Reframing reality. I’ve known about reframing since hearing these immortal words on a Louise Hay tape 20 years ago:
A thought is only a thought. You can think a new thought.
Truly? Really? I considered that idea with amazement. I knew it was true, and what a relief!
I have used reframing often since then. It changes everything! Or rather, you can change your frame of mind and this (thinking a new thought) can seem to change your entire situation. Last year a cognitive behaviour therapist enabled me to reframe a stressful reality after two visits. And of course I can always see when others need it, oh yes! I might even presumptuously advise them to use it.
But still, at times, boom! It’s me who needs it—but I’m blind to the fact.
Responsibility for real estate: a story that needed to change
Over the last few weeks I slid into a situation that was causing me great stress. Here is the story I told myself.
- I’m Chair of the body corporate responsible for the block of 6 flats in which I live.
- Body corporates now have major issues with earthquake proofing and health and safety policies
- Body corporate office bearers now have major liability. If you fail in your duties and a tradesperson gets injured, you may have to pay $60,000 or $600,000
- We meet only (clue: note that word only) 42% of local earthquake-proofing requirements.
- Insurance companies are likely to raise their own requirements to 70%, or to raise fees for buildings below that level.
- Earthquake-proofing of an old building like ours, built in 1940 same as me, is hugely stressful for the occupants, costs millions and affects saleability.
- Arithmetic is the problem: we have only five owners to do a huge amount of work
- As Chair I feel overburdened.
- It might be better to sell my apartment and buy a small house in the same neighbourhood.
Now, all those statements are true. Nevertheless it was a bad story, one that locked me into negativity and anxiety.
A better story which is equally true
I got lucky talking to a brilliant real estate agent. He said to me, “You need to reframe.”
He didn’t need to say another word. I knew exactly what he meant and within seconds I switched to a different story. I mean it, within seconds!
- I live in a wonderful apartment with 360 degree views, sun, space, and everything else I need.
- It’s worth enough so that I could sell it and look for a small standalone place.
- But this beloved city-neighbourhood has only 400 homes and many of them are unhealthy. I am very, very lucky!
- Our body corporate members are willing and able. We can organise ourselves so that the work is equally shared.
- Compared with most other body corporates our problems are tiny.
Almost instantly the chips fell into place and I became confident and serene. We will have problems, of course we will! So? Others should be half as lucky.
That was easy! Ever tried it?