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Reframing Judgement

Through the Eyes of a Cat

My cat, Maxx and I have very different perspectives of the house that we live in together. With his eyes about nine inches above the floor, Maxx’s world is full of legs - chair legs and human legs. His happy places include the highest perch on the cat tree and the cat bed under my desk. From my elevated vantage point I have a distant relationship with legs of any kind be they wood or bone. I can pretend that tumbleweed of cat fur rolling across the rug is just a trick of the light. Spending time in my happy place does not involve climbing up the cat tree or scotching under the desk. Scientists tell us that humans and cats see light differently so — if Maxx cared enough — we could have a spirited discussion about the color of the bedspread. And while Maxx regularly sniffs the tail of our other cat, Luna, that’s a hard pass for me.

One house. Two viewpoints. Which perspectives is the right, correct, and proper one? Who has the most accurate perceptions — Maxx or me? If you said we both have valid perspectives - ding, ding, ding - you are right (at least from my perspective). Since our perspectives are a product of our experiences, and we all have different experiences we cannot help but have different perspectives. Accepting that Maxx’s view of the world is true for him helps me accept that my reality is uniquely my own. It would be comical to insist that Maxx adopt my perspective of the house, don’t you agree?

Change the Frame

Frames matter. When I submit artwork to a gallery, they want to see a photo of the piece that includes the frame. The right frame complements the artwork’s mood and color palette. The wrong frame…doesn’t. Reframing is a technique to view a situation from a fresh perspective. Say these statements aloud—

1. I have to go to the grocery store.

Consider for a moment that some people live in food deserts or have a limited budget forcing them to rely on cheap fast food. Then say -

I can go to the grocery store.

2. She’s so rude.

Consider for a moment that her behavior stems from how she is feeling about her life and has nothing to do with you. Then say -

She must be having a rough day.

3. I need to clean the house.

Consider for a moment all the people displaced by violence and natural disasters. Then say -

I get to clean my house.

4. I have a brain like a sieve.

Consider for a moment that no one is perfect. Perhaps your brain was momentarily distracted or you would benefit from some energetic self-care. Then say -

I forgive myself for forgetting.

Did you notice any energetic shifts in how your body felt between the two versions? Play with reframing your perspective when you catch yourself using words like ‘should’ or feeling judgmental towards yourself or others.

Reframing Exercise

For this exercise, send a few moments observing a tree. Look at an actual tree if you can but a picture is perfectly fine. What do you notice about the tree? What words would you use to describe it? What does a tree represent to you?

Now, tap into your imagination and try to see the world from the perspective of a squirrel. Describe what a tree represents to a squirrel.

Imagining a situation from the viewpoint of another helps us to release self-defeating judgments, broaden our perspective, and strengthen inner peace.



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