Today’s post is a follow-up to the post Darla wrote a few weeks ago titled “To Fix Problems, Stop Admiring Them.” As always, she comes through with some spot-on insight and strategies for changing our thinking.
In a recent blog, we talked about how we are quite accomplished at talking about and bonding with others about problems and, yes, dramatically complaining about our problems to willing listeners. Problem focus just might be the lowest common denominator of communication and certainly plays key role in how we manage emotional eating.
Today I want to talk more about how to move away from admiring problems with the creative process of reframing. Reframes allow us to move from a place of external locus of control (i.e., it just happens to me) to internal locus of control (i.e., I ‘m in charge of my thoughts and behaviors).
Creatively reframing our self-talk
Consider this well-practiced and familiar external locus of control way of thinking.
My problem is:
- Everyone takes advantage of me.
- People offer me sweets when they know I’m trying to avoid them.
- My problem is: My SO brings food into the house that I can’t resist.
Or how about this twist — external locus of control thoughts about the things people around you don’t do but you think they should do?
My problem is:
- No one asks me my preferences.
- My SO is unconcerned about my feelings.
- No one at work asks me to join them for lunch.
Fill in the sentences with your own familiar self-talk to quickly see how miserable you can make yourself feel. Writing them down can help you see what you might habitually be thinking below your level of awareness. These thoughts run along well-grooved neural pathways without conscious effort. Reframing helps you put up road blocks to interrupt external locus of control self-talk and move towards internal locus of control empowered self-talk.
Reframing with Personal Empowerment We frame our problems with words. So let’s choose to frame them with personal empowerment words using internal locus of control.
My problem is: Everyone takes advantage of me.
My reframe is:
- I keep saying yes when I need to say no.
- I give people the impression that I’m okay with their requests.
- I let other people decide for me rather than making a decision myself.
My problem is: People offer me sweets when they know I’m trying to avoid them.
My reframe is:
- I expect others to help me control my behavior.
- I’ve taught others that I’ll accept what they offer me.
- I expect others to change so that I don’t have to.
Important: Our reframes need to feel just right to us – like taking off an uncomfortable pair of shoes and slipping into a pair of cozy slippers. The key to effective reframes is to find, well, the key to opening a door for problem solving instead of taking the easy way out and blaming others for our dissatisfaction. So, these need to be “I” statements. When we’ve got a problem, we’re part of the solution. Entertain your mind by the challenge of finding language that puts you in the driver’s seat to help you achieve your goals, whether they be getting your dream job or managing binge eating.
Got a problem? Let’s hear it and then see the reframe.