I recently learned one of the most beautiful flowers blooms in the mud and darkest waters available. The lotus flower thrives in murky waters! In fact, it doesn’t do all that well in clean, pristine water. Essentially, the lotus flower thrives in the very type of environment we typically consider to be bad for growth!
The lotus is a powerful metaphor, and provides the opportunity to use a psychological tool known as reframing. Simply put, each negative thought and emotion can be “reframed” to reflect a more positive mindset to support growth, happiness, and satisfaction.
(Initial Thought): Ugh, that waiter clearly doesn’t want to help me. Why am I still waiting for him to fill my coffee cup? It’s been like 2 minutes since I asked him.
(Reframed thought): I wish I had more coffee right now. I can see the waiter is serving several tables with no help. He must feel overwhelmed. I would feel rushed if I were him. He’ll bring more coffee as soon as he can.
Can you hear the difference?
The initial thought trends toward self-centeredness, only considering personal desire, and there is a sense of impatience. The reframed thought still acknowledges the personal desire, but also allows for another possibility for why coffee hasn’t been delivered AND there’s compassion for the overwhelmed waiter.
There is growing scientific study indicating that when reframing is used to understand another person, we are more likely to feel a deeper sense of compassion and empathy toward that person. When our sense of compassion increases, our body experiences greater relaxation AND our inherent fight or flight mechanism is less active. The same is true for our own thoughts and feelings. The more we practice self-compassion the greater tranquility and self-acceptance we experience!
Feeling stuck in life? Take a few minutes to reflect on these questions
How might the challenges and adversity experienced now make way for new growth and opportunity in the future?
What negative, unhealthy thoughts can be reframed to bring more peace and contentment to your life?
Let’s be like the lotus flower! Determined to grow in joy, happiness, and positive mindset regardless of how rough the water are running or how jagged the rocks may feel.
Smooth Rock Psychological Services, LLC