Six Helpful Reframes.

By: Jen Shoop

A few footholds I rely on when I am in need of perspective, reassurance, or encouragement:

When starting something new. Instead of “I’m so bad at this” –> “I’m learning how to do this.” This was especially useful a few weeks ago when I attended a golf clinic in which two of the other participants were far more seasoned players. They made consistent contact with the ball and were dialing in on mechanics like club selection and aim. I am lucky if I get the ball in the air! As a motivated, high-achieving gal, I cringed at my novitiate status. But I told myself that everyone starts somewhere, and that I’m learning. This let some of the air out of the balloon and I was better able to receive direction from the pro and shrug off my own misfires.

When I need encouragement to do something I do not feel like doing. Instead of “I do not feel like doing this” –> “I get to do this.” (Thank you to a Magpie reader for sharing this a few years ago — it’s been transformative for me!). This is especially helpful with things like exercise, muddling through the cumbersome parts of running my business, and the exhausting day-to-day of parenthood. This phrasing always makes me think of the fact that someone, somewhere would absolutely love to have the opportunities I am in that moment pooh-poohing. For example, there are women right now who would give anything to get up in the middle of the night with a child; injured and ill people who would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to go for a quick run; unemployed or unhappily employed folks who would be thrilled to work for themselves. It’s about recognizing the unexamined gift in our everyday responsibilities.

When I am feeling uncomfortable in or nervous about a social engagement. Instead of “I am nervous about this social engagement” –> “I am going to use this special occasion to show up for ____.” This was a fantastic unlock provided by a thoughtful Magpie in response to a recent post. It’s helped me redirect my navel-gazing, self-conscious energy toward something much better.

When I am judging someone else. Instead of “Why would she do that?” –> “What does it matter to me?” This is the single-most useful mnemonic for pushing unnecessary criticism out of my mind and making space for better things. I wrote more at length about this prompt here.

When I am blowing something out of proportion. Instead of “I just ruined everything” –> “Will this matter in a week/month/year?” When I make a mistake, put my foot in my mouth, neglect to do something, I experience severe, acute remorse. It’s like Catholic guilt on steroids, and I have a tendency to catastrophize. This happened recently when I said something I intended to be silly but that came out in a way that I later realized could have been hurtful or callous to one of my friends. No one said anything, but I felt monstrous, and I wrung my hands over it for days! Of course, I had to own that misstep, but I also had to ask myself whether my gaffe would matter in week/month/year? Would this destroy my relationship or challenge my sense of who I am? No.

When I am overwhelmed by everything on my plate. Instead of “this is too much for me to handle” –> “The only mile that matters is the one you’re running right now.” Break things down into component parts and put blinders on. My husband and I will tactically implement this mindset but itemizing all of the individual tasks we have on our plates and then separating them by due date and task owner. This way, we see exactly what’s due and when, and can focus on just the most pressing, urgent matters first, without burning unnecessary energy about the next leg / mile / set of assignments. When it comes to parenting and work, I implement a similar process: I will write a long list of everything that needs to be accomplished and then assign them to days on my planner. This empowers me to feel confident that nothing will slip through the cracks but enables me to focus my attention on a smaller set of objectives.

Are there other reframes you use to find a more healthy perspective?


+On giving yourself a soft landing when you need it.

+I am an archerfish by design.

+On the narratives of friendship we write.

Shopping Break.

+Love the slouch/silhouette of this $30 striped tee.

+This $150 dress is a dead ringer for Cecilie Bahnsen. SO unexpected and fashion-forward.

+A perfect fall top.

+My son’s favorite pajamas are on sale. We own these in so many prints/patterns! We also love their long sleeved sets, but I should note that the shorts sets run a bit more generous/loose and then long-sleeved ones are fairly narrow/snug. I think you can get away with the shorts sets for a few seasons but the long sleeved ones are basically a one-season wear. FYI!

+Fun $40 statement purse.

+VERY random, but we have an enamel bowl just like this that is in CONSTANT use for so many different reasons — to hold onto large quantities of produce, to create an ice bath for blanched vegetables, to serve up big bowls of food at a picnic (it’s unbreakable – more like metal), to soak produce we’re trying to clean, etc. A great buy. Durable, lightweight, but a little dressier than a big metal mixing bowl. I promise you’ll wonder how you lived without it. The brand also sells smaller sized bowls — these would be great for al fresco dining / children!

+This skirt is so fabulous.

+Would be great with these suede Western-style boots (under $80!), which remind me a lot of the Isabel Marant Denvees.

+Did you snag anything from the Gap x LoveShackFancy launch? These teddy bears are darling and still available. They remind me of the pricier ones from De Buci Baby.

+If you’re fashion-forward, you must consider Citizens’ Horseshoe jeans. They are all the rage right now but require an appetite for fashion risk. I feel like my husband would find these very perplexing…but don’t women dress for women anyway?

+This waterproof camera for children would be such a great surprise for a beach/lake vacation! Filing that away for next year’s trip to Deep Creek Lake!

+Gorgeous fall wedding guest dress for under $300. The color is fantastic!

+A dog crate that is actually attractive.

+These vinyl letter stickers are a less expensive way to label your children’s water bottles, pencil cases, snack containers, etc. While there, pick up this bag of tags — perfect for every gifting occasion!

+My son was OBSESSED with this little vocabulary card reader his cousin had at the Lake last weekend. Added to my shopping cart.

+Fabulous, bold caftan dress perfect for end-of-summer celebrations.

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12 thoughts on “Six Helpful Reframes.

  1. Love all these reframes, Jen!

    Sharing some that have been very helpful to me —

    1. When I’m worried/anxious about an outcome: “What’s the worst that could happen? Given everything I know about the situation, what are the chances that the worst will happen?”

    2. During a rough day: “You can decide to start a new 24-hour cycle at any time.”

    3. Challenging situations with kids: “They’re not giving me a hard time, they’re HAVING a hard time.”

    4. On anger: “Anger is a sign of an unmet need.”

    1. These are SO good, Mia! I really love the idea of “Starting a new 24-hour cycle at any time.” Powerful!!


  2. Thank you for these reframes. It’s amazing what a shift in perspective can do to make a situation seem more manageable. I’m going to write these on a sticky note and attach them to my computer monitor.

    1. I’m so glad these resonated! Was really helpful for me to put this post together to keep them all in one place. Thank you!!


  3. When my kids are getting rambunctious, or not listening, or fraying my nerves I tell myself ‘thank God they are well enough to misbehave.’ It reminds me when I’m struggling to keep my composure in redirecting them- this is an opportunity for gratitude.

    I try to apply this in a more general sense by finding one thing in a challenging situation that is positive and offering it up as a brief and humble prayer of gratitude.

  4. My favorite reframing phrase is “uncertainty is not unsafe.” Reminds me that just because a situation is unknown or uncertain and can feel intolerable, it isn’t! I am safe and am just wading through an unknown that will soon become normal.

    1. This is fantastic and dovetails beautifully with an interview I was listening to just this morning with Elizabeth Gilbert. She makes the point that attempting creativity — attempting anything new, for that matter — is always accompanied by fear, and that she has learned to invite that sensation into the room. “It’s OK, you’re here, I get it,” she basically tells herself. I love that mentality! Normalizes the unpleasant feeling and enables you to work through it vs resist/break down/etc!


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