Let’s imagine the sun. How did we all visualize it? A huge structure, with a beautiful orange hue, radiating warmth and light, all contained in a perfectly round sphere; the most salient aspect here being the roundness of it. Now let’s imagine it gradually getting shrouded by the darkness, appearing as if it is slowly eating away irregular chunks of the sun. What does the sun look like now? Does it even resemble the sun as we know it anymore? Probably not.
That is something that we are doing to our own selves multiple times every day. We all have a self-concept– the way we understand, perceive, and evaluate ourselves. All through our lives, we encounter upon various ideas and thoughts within our self-concept which don’t seem to agree with the version of ourselves that we wish to be. Often we try to rid ourselves of these ideas by cutting away that part from our self-concept, or by resigning them to deep, dark oblivion; quite like the darkness which ate away parts of the brilliant sun. One of the pioneering schools of psychology, Gestalt psychology, explains this in a rather simplistic manner. It purports that by doing so, we give up the ownership of those parts of our own selves; we renounce the responsibility we hold over these ideas, thereby feeling that things are out of our control.
There are a few simple ways to change this, all it requires it a little reframing of our statements. Let’s try and make a conscious effort to catch ourselves whenever we say the following, attempt to reframe them and observe the sense of confidence and calmness it fills us with.
“One would feel upset if they are ignored at a social gathering” can be reframed as “I feel upset when I am ignored at a social gathering”.
“I guess I am sorry for what I said earlier” can be reframed to “I am sorry for what I said earlier”.
“I wish you would speak to me more respectfully” can be reframed to “I want you to speak to me more respectfully”.
“I fail at everything” can be reframed to “I have failed at a few things, but I have also succeeded at other things”.
“I ought to be polite to my in-law
s” can be reframed to “I want to be nice to my in-laws”.
Consultant Clinical Psychologist