I was contemplating at the YMCA this morning (click here if you want to join us for some life-improvement action) how most of my life is about reframing something.
A man who, ironically, I do not remember fondly, actually gave me a great piece of advise once. He was talking to me as a college student about rules. He said, "If the rules say that you should be in the dorm by midnight, tell yourself that you need to be there by 11:45. Then you are obeying your own rules and not the rules of someone else. Less chance you'll rebel against yourself." That stuck with me because I realized that self-discipline is often more effective than the discipline from an outside source, so if I set my own expectations higher than what is expected of me by others, I can't help but succeed, feel good about myself, and avoid the pain that comes with my oppositional personality type.
Anyway that tidbit of advise was free, but was simply an example of reframing, which is what my life is all about. Whereas my body remains more sedentary than it should, my brain is doing gymnastics all day long, trying to wrap itself around the issues that face me each day as I attempt to walk through the field of land mines called mental illness, attachment disorders, and organic brain damage due to prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. I have to constantly reframe things.
A lot of my reframing lately has to do with doing favors for children who are demanding, manipulative, non-contributing individuals who have stolen from me, lied to me, in some cases physically hurt me, and have consistently verbally abused me and/or told me of their hatred of me for years. If I see them in that light and bring back all those memories, it is very difficult for me to want to do anything they ask.
However, if I can reframe it to say that it will be fun to see their reaction when I do something nice for them, or that it will be nice to spend some positive time with them, or that I could have a decent conversation with them, and I initiate things before they demand them, it can actually be a fun experience.
Another example of reframing is when I have to remind myself that the facts aren't in their heads the way that they are in mine. I happen to be blessed (cursed) with an incredible memory. So when someone has recently stolen a large sum of money from me and they are asking for something they don't need two weeks later (especially if it was something I bought them for Christmas that they've already managed to lose) all those facts come pouring into my head. And most definitely, when a child cusses me out and throws something at me on the way out the door in the morning, I still have that memory when they bebop in from school that afternoon asking me how my day was and wanting to know if I'd like to buy them a snack. When they make their requests there are no memories in the head like the ones that fill mine.
Today I'm struggling to reframe things in several areas. I guess I'm going to pick up Salinda and Gabby and bring them home for.... who knows how long. And while I"ll be happy to see them, the sporadic and unexpected demands are difficult for me to accommodate into an already impossible schedule. I am never kept in the loop as to what is going on until my service is needed and well, you can fill in the next three paragraphs about how all this makes me feel.
But I enjoy my daughter and my granddaughter if I can just accept things on her terms. I'll do my best to provide non-anxious responses to statements which I have a different internal response. I'll do what I've been asked to do and try to enjoy what I can.
I also have two doctor's appointments today -- one to check the thickness of my blood and the other with the cardiologist about the blood clot in my heart. Between that and the trip up to get Salinda, most of my day is shot.
Sure is a good thing that I kicked BUTT yesterday. I got so much done. Things are a rockin and a rollin in my work world as we are moving forward with all kinds of projects. It felt good to have tons of energy.
I literally went into the office, sat down at 7:40 and did not leave that desk except to go to the bathroom until 4:30. I had very little conversation and just plunged through lots of things i needed to get done. It felt good.
Today, i'll get some more done hopefully, around all my other distractions.... now how can I reframe that?