Ep.06: How To Reframe Negative Emotions Part 2
Today is a continuation from Episode 5 where we talked about metabolizing, reframing and releasing any negative emotion in 90 seconds. In this episode we further explore that really powerful middle step, the reframe. I believe that’s the big differentiator between the negative folks and the positive folks in life; those who pluck the good stuff out of their challenges. Reframing is a powerful agent for growth and learning.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
- How to reframe and release negative emotions so that you will always gain from life’s challenges
- I tell a couple personal stories that illustrate the process of reframing negative experiences
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Robyn: Hi there, I’m Robyn Openshaw, your host of “Your High Vibration Life” and welcome to episode six.
Last time, we talked about 90 seconds to metabolize, reframe, and release any negative emotion. If you haven’t listened to episode five, you really want to start there.
Today, we’re talking about that really powerful middle step, the reframe. I believe that it’s the big differentiator between the negative folks and the positive folks in life. Those who pluck the good stuff out of all their challenges. You can’t release it to the universe and give your pain and your suffering and your sins and your failings back to wherever it came from.
You can’t release it, truly let it go until you’ve metabolized it. You’ve got to understand what it is so you can use it for fuel. Then, you reframe it as the really powerful agent for growth that it is.
The funny thing is, my internet career began with a really sort of awful experience. You probably think I’m talking about being 206 pounds and having twenty-one diseases, and I’m actually not talking about that story that I tell.
I’m talking about a different story, when my family and I went on the ABC Disney reality TV show Wife Swap. I backed out of it the first time. It turns out, later I found that I was supposed to swap lives with some people in West Virginia who live in a fifth wheel and they’re carnies.
They run a carnival and they had these three very overweight children. They wanted me to do my green smoothie thing and do it in a fifth wheel. I didn’t know that though. They don’t tell where you’re going. I backed out of it, I really got cold feet.
ABC wouldn’t let me change the contract. There were two things I wanted in the contract that would protect two of my children that I felt I didn’t want them to explore, some issues that would be sensitive for them. They were giving me resistance on that. I said, “Well then I’m not going to do it.” They came back to me a month or two later and they just begged me. They said, “Okay we’ll change the contract,” but you don’t know where you’re going, and so I have a lot of anxiety about it.
I gave my family a big talk before we left and I said, “You just make sure and be who you are, act in integrity and treat her like a queen. Okay? You let her have master bedroom. You treat her with great respect.” That was my parting words to my family.
Well, I went to the inner city, in a place where people had bars on their windows and locks on the gates around their houses. The people ran a government subsidized “skate” shop. It didn’t make any money, but they got money from the government because they were Native Americans serving a Native American population. All of the kids skated all day in a skate park. Some of them were on drugs.
I had a tough experience, but not because of being there. I had a great time with the kids. I taught them green smoothies. Most of these kids had never eaten a vegetable. They had a big barbecue and they said “Eat it! Eat it!” They chanted, like twenty kids, and they got me to it my first bite of a hot dog that I’d had in like twenty years.
I planted a garden in their backyard. It didn’t even have grass in it, but I left there with them having a garden. I tried to teach them the things that were meaningful in my life.
On the other side, the wife who stayed in my home was not very nice to my husband. Party, party, party. When I got home, my beautiful home was full of greasy potato chip scrounged into the couches. They had made fun of a thing that we did with my youngest son who used to slam the door. They had taken his really nice door off of his bedroom because that’s what we did when he wouldn’t stop slamming and make a big display of it in the backyard. It was broken.
The whole place was a big huge mess when I came home. I was in tears because my house had been trashed. I really like to keep my home nice and neat. The meeting across the table with the other mother was, I felt very misunderstood. She mischaracterized the kind of mother I was.
All in all, it was kind of awful experience, probably more so for my then-husband than for me. It was a hard, hard experience to be away from my family and staying in this other people’s house, and there were about thirteen crew members in each home. It was difficult to see my family cut and spliced with editing. All the parts where I laughed at the end of a funny situation when I was in Albuquerque were cut off, and it made me appear to be a different person than I was.
A very hard experience, but guess what, here’s what good came out of it: because of that, ABC told me, “people are going to want to learn about the this green smoothie thing they’ve never seen or heard of. They’re going to be trying to reach you. What are you going to do about it?”
I put up the website greensmoothiegirl.com. I put it up, about ABC Disney and being on a reality show and it’s aired many, many, many times on Lifetime since then. It’s not when me and my site go viral. It went viral long before the show aired.
There was no business motive associated with it. There is nothing for sale there. It was just me telling my story and beginning to blog nine years ago what had made such a dramatic difference for my family.
Not only did I have an amazing time right out of the gate, there were so many people writing me and so many people who wanted help and so many people who wanted to know, “How’d you do it? How’d you lose seventy pounds without counting calories or dieting? How did you get rid of twenty-one different diseases and get rid of all your prescriptions meds?”
I just started answering questions. I just started blogging, I started sharing my research over the past many, many years and greensmoothiegirl.com became one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I was a college professor and I was a mom. It really pulled me into an amazing vortex. It became my career. I didn’t set out nine years ago to be the author of fifteen books. I didn’t set out, when I went on that reality TV show because we were recruited, to run a multi-million dollar business that’s been a great blessing to my family. What a great blessing came out of a very, very difficult experience.
You all listening to this have experiences like that, where you can’t see the forest through the trees but years after a very difficult experience you look back, and you see the amazing learning opportunity. What’s really great about the ninety seconds habit is my hack, my goal to find that meaning, those golden nuggets in whatever tough thing is happening to me, faster, and have it not take years where I look back and say, “Wow I wouldn’t trade that hard experience for the world.”
I would say to you about my son almost dying – who was on all kinds of steroids, bronchodilators, fell below the fifth percentile for weight – I wouldn’t trade all of that for anything because of what it taught me, the kind of person I became, the things I discovered that blessed my whole family’s health.
My goal is to turn on the dime and see the good in something immediately. That’s what happy people do; I believe that is the big differentiator.
Just this week, I happened upon a TED Talk by Elizabeth Smart. If you don’t remember who she is (you probably do but here in Utah where I live she was the number one news story), quite a few years ago – she’s a young woman now in her probably mid-twenties – when she was fourteen, she was kidnapped by a homeless man. She was taken from her family’s home in the middle of the night. Marched up a mountain and force to go underground in a little shanty built under the ground, so that no one could see it, where this man and his common law wife repeatedly raped her.
For nine months she was kept in captivity in horrifying circumstances. What struck me about her TED Talk was that she said, “I would not trade that whole terrible experience [for anything],” because of what she’s learned from it. The way she’s been able to share that with millions of other people – there are almost a million views on that TED Talk – and as a very very young woman she has become a very accomplished, amazing public speaker and I’m sure has inspired millions of people.
To the story that I wanted to share with you. I want to share this story to highlight the power of reframing.
My friend Laura is my age; from my vantage point it looked like she had a perfect life. She never had to work after college. We both got married young and we were raising our kids. She had five and I had four, while she was supported by her husband.
Her husband and I worked together right out of college. We both worked in public relations for the same company and that’s where we got to be friends when we were very, very young. After that, I worked sixty-hour weeks; I gutted out a difficult divorce. I had children who I absolutely adore but they didn’t always make choices I liked.
Whereas Laura had a wonderful marriage, she had two homes in Costa Rica, another vacation home close by here in Utah. She had picture perfect tall, gorgeous, smart kids; she had an amazing life.
I started playing tennis recreationally with Laura about eight years ago, right after my divorce. Then both of us joined a club and began to compete. We moved up the ranks together and eventually she out-rated me because, like I said, she was a home maker and she had spare time. Whereas, I was an entrepreneur single mom working far more than full time.
Very recently, Allen – her husband – got pneumonia and he ended up in the hospital. As he came out of the hospital, a doctor friend wanted to see his x rays and told him and Laura that he had leukemia, but it was a very treatable form. Just days later, they put him on a short course of twenty-four-hours-a-day chemo drip at home.
It was just for a week and they were told that this cancer was very, very beatable. At the end of that week, Allen’s liver, kidneys, and lungs began to shut down. His blood pressure was a hundred and eighty five over hundred and forty five. His right arm became gangrenous. He had an E. Coli infection and he went into a coma. Three week later, the family had to make a difficult decision and machines were unplugged and Allen passed away.
I share this story about Allen and Laura because Laura was married thirty years very happily; years before Allen’s premature death, she said, “Either things turn out well or they make a great story.” Laura, my friend, is one of the funniest and wittiest people I’ve ever known. She has a way with a story.
Not all of us are storytellers, not everyone has that gift. I’d like to add a third option. Either things turn out well or they make a great story or what happens to you can be great lesson, an amazing learning opportunity.
Personally (I think I’ve mentioned this before), I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, not the way people use that phrase. I don’t see God as a puppeteer up in the heavens engineering every minute detail and taking amazing people like Allen from the arms of his family. Seems to me that if you believe that, you believe in a pretty gruesome God who engineers terrible things happening to people all over the globe to millions of people.
I do like my own reframe of everything happens for a reason, in the sense that we can make meaning of all these tragedies and the mistakes we make in our lives, large ones and small ones.
We can, and many of us do, and when we do we make something very beautiful of our lives. That is a quote that I have in front of me on my vision board, make something beautiful of your life.
We all find that we are magnetically attracted to people who embody this. We want to spend more time with them. At Allen’s funeral, this was a just a few months ago, Laura got up to the microphone. She wasn’t on the program of course; there’s no widow who signs up to speak at her husband’s funeral after he dies so very unexpectedly and suddenly. She did speak. There were over five hundred people at the funeral and she said to all of us, “We felt like the luckiest people in the world when we were on the beach surfing at our vacation home in Costa Rica. We felt like the luckiest people in the world when we had a one-bedroom cockroach infested apartment in New York City after college because we were and we are.” Talk about a master of reframe.
I hope that you’re as inspired by that as I am. You prove who you are in your extremities. Your greatest challenges prove who you are, when the temptation is high to lash out or to take the path of least resistance or to take the road of no compassion, which might be called the low road, or to be reactionary. In the moments that someone shows you anger or selfishness, what happens when you reflect back to them mercy and grace?
You can reframe the things that have happened to you for powerful good. In your life and in the life of anyone you tell about it. I’d never tell you, “Stop telling people about what you’ve been through,” but what if you tasked yourself with always ending it with, “and the good thing is …” This is a great thing to have next year, a gratitude journal where you talk about what really happened to you and don’t spare of the details. But if you could end it with “and the good thing is,” it’s an amazing way to end your day.
Releasing that negative charge to the stuff that’s happening to you, it has to be preceded by metabolizing it, understanding it, and reframing it. It’s the same as clearing out the battery acid dripping into your heart. That is what not forgiving is: it’s like battery acid dripping into your heart.
I want to leave you with the couple of graphics that were done. This is our reproduction of them, but they were researched by the Institute of Hearthmath. This is twenty-year-old research but it just blows my mind.
What we want to show you (I’ll put it in the show notes) is an ECG of a human being for eight seconds, okay? An electrocardiogram is measuring the waves of your brain when you are feeling gratitude. I want you to go look at them in the show notes and take a look at what the vibration of gratitude looks like. It looks exactly like it feels. Take a look, too, at the other graph with the same exact person spending eight seconds in anger, and look at what it looks like, because it looks like what it feels like. I think this is a really good graphical representation of what energies are as they attach to our emotions.
I’m going to see you in another week, and I’ve invited some of my friends who are thought leaders. You will know some of their names; they’ve come through low vibration times of their life to get where they are, and most of them say, “I would not trade that experience for the world.”
I’m not just going to ask them what their serious challenge was and to tell us briefly what that story was. In some cases, we’re talking about life threatening crisis. I’m also going to get from them what the reframe is. What are those gold nuggets? What are those takeaways? What are those things that will be of use to all of us? What have they learned about how to protect their own high vibration now that they’ve moved out of that low vibe place and found amazing success and happiness?
I want these interviews to be valuable in your own quest, your quest for your high vibration life.