If you’re like most people (including us), you have ups and downs in your relationships–especially with the people closest to you.
That’s pretty normal. We all get irritated, feel slighted, misunderstood or not loved as much as we think we should at various times and with various people.
But what we’ve found is that there is a way to feel happier and more connected to our loved ones–even at these times.
It’s called an “Appreciation Reframe.”
It’s the idea of positive reframing and refocusing when your relationships get challenging for you and when you’re not feeling very happy about your situation–when you tend to “forget” why you love someone.
Do as Mark Victor Hansen recommends–look at this person or this situation through “opportunity glasses” instead of through the eyes of doubt and negative judgment.
When you look at your relationships through your “opportunity glasses,” you get a new sense of how they are “working” instead of how they aren’t.
Does that mean you allow people to treat you badly–just smiling and saying nothing?
Of course not.
It simply means making a shift–reframing it to find some appreciation in your mind so that you can respond to the person and the situation in a clearer, more loving way.
Much of what we share in our Magic Relationship Words book and audio program came out of our experimenting with ways to reframe situations in our minds and then communicate so that the other person stayed open to hearing what we needed and wanted to say.
Yes, refocusing and doing an appreciation reframe is that important, especially if you’re having problems communicating with someone important to you.
We use it in our own lives when we feel challenged by people we love or in certain situations.
You don’t even have to be challenged by the other person because if you do an appreciation reframe, everyone will feel better. And we all want to feel better.
Here are a few examples of some of our appreciation reframes–
When Susie does something small that irritates Otto, he might choose to focus on being grateful for what he’s learned by being with her about being more responsible, more purposeful and focused in his life.
When Otto irritates Susie, she might choose to remember that by being with him, she’s allowed herself to open into being more courageous, spirited and expansive in her life.
Otto has been changed by being in a relationship with Susie’s daughter who has two young children.
From watching her parenting, he has learned about being truly present with a child and what that looks like.
Susie has been changed by being in a relationship with Otto’s son who is now 21 years old. She has learned about allowing others to follow their own path and to just act from love.
When the two of us think about the gifts that we have received from being in a relationship with each other, we are astounded at how we are more able to make a greater difference in the world together rather than separately.
When we look at how our lives have changed for the better by being together and how we have grown into being better people, there’s such a sense of appreciation.
That’s an appreciation reframe from simply thinking that we are married and spending our lives together to appreciating the gifts that our marriage has brought to both of us.
It’s so much richer to think this way!
Okay, so how about you?
How have your close relationships changedyou?
As you think about them, how have the people closest to you affected you?
How are you able to make a greater difference in the world because of having been in relationships with them?
We encourage you to take some time (even if it’s just a few moments) and practice what we’re calling an appreciation reframe.
If you’re game to try it, here’s a simple exercise for you to do right now…
1. Choose a relationship that is important to you.
It might be your spouse, your lover, your partner, a family member, a child, a co-worker, a friend. You might even choose a troubled relationship.
2. Now make a list of all the ways this relationship has served you–made you a better person, stronger, more loving, more empowered, more capable, more financially secure, more courageous.
Be creative with your answers and let the words come from your heart.
What we’ve found is that when you take the time to think about how the other people in your life have impacted you and made you a better person, you not only feel happier about those relationships but you feel happier about yourself.
The little stuff that used to irritate you is no longer that important.
Sometimes in life, we get frustrated because we’re not who we think we want to be or what or where we think we should be.
Doing an appreciation reframe is a very simple but powerful exercise that CAN make you feel better and more uplifted about your situation and your life.
Again, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying to put blinders on and pretend that challenges don’t exist in your relationships and life. Far from it.
What we are suggesting is a simple recipe for feeling better about the people in your life and yourself so that you can more consciously create what you want more of.
Our recommendation is to do this exercise often and see how your life changes for the better.