I was talking to a friend over Shabbos and he related the following story:
He went on an admissions interview with one of his children and the questions being asked were upsetting him. By the time it was over he was really angry. What kind of school was this that would have an outlook like that?
When he got home he headed for the book shelf, picked up Rabbi Pliskin’s book on “Anger” and turned to the section on reframing. After quickly reviewing it he kept repeating to himself: “They’re teaching Torah!” “They’re teaching Torah!” “They’re teaching Torah!” After a few minutes he was able to reframe the institution into it’s proper perspective. Yes, he still disagreed with some of the things they said, but he was able to appreciate the good they were doing and eliminate any anger towards them.
Rabbi Pliskin, suggests that the key to a life of joy is to master this art of “reframing” — to change our negative perception of a situation into a more optimistic outlook. There is a free audio from Rabbi Pliskin on reframing available here. Let me leave you with this description of this simple yet powerful tool from Rabbi Pliskin’s book, “Begin Again Now”:
Reframing means perceiving a situation or event differently than you did originally or differently than it is usually viewed. A person who masters the art of reframing will be the master of the emotional quality of his life. While you do not always have control over external factors, you always have the ability to reframe.
IÂ sat down at the kitchen table and decided to work this through. My feelings of outrage were bubbling up in my heart like a volcano, but the Torah expected me to process and control my thoughts and emotions as well as my actions. I knew that the way to change emotions is to change the thoughts that I was telling myself. By a gigantic act of will, I “changed the tape.” I forced myself to remember good things about my cousin, times she had been loving to me, times she had been vulnerable.
Read the whole thing, it’s an amazing article.