On Reframing: Our Language Shapes Our Vision

May 22, 2017

In my early attempts to heal from chronic illness,
I’d feel better for a time, and then I wouldn’t.
The shade would open, light would come in, and then it would close.
I always referred to these experiences as “setbacks”.
I was getting nowhere, erasing what I had accomplished, stuck.

For the past year my stretches of feeling healthy and strong are way more longer lasting.
Those closed-shade times are fewer, farther between and create less of an impact on my life.
This takes a lot of paying attention and a lot of participation.
But it also takes patience, self-compassion and different language.

Healing is not linear and the path is far from straight.
And last month I had experiences with my health that not only surprised and confused me,
but kinda took me down and forced me to cancel clients and personal plans.
Events of this intensity had not happened in a very long time.

Over that long time I shed stories, healed emotional wounds, and burned off a bunch of dross.
And in the process much of my mindset and a lot of my language shifted.
So when these incidences occurred, I gently referred to them as “detours”.

And this was kinda huge. Though I hadn’t realized it at first.
But it was a total reframe for me.

A detour is very different from a set back.
A detour takes you a little off course but doesn’t pull you backwards.
A detour can open you up to learning something new. It’s less frustrating, it’s less time lost.
It shines a light where you may have veered off, what you can do to get back on course.
It gives you pause. It let’s you know you need to either pull over and rest or learn what new roads there are to explore, which may even lead to another, more efficient or effective way.

This shift in language helped me to widen my lens, look at the bigger picture, recognize
the whole of the truth. Including how incredibly far I had come in the last year.
And, to not get too comfortable. Conscious participation is just that.

Language was not particularly nuanced or well-thought out in my home growing up.
I am learning how the words we speak greatly shape what and how we see.
Those words can be limiting and judgmental or they can be open, compassionate and allowing.

Those detours last month were a couple of paragraphs in a whole big long story.
One that includes accepting a diagnosis and a full rejection of what that’s supposed to mean.
Yes, fear and frustration and guilt but also empowerment, learning and persistence.
We need to examine all chapters. But perhaps re-write a few.
Not to invalidate how we feel, but to tell our story, even just in our head, with not just acceptance,
but kindness and a forward-facing view.
The path may have many twists and turns, but re-routing is always an option.

let’s rock this thing.
karen

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