I would love to see every young person in Australia have a year off alcohol.
I am really talented at reframing.
It is one of my greatest skills, and it is not a skill I am overly proud of because my reframing sits in justification, adopted values and judgement.
It is not a positive trait.
As a contrast the therapy definition challenges the individual to reframe a negative or limiting belief into a positive:
“Reframing is a technique used in therapy to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning.”
Here is my definition;
“Reframing is a technique used in Australian society to create a perverse way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning from positive to negative.”
This really is where the term ‘ugly Australian’ exists and a reason why Australia is famous for the ‘tall poppy syndrome.’
We seem to revel in tearing down successful people.
Aussies can be petty and dogmatic. We can wallow in rhetoric, self-obsession and resentment.
Our open, fair and positive natures are prone to submerge into judgement of people, places and things, which then affects our ability to engage positively to anyone with a contrary opinion.
This is why Australians have taken so strongly to social media platforms like Facebook and reality TV families like the Kardashians.
We love the polar opposites and we are fascinated by the absurd and pathetic. Our ability to be aroused and stimulated by pity and conjecture especially through vulnerability or sadness is only second to the United States of America.
For all our amazing achievements as a country we can be a silly old place.
Let my provide a personal example which occurred to myself and my 27 year old son this week.
Tom and I had shared a quick lunch at a Mexican eatery and came out onto the street.
He gave me a hug and a kiss good bye.
My three sons and I have an extremely strong and emotionally honest relationship having encouraged them to be proud of their loving and kind natures.
We are also proud of our masculinity and care about the way we look and dress.
So, my son kisses and hugs me on the street right next to four people standing around a public pay phone. The four people in question were trying to organize a drug deal and looked a bit worse for wear due to their life style choices.
The older man of the four saw Tom kissing his Dad and immediately made a classic ugly Aussie ‘reframe.’
He growled at me and then yelled;
“You f*g dog!”
Not a tasteful thing to utter in public.
He has flipped a loving and open gesture between a son and father on its head.
For a couple of reasons, I reacted strongly. I was shaking with rage.
One of the reasons I will keep private because it is not my place to air.
Anyway, I turned on this man and advised heatedly:
‘That is my son, you f*#king idiot!!’
My reaction was extremely harsh. My body was ready to go further and deeper into attack.
The words had left my mouth before I could put silence between the stimulus of his ugly utterance and my resultant behaviour.
The man apologized profusely and repeatedly and was surprised at the comeback.
Thank God I turned around and walked away. For a few seconds I was prepared to escalate the situation.
I walked back to work shaking in rage and resentment.
How dare this fool judge me in that way!
Just because I kiss my son and dress well this idiot had mad a massive value judgement on my masculinity.
Once again it hit me!
One – who cares what he thinks?
And two – who cares if his judgement of the scenario was correct?
Then, I went and talked it through with a few people I trust.
My practice of putting pause between the stimulation and the reaction kicked in.
“It does not matter, David.”
And the hurt and anger went.
And then I was able to see clearly.
It did not matter if he was right or wrong in his judgement of the ‘kiss’, so the ownership of the outcome went, and so did the energy between my reframing and his reframing.
So once the energy is removed, it can neither be created nor destroyed.
And all was well again.
And when all is well, I was able to clearly think.
Not all people are drug addicts and drunk David, so stop looking at your life experience through the lens of others
And thank God we are all different. Why reframe?
And another penny dropped.
It means I’m letting go, and when I let go, I grow.
And when I let go negative reactions do not escalate into ugly and damaging outcomes.
Even this nasty scenario comes back to the way I handle myself.
Finally, here are two challenges I recommend you adopt for 30 days:
- Re point the unforgiving lens you use to view others back onto yourself. You may see a few more flaws that need filtering.
- Delete your Facebook account. You may realize you are just a pawn in the drama of propaganda and prejudice