3 Reframe the EB by Redefining It Content Refrarning

Here we create new meanings and frames about the behavior by redefining the EB of the equation. We simply give it a new and different meaning. We redefine the external behavior by linking it up with a new frame of reference.

(A) "Saying mean things makes you a bad person."

"Actually I'm not uttering mean things, rather I'm attempting to express some of the truths and understandings that I have. This isn't mean talk, but expressive and assertive talk."

(B) "Cancer causes death."

"Actually, cancer does not cause death, it only causes a weakened immune system."

In refrarning by redefining an external behavior, we essentially assert, "X doesn't mean Y, it means Z (a different attribution or label)." And, as earlier noted, when we change the meaning of a behavior or event, we thereby reformulate the response that we or another will give to the behavior.

(C) "Your being late means you don't care about me."

"My being late doesn't mean I don't care about you. It means I had a lot of things to do at the office, that's all." "It doesn't mean that I don't care; it actually means I care about the quality time we have together and I wanted to get that done and over with so that I could focus on being with you."

Structurally, we have left the EB the same ("coming late..."). We have only reframed the IS side of the formula from "You don't care about me" to "I got busy with other things." In this case, it alters i/7e meaning of the actions and reduces all of the significance that the other person had given to such. It also implies a change of meaning about caring. "Don't measure my caring about you in terms of when I arrive for an appointment. Measure my caring for you by how frequently we get together and the quality of that experience."

Now try your hand at refrarning the EB. (To do that, put a sheet of paper or three-by-five card on the book so that you see only one line at a time—after all, we don't want yourself to cheat your from your own discoveries and creativity!)

(D) "Stress causes me to eat chocolate."

Get the EB. Now reframe. "Stress doesn't cause you to eat chocolate, it only causes you to want to distract yourself from feeling stressed and you simply have this habit of using chocolate to do so."

(E) "I can't really make a difference because management doesn't walk their talk."

"Just because management doesn't walk their talk doesn't mean you can't make a difference. It just means that you have to invest more effort into it, and as you do so, you will undoubtedly make an even bigger difference."

(F) "I can't buy your product because it costs too much."

"Price isn't the real issue, but the quality of service that your money purchases. Let me show you how our price will save you money." To elicit this pattern from conversations (with yourself or others), to bring out this conversational reframing pattern so that you can communicate that EB does not equal IS, but that EB has other meanings, ask yourself the following questions. You can think of these as flexibility expansion questions.

"What other meanings could I give to this behavior?" "What other meanings have others given to this kind of behavior?"

"What other significance does this behavior hold in other cultures?"

"If you did see it this way—what would you see (or have) instead?"

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