3 Ways To Reframe Negative Situations

Re-framing = Changing the perspective of a situation. 

 Imagine this: Each life experience or situation is like a photo inside a frame. 

Now, that frame influences the appearance of the photo. Also, the way the photo is seen could be influenced by other factors it such as the environment it is placed in, where it is hung up, the lightning, and the colors around the wall and the frame. All these factors tend to even change the meaning of the actual photo.

We all can face frustrating or disappointing experiences sometimes. And whenever this happens, we would like to bounce back stronger. Well, part of cultivating this form of resilience has a lot to to with how those life experiences are perceived or framed.

Just like changing the frame of a photo, if we can learn to properly reframe life experiences or change the way we look at situations, the meaning can change as well. In most cases, when we change the way we look at things, that does change the way we interpret it. Situations happen to us. We get to choose how we define it, tell it, interpret it, and believe it. We always have a choice to look for the silver lining in any situation. The meaning we attach to each life situation could either motivate or demotivate us. It could either move us forward or hold us back. 

light room with mirror on wall

There is a great power that lies in the way we interpret or perceive our life situations. Indeed, we may not be able to change what happens to us, but we always can change the way we react or respond to what happens. We can influence how we choose to perceive the situation in our minds. 

Most of our life situations do not determine the outcomes by themselves, but our perceptions do.


It is reasonable to understand that it can be hard to think of the good in all hard situations. For example, it can be hard to stay happy in very traumatic situations. It can be hard to perceive such situations as happy ones. So, validate those feelings and emotions. Show yourself some empathy and treat yourself with compassion. After that, gradually try to look for ways to bounce back by reframing some elements of it. It is a good thing to practice rephrasing life circumstances, especially the ones you have no control over. This can be a source of healing for you. 

Here are 3 ways to cultivate the habit of reframing negative situation:

1. Perspective changing questions:

love people woman art

Ask yourself honest questions that would help you look at situations differently. Since we don’t always have control over everything, good things are going to happen to us that we will always celebrate and reframe positively. Also, some things that will make us disappointed, angry, frustrated, or sad are bound to happen. When they do, here are some questions to consider asking yourself when you start to reframe those negative experiences: 

What else might be going on here? What good can be found in this? What did I learn from this experience? What can I do differently next time? What positive outcomes eventually came as a result of this situation? What meaning does it have? What purpose does it give me? How can I use this for good? What advice can I give to someone else about a similar situation?

You can practice this. You can look at a list of any experiences from your past that were negative and then identify the positive outcomes and or the empowering lessons you can take from them. Change your perspective. 

2. Reframe the meaning of words or phrases:

For example, to some people, “work” could mean or framed to be “demeaning or “depressing” or something they “have to do.” To others, it could mean “empowering” or “purposeful” or something they “Get to do” because they can do it and they are grateful for that.

What about the word “fail?” To some people with a fixed mindset, it can make them feel strong emotions of fear. To them, failure is the ultimate worst-case scenario. Because they have framed it that when they fail at something that means they are now a failure. 

For people with a growth mindset, it could mean “lesson learned.” They don’t see it as “everything has been lost.” This is because they have learned something from it that they can apply to their life. For a growth mindset, failure becomes a failure when you don’t attempt to do something, when you don’t learn from wrong attempts, and when you quit before even trying it first.

3. Empower your mind with your thoughts:

Remember the M-TEA Interaction: The Mind-Thoughts- Emotions-Actions. Your MIND is responsible for your THOUGHTS, and your thoughts determine your EMOTIONS. Then your emotions shape your ACTIONS. And in the end, those actions produce the CHANGE we desire and how we PERCEIVE our world, our situations, and others around us. 

The next time you start thinking that you are not good at something or you can’t do something, try to empower your mind. Allow your mind to know that you may not have the ability right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t do it. Your subconscious mind is so powerful that it listens to what you say and want. When you tell your mind that you can develop the ability to do something, it starts to look for ways to learn and grow that ability. Reframe your perspective by empowering your mind. Make the shift from limiting your mind to tell it that it is possible, and you are possible:

“I can’t achieve this goal” to “I haven’t achieved this goal yet.”

“I am not good enough” to “I’m getting better at this.”

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Published by Nabs and Kim Nabieu!

Kim and Nabs are a young couple who are passionate about engaging, empowering, and transforming the next generation for greatness. They offer transformation coaching services that are guaranteed to help teens and young adults discover their greatest potential, transform from within, create lasting changes, accomplish life goals, and live their best lives.

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