Reframing Negative Thoughts
I went on a wonderful personal retreat in Sedona this spring. Among many, the most important thing I brought back with me is the most simple 2-word phrase…”So what?” You’ve probably heard, “It just is,” or “Let it go,” or other equally helpful statements. Like the others, “So what?” helps me to regain perspective on whatever it is I’m reacting to that’s leaving me with a less than positive emotional response. It helps a lot to let go of judgment.
What makes this even more powerful is that it’s actually a question. It not only helps to shift perspective, but goes deeper. It requires me to answer my own question, which usually creates another opportunity to ask, “So what?” about the next thing that comes up, and the next, until I’m facing the real issue that needs to be released.
If someone cuts me off in traffic and I feel frustration about it, I can say, “So what?” I might answer, “It’s not fair!” “So What?” followed by, “He shouldn’t treat me that way.” So I feel slighted and undervalued. This may lead to a realization that this person doesn’t know me, it means nothing about me, and I have no idea what’s going on in his life right now. Asking “So what?” helps me realize it’s just not that important. If I let it go it feels so much better than holding onto that irritation.
This is a simple example, but it works with everything that I find myself reacting to in a negative way, and it feel so much better to just be happy 🙂