Sunday Post 80: Reframing Your Thinking

Posted by Danny

Before Lisa and I got married, our minister required us to go through three sessions of premarriage counseling.  As part of the process, we had to take a personality test.  When Dr. Eller presented the scores he told us that Lisa was 98% idealist and 2% realist.  He then put a positive spin on the fact that I was the exacct opposite: 98% realist and only 2% idealist.  “They say opposites attract!”

Many of the conversations Lisa and I had over the years went like this:

Lisa:  “I like this house.  I think we should buy it.”

Danny:  “It’s considerably over our price range.  I’m just not sure we can swing the payment.”

Lisa:  “We can cut back on other spending, and we both get raises every year!”

Danny:  “It is going to be really tight…”

We generally compromised or took turns as we faced decisions in life.  If we always went with my line of thinking, we’d still be living in a 900 square foot adobe and driving the cars we had in college.  On the other hand, if Lisa had taken the lead on too often a basis, we’d be living in Hawaii with a house in foreclosure. 

But things worked out.  We seemed to have an uncanny ability to land on our feet.  Perhaps it was the balance we brought to each other.

Recently, I’ve started working on reframing.  As I look at a situation, I’m trying to see the potential good versus the potential unease.

Today I drop Stephanie off at camp for a month and Michelle off at camp for two weeks.  It’s a great experience for them, but I dread the quiet house. 

Reframe:  I strive to have some one on one time with each of my kids.  What a great opportunity to spend some time with DJ without the distractions of her little sisters.

Last week I returned to work after two weeks of vacation.  My absolute favorite place to be in this world is on the beach at 4 pm on a summer afternoon – the breeze coursing around my body.  Nothing, nothing feels better to me.

Imagine my lack of zest for returning to my brown desk and hundreds of emails.

Reframe:  I love what I do for a living!  I love the people I work with!  I have a job and there are so many out there right now who are unemployed.  I have worked at the Y so long I have a ton of vacation days each year.  I’m a fortunate dude.

I recently read an article that said we spend entirely too much time searching for happiness.  Instead we should be looking for true contentment.  As I see it, happiness is more temporary – it’s unwrapping gifts at Christmas.  Contentment is the ability to be thankful for and enjoy the gifts you’ve received well into the new year.  It’s deeper.  It lasts longer. 

I’m working to reframe for the long haul, trying to get out of the daily ups and downs that can keep me from enjoying today.

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