Tool for Tuesday: Name It. Frame It. Tame It.

So, my friend Janet is on a safari in the Serengeti when I thought about my Tool for Tuesday. I was pondering the way I replay certain themes in my head—like a song from the radio you can’t stop humming. Then my other friend, Joelle, whom I’ve written about here, (but don’t go yet!) spoke about helping her daughter, Madison, blast through recurring emotions that hold her back. When she’s feeling shy around people, she can get to the awareness of what she’s feeling and say, “Oh, yeah, it’s that shy thing again.”

Name it. Name that tune. Name that old, gray emotion. (Though “old” and “gray” don’t necessarily sound so “old” and “gray” anymore.) But it’s a tired emotion that doesn’t serve you anymore. If you name it, you can wrestle it to the ground. It doesn’t own you, you own it.

Then you can frame it. What that means is you can give it boundaries and borders so it isn’t roaming freely inside you. You can frame it in the context of your life. Like, “I always feel shy because I went to a new school in fourth grade at the same time my parents were getting divorced…”

If you know the frame, if you see the picture of it in your mind’s eye, then you tame it. Because you know what is lurking in your brain. And then you recognize that your mind has the chutzpah to rise up and meet that thing and say head-on, “Oh, yeah, it’s that shy thing that is hanging around like that sweater that I rarely wear and I really should give away….”

If we name things, then we can get a handle on them. We can de-mystify them. I do it with the shame that lurks inside me and occasionally roars its ugly head. Oh yeah, I say, it’s that shame thing. I can frame it. I can tame it. I don’t have to let it control me.

Tool for Tuesday: Name It. Frame It. Tame It. I can do this today.

Don’t be shy…Hit like if you like this tool! Or tell me what works better for you instead.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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