Changing my expectations of myself and of others is easy and hard at the same time. It’s easy because it doesn’t require any physical change or financial investment. Yet it is hard because it demands that I challenge my own beliefs.
I’ve developed a list of what I call “reframes,” that can help to spark our thinking and re-frame our expectations. A popular reframe is changing a thought from “I have to…” to “I get to…”
Instead of seeing a task like picking up your kids from school as a burden that “you have to do,” you might think of it as an opportunity that “you get to do.” It is a way to shift our perspective, especially when we feel stuck.
We often think of things as “a glass half empty” or as “a glass half full” situations. The classic framing of an optimist would consider the glass half full.
While I’m an unapologetically optimistic person, I don’t use reframing to trick myself into thinking positively. Instead, I reframe to explore different possible interpretations for any given situation, while also acknowledging that how I feel in any given moment will be influenced by external factors beyond my control.
The glass can be half empty and half full simultaneously. There is no particular “right” interpretation, just different.
All of these reframes I offer are opportunities to practice curiosity and to ask ourselves, is there another way to understand this situation, to examine our own expectations?
Reframing reminds us of all the different, contradictory feelings and thoughts we can hold at the same time.
I’ve loosely categorized these reframes into three buckets that align with how we at CuriosityBased describe the three elements of practicing curiosity:
1) increasing self-awareness (getting curious about myself)
2) building relationships (getting curious about other people and let them get curious about me)
3) communicating clearly (listening and asking questions with curiosity)
Each reframe is a set of two to three different interpretations of the same thing, usually stated as questions, as written below. Here they are:
Increase self-awareness (Get curious about myself)
- What should matter to me?/What does matter to me?
- What does success look like to me?/ What does success feel like to me?
- Am I not being heard?/ Am I not getting what I want?
- Am I Managing my energy /Am I managing my time?
- Is this a problem to solve?/Is this problem teaching me something?
- Is someone judging me/Am I judging myself?
- What will I achieve?/What will I learn?
- Am I feeling pain?/Am I feeling change?
- Do I own my possessions?/Do my possessions own me?
- Am I the victim?/Am I the persecutor?
- They made me feel bad/I made myself feel bad
- What should do in this situation?/What could do in this situation?/What would I do in this situation?
Building relationships (get curious about other people and let them get curious about me)
- Is someone judging me?/Am I judging someone?
- Am I waiting for an invitation?/Should I extend an invitation?
- Are they asking me for something?/Are they offering me something?
- Was I wrong?/Was I in the wrong?
- Do I feel superior to…?/Do I feel inferior to…?
- Does their behavior reflect disrespect?/ Does their behavior reflect a lack of respect?
- Am I anti-(fill in the blank)? Am I pro-(fill in the blank)
- Am I Code switching? Am I strategically adapting?
- You make me whole/I am already whole
- Was their intention good?/ Was their intention bad?/ What was their intention?
- Is someone making assumptions about me?/ Am I making an assumption about them?
Communicate clearly (listening and asking questions with curiosity)
- Do we have different perspectives?/ Do we have different approaches?
- Do we have different values?/ Do we have different priorities?
- What should we do?/ What could we do? What would we do?
- Are we thinking of the present in this situation? Are we thinking of the future in this situation? Are we thinking of the past in this situation?
- Are we talking about a need?/ Are we talking about a want?
- What does success look like to us? What does success feel like to us?
Which of these reframes resonate with you? Do you have some reframes you’d like to share?