“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance.
Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It’s called mystery.
Embrace occupational uncertainty. It’s called joy.
Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It’s called revelation.”
Uncertainty is often a pre-curser to anxiety in our world today. We like to be in control, have a routine, know what to expect. Over the last several months humanity has been a tangle of uncertain anxieties and unexpected events, leaving us searching for answers, solutions and common ground. This is proving more challenging as we cling to our preferred perspectives, because, after all, they are familiar and therefore, feel safe. This is a prime example of where a reframe can create space, understanding and growth. Batterson reframes uncertainty into some of life’s greatest gifts and treasures, romance, mystery, joy and revelation. Imagine what we could do if we began to see the uncertain as opportunities. Imagine if we began to understand that differences are natural and approached those differences with a sense of curiosity rather than judgement. Imagine what we could do if we used mindful communication in the face of conflict to fuel collaboration rather than a win or lose mentality.
Could we foster connection and growth in the face of hard time and uncomfortable headlines? Could we see the political divide as a call to reform and change by listening mindfully and having conversations with empathy. Could we see those who are hurting others with their words and actions as children needing care and love. Could we notice the differences in skin color and celebrate the uniqueness, join hands and learn from one another. Could we take off the armor of me verses you and see it as we, the people?
There is so much to be said about perspective. It molds our personalities and effects our relationships. It shapes our experiences. With empathy and open mindedness, it can bring us together. With hardened and stubborn hearts, it divides us. Much like a photographer decides the perspective of a photo, we decide the view from which we approach our lives. In this same respect, there is always more we cannot see, outside of the frame. What could it mean to change our perspective? To intentionally tilt the view, we're accustomed to seeing? Could we use the power of reframing for a better tomorrow?
So many things to consider that could impact the course of our destiny. The brain is a powerful place to begin a perspective experiment. It is likely that you are familiar with the saying, “you are what you eat.” What about considering that “we are what we think.” Just as it is important to fuel your body with healthy food to be at your optimum physical performance, it is equally important to feed your mind positive thoughts and affirmation for premium mental health. Being mentally strong shows up in a little word called resilience.
Reframing is a technique that allows you look at a thought, situation or challenge differently to see what you might discover as a result. It is a way to retrain your brain and build the resiliency muscle. Let’s use the very simple example of a glass filled half-way with water. Without thinking too much about it we will have an initial reaction as to whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. Providing our answer will likely suggest if we are an optimist or a pessimist by nature in our thoughts.
The exciting thing is that our brains have the ability to continue learning and changing regardless of our age. Science used to have us believe that the shaping of the brain was able to change up until the age of 25, but recent studies have shown the brain can change at any age and that practicing a skill over and over is a large component of that change. The water glass example is quite easy to reframe, but many of the circumstances life throws at us do not prove to be so simple. That’s why it is important to practice.
Making judgements about situations or people, based on the way our own lives have unfolded is human. To air is human. It doesn’t make it right or acceptable. Just as offering forgiveness to someone who has hurt you does not condone the actions of those who offended, but instead it allows you to move forward, to heal. The same is true for perspective. It does not erase all disagreements or confusion but it allows us to pause and create space for empathy. To say, hmmm, I never thought about it like that before. I didn’t notice the way it would look if I turned it on its head. I didn’t understand. It’s not asking you to agree necessarily, but to notice. To reframe. To zoom in and make your eyes cross and then pull back to see the imagine, like in a magic eye drawing that looks like an interweaving of geometric shapes that magically birth a butterfly.