4 Reframe the IS by Redefining It Content Reframing

We can not only give different meanings to external behavior, we can also suggest for any given internal state (IS) or meaning other behaviors that would more appropriately fit as a description of that internal state. In doing this, we thereby redefine or reframe the IS of the equation.

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

"Bad, huh? If you want to know what really makes a person a bad person, think about the kind of things Hitler did! Executing people makes you a bad person!"

(B) "Cancer causes death."

"If you want to know what really causes death—consider a firing squad! No question about that not causing death!"

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

"My being late only means I had a lot to do at the office. If I really didn't care for you I would not call or come home at all or give you the finger when I pass by! But I took the time to finish the stuff at the office today so that I could spend the day with you tomorrow."

Here we have doubled up to reframe both sides, the EB and the IS. If you have exceptionally good rapport with someone, you may even bluntly express a direct disagreement. (Of course, when we do this, we don't use a "sleight" of mouth!)

"No! For me, arriving late doesn't mean not caring, it means I want to get other business done and over with so that I can focus on you."

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

"What really causes stress is eating chocolate since it adds to your weight and fills your body with sugar." "Eating chocolate won't reduce stress. What really reduces stress effectively is learning good relaxation techniques."

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

"If you really want a picture of management not walking their talk, think about something like the

Watergate Cover-up; now that's really 'not walking your talk.' Yet thank God for the people who worked under, with, and against that!" "Management not walking the talk doesn't dis-empower you, it sounds to me that it actually fuels up your grievances against them!" "What really happens when management doesn't walk its talk? It undermines its ability to lead effectively, does it not?"

(F) "I can't buy your product because it costs too much." "What really costs too much would be to try to operate without this product because then you would not have..."

In redefining the IS we have repeatedly used the linguistic environment, "What IS really means..." and "What IS really causes is..." This facilitates thinking about the IS and relabeling it with some other behavior.

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