Reframing: The Art of Turning Pain into Positivity
“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you respond to it…” – Lou Holtz
As a man faces the inevitable hardship of life, the temptation to play the victim and curse life for its unfairness tempts us all, yet at this juncture, we have a choice to move closer to heaven or closer to hell.
Men are increasingly told to wallow in their pain and emotions, with conventional wisdom stating playing tough is ‘toxic’ and having the balls to dust yourself off and get in the arena again is cultural myopia stemming from outdated masculine archetypes.
The drive to face adversity and transform in the brutality of one’s pain is what makes a boy a man.
No matter how deep your pain, or how badly you’re tangled up right now, the truth is the worse your experiences are, the stronger you are destined to be – if you’re brave enough to walk the gauntlet.
For a man recovering from weakness, nice guy syndrome, addictions and more, the first step is to transcend the inner monologue of ‘I’m too fucked up’, ‘life is too hard’ and the most destructive one of all ‘I’m the victim.’
The truth may well be that you are a victim, but it ‘s even truer that embodying a victim narrative makes you fear life itself.
A victim is constantly cowering, untrusting, angry and afraid.
A man cannot express his inner power and walk a path of purpose when he is in such a state.
When embroiled in victimhood, a man – if you can call him that – feels the world owes him something and cannot trust others, or be trusted.
I, like many men, have been lost there.
It’s a vast spider web when you’re in it and life never gets better in that state of consciousness.
However, there is a way out.
To escape the vortex of victimhood, a man must first acknowledge his fears, anger, and frustration and then vow to let the truth shine on his weaknesses and burn them away.
He must be willing to let them die, and with that, his old identity will perish also.
By acknowledging your deepest anger, pain, and fear and being willing to let that go, you can take control of the internal narrative you subconsciously tell yourself every single day.
Just as a poisonous victim narrative can impact every area of your life, reframing offers you the opportunity to impact every single area of your life immensely positively.
What’s so amazing about reframing is that once it’s a firmly established way of approaching life, it is no different from a modern-day automated process, as once you have implemented a pattern of reframing, things begin to actually change without too much effort. It becomes second nature.
It’s all in the state of consciousness you approach the world in.
Remember: consciousness is everything.
Stop looking for studies proving this and paying heed to that critical voice in your head and go out and try this for yourself.
I have written before about the deadly dangers of a man playing the victim, and once you’ve recognized this deeply, reframing is the next step to freedom.
Reframing at its core is moving beyond internal victim narratives and building a new structure.
This structure must be rooted in truth.
In order to ensure this, we must carefully consider our experience of life to this point. Next, we decide to take full responsibility for ourselves.
Only you know what lurks at the bottom of your heart and soul.
Only you know the pains and pride that inform your deepest life narrative, so only you can take full responsibility for your life and understand what that truly means.
This is your unique truth.
While I understand your situation may be tragic and not of your own making, that doesn’t change anything fundamentally, because things not being your fault won’t help you in setting you free; taking responsibility for things will.
Why? Because taking responsibility for your life affords you with stability in a chaotic situation.
Taking responsibility is ultimately a moral act which, though brutally arduous, allows you to take the action of reframing your consciousness.
Good & Evil
The universe is full of dualistic elements that define each other: Good and Bad, Peace and War, Well and Sick.
As men detached from meaning who have been ruled by chaos, fear, and pain, we have been deeply lost in the negative, yet our reframing is foundationed in the active fight to work towards the positive.
“No tree, it is said, can reach to heaven, unless its roots go down to hell.” – Carl Jung
By reframing, recovering men see that the years of being deeply lost in the darkness has uniquely qualified us to see and express light.
Recovering men, therefore, actively strive to embody the light that stems from the darkness, using past pain as the fuel for that journey.
What you will find is that when a man commits to embodying a positive light in the world by taking responsibility and facing fear, others respond to that light.
Again, don’t look for studies: Try it and see.
The beauty of reframing is that when we reframe our negative narratives, as well as improving our own conscious experience of being, we also go some way in improving the quality of life for those we meet as well.
Our family, society, and culture all benefit by you taking responsibility for your darkness.
This is what giving truly means for a man. It is your spiritual role.
- Write down the most-fundamental beliefs you have about yourself
- From this point on take a vow to aim for the positive, with your negative experiences as the context on which you build a foundation (i.e. I used to lie, now I tell the truth)
- Write down how your previous bad experiences and negative behaviors can impact your journey to the positive now. What depths do they give your character?
- Pick a day each week where you can take twenty minutes to monitor your progress
- Write down ways in which you can ensure you are bettering yourself and justifying your new reframed life narratives (for example, doing a good deed a day)
- Remember that this is an internal narrative. This is not an egoic exercise to show off, it is the backbone of a noble existence.