Often, when buying a painting or a picture, it involves choosing a frame. The choice to be made is one that serves the picture. For a long time, it was there to add to the impression that the picture is valuable, the frames were large, often golden, and seemed to be a piece of art of their own. In other times the frames were more subtle seeking to make the picture itself more visible.
The frame served to shift the viewer’s perspective on the picture.
When taking photos, one of the choices we have to make is its frame. By selecting the part of the scene that we’ll capture for our photo we also choose what won’t be visible on the photo. In doing so we are selecting a part of reality with which we’ll seek to impact others. We are making something visible that feels relevant to us and at the same time, we are taking it out of its context removing what seemed less relevant.
In a more or less conscious manner, we apply both approaches to ideas and thoughts.
When sharing them we’ll do our best to make them more or less attractive to others. In developing our thoughts we’ll use the way we see ourselves, others, and the environment to “frame” our thoughts. Someone who tends to see the obstacles first will stay focused on these, whereas someone who is on the lookout for opportunities will leave the obstacles aside. We all have perspectives we’ll use more easily than others. They work like lenses on what we see.
Not too long ago a friend and I were talking about a situation that I felt had gone wrong. Even if I knew that I wasn’t responsible for the outcome I was still searching for all the elements for which I felt responsible. It was a game of self-blame. My friend gave me a new lens for the situation. He suggested that instead of making myself responsible I could think of the situation as one I had contributed to. In doing so he shifted my focus from me to all those involved.
Our ability to change often depends on the ability to see a different perspective than the one we default too. Changing the frame or reframing can be a powerful way to change one’s experience.
But it rarely is something we actively think about doing for ourselves. My ability to help others reframe their ideas and approaches to their projects will not prevent me from falling back into my default patterns. Being attentive to my thought patterns works better with help from outside. I might still fall back into the idea of being responsible in the future, but the new lens I received will stay there as a reminder that I can reframe how I see a situation.