Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tempest in a Teapot

Or maybe you’re more familiar with the old English version, a Storm in a Teacup. Whatever you want to call it, what we’re really talking about is simply keeping things in perspective.

Are you one of the many who are trying to make positive lifestyle changes? Are you one of the many that along the way hits a setback? Do you treat that setback as a guide or a brake? (If you’re at all familiar with LoneStart Wellness you already know one of our tenets is to treat setbacks as guides, not brakes.)  Do you tend to take a setback and make what actually is a small problem seem far greater than it really is, blowing it completely out of proportion? Congratulations. You’ve just created a Tempest in a Teapot.

Take a minute and think about the biggest issue or problem you have. The bigger, badder, baddest, and most terrible ... the better. Now, blow it up. Make it even bigger, badder and more terrible. Can you feel your blood pressure going up? Now try to picture that tornado from The Wizard of Oz, the one that whirled Dorothy away from Kansas. Picture your big, bad problem spinning around and around in that tornado—and now, shrink it all down and put it all into a little, delicate, white teacup. That little white teacup is sitting on a little white saucer and there’s a little wisp of steam—the remains of the storm.

This is the proverbial “storm in a teacup,” or “tempest in a teapot,” and it’s all about perspective. It’s also about reframing that experience. When you miss your goal and experience a setback, think about what happens when you look at it instead in a positive (reframed) perspective. And, as you’re putting your setback in perspective, by reframing it you are also creating flexibility in how you think about it. Reframing lets you look at a negative outcome as a positive learning experience.

You’ll be able to come up with a number of effective reframing statements and thoughts, but here are a few to get you started—my personal all-time favorite: It could be worse. A few more: It’s only a small part of something bigger and more important; It’s a challenge, not a problem; You have everything you need, here and now; What is, is. It’s only bad if you compare it to something else; It’s exactly as you created it; There’s an important lesson here.

Now, what happens when you begin to think of these reframing statements as changes in attitude? If you look at what happens in life as a series of learning experiences, you will always learn something new, and that’s good news. So, here’s a thought. Consider that, the greater the setback, the greater the learning experience, and then, you’re back on track in better shape than before. You’ve altered your perception of what occurred and created a more positive outcome—without actually changing the circumstances. It’s not an excuse, but it changes the experience, and it’s a way to move forward.  Isn’t that what we’re after?

No comments: