppressive and rigid, placing unrealistic demands on ourselves, with no room for error, let alone, for seeing things in newer ways.
We need to change that, to reframe that. We have not reached perfection, nor will we.
But a better, healthier state of being IS possible.
We can put on different spectacles and start to see some newer things.
These things can sharpen our lives, not just our view of things.
Copyright © 2022 by Sheryle Cruse