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How to Re-Frame Your Experience to Create a Different Outcome

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.


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Laine Kaleja

4 months ago | 5 min read
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The key is to not only think yourself into a new experience but also to feel yourself into it.

Have you had a negative experience that sometimes paralyzes your actions because you are afraid to experience something like that again? And because of this fear, you don’t take action?

Do certain people, situations, or events make you tremble in fear, anxiety, or disgust?

Are you trying to reach a goal, but you keep on sabotaging yourself? You keep on doing the same things, which bring to same results, but that does not bring you to the goal?

If the answer to any of the questions is yes, you will benefit from this re-framing exercise.

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. — Albert Einstein

My First Experience with Re-framing

I got my first notion about how re-framing works when I was selling books door-to-door in the USA. I participated in this program for several summers.

Due to the increased amount of rejection and amounts of challenges I faced doing this job, combined with the limiting beliefs I had about myself, I had created some negative emotional experiences.

Emotional memories about these experiences made me afraid of working this sales job again in the following summer. I was scared I would encounter the same issues and experience the same negative realities.

Before each of the summers, a part of the pre-summer training was to work through different ‘what if’ situations. Imagine some challenging situations that might happen and play out how we could act differently to create a different outcome.

If you always think what you always thought, you’ll always get what you always got.

The goal was to prepare our minds so we would know how to act differently and would not act emotionally when an unexpected situation happens.

This worked often, and I was able to re-frame the past negative experience into a new positive experience by creating a different reality.

However, sometimes there was a missing link to why this did not work as well. The missing link was to not only cognitively imagine how I would act differently but also visualize how I would feel differently in this situation.

And the re-framing exercise is an excellent tool for this.

How the Re-framing Exercise Works?

Let me tell you about the re-framing exercise the way I learned it from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.

In this book, Dr. Joe Dispenza gives an example of a man who has just studied a couple of books about compassion. Soon after, his wife calls him, saying they’ve been invited to dinner with his mother-in-law.

In the past, he has experienced situations where his mother-in-law was hurting his feelings. So meeting his mother-in-law, he always sees it as a profoundly negative experience.

However, this time he decides to re-frame his experience based on the new information about compassion from the books he read. To avoid repeating the same negative experiences, he chooses to visualize ahead of time how he treats his mother-in-law with compassion and love. That’s how it, therefore, can turn out as a positive experience.

We cannot control other people or circumstances, but we can control our attitudes and reactions. Which ultimately creates our experiences and beliefs, positive or negative.

What he did was the re-framing exercise. Here is how you can do it too:

  1. Create awareness to observe what’s in your subconscious mind. Assess the situation or person that makes you feel negative, dreaded, fearful, or negative. Think through how you usually react when you face a problem. Or the last time you were in such a situation.
  2. Think through how your new version of you/your highest self/the best version of yourself would react and act differently. What do you know or what have you learned that you could apply to create a healthier reaction? What would you need to do or say or avoid doing or speaking to develop healthier and more positive emotions? Link this all with the ideal version of yourself, how you want to be and what characteristics and habits you want to embody.
  3. Now visualize yourself in those future situations you anticipate or similar situations to your past experiences and how you think, feel and act differently. Imagine how if the negative person or the fearful situation triggers you again, you decide to see it and react to it differently. What do you do or say, and how does that make you feel? How it all shifts the situation and brings different results? How does the best version of yourself/highest version of yourself feels when these situations create a positive experience?

Here is the missing piece I wrote earlier about — imagining how you feel. When trying to think more positively, most people, including me, try to only think their way into a new identity and experience.

However, thinking is not enough. The true transformation happens when our thoughts and emotions are aligned to create a new positive reality.

A simple example is when trying to think and say to ourselves, “I am rich and wealthy.” Still, we feel poor in reality — like there is never enough, we can’t pay bills we need to pay or afford what we need or want. There is a significant mismatch between our minds and bodies.

In creating a new habit of being ourselves, we are essentially taking conscious control over what had become an unconscious process of being. Instead of mind working toward one goal (I'm not going to be angry person) and the body working towards other (Let's stay angry and keep bathing in those familiar chemicals), we want to unify the mind's intent with the body's responses. To do this, we must create a new way of thinking, doing and being. — Dr. Joe Dispenza

Our bodies act on autopilot based on previous emotions created by previous experiences. The way we’ve been reacting previously to similar triggers has been wired into our brains. Neural synaptic connections have been formed.

Our limbic brain, responsible for creating emotional reactions, has made our body memorize the emotions. Our bodies remember these chemicals.

If we feel the same way more than a couple of times, these feelings have been hard-wired and now condition the body to feel those emotions and feelings.

Emotions are the result of an experience. To change this, you need to create a new positive experience that will lead to different thoughts and emotions to make new neural synaptic connections.

Now, you can wait and hope that a different experience — a positive experience will happen just by accident. Or you can go and creatively create it by using your visualization.

Studies prove how our brain reacts the same way whether we experience something in the physical realm or we vividly imagine it. A brain imaging research at the University of Colorado showed how imagining a threat lights up similar regions in the brain as experiencing it does.

If it happens with a negative experience, it happens the same with a positive experience!

Final Thoughts

By vividly imagining how you would think, feel, and act in a situation, you can rewire your brain beforehand.

And that will help you create whole different experiences because we build our realities by the thoughts we think, emotions we feel, and actions we take. Anything repeated becomes a habit.

Based on this, you really are a creator of your own reality — your thoughts, reactions, emotions, feelings, actions, behavior, and the results of it all.

If you created a negative experience without being aware of it, you can consciously create a positive experience!

So how would you like this situation you fear to turn out?

References: Dispenza, Joe, and Adam R. Boyce. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One. [U.S.]: Encephalon, 2014.

Thank you so much for reading! 💛 Get a FREE guide for perfectionists when you join my newsletter.

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