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In our previous post, we decided that it could be fabulous to live as the Leading Lady of our own life stories. Embodying the leading role, we’d get to choose exactly how our story unfolds. Looking back through the chapters already lived, we’d get to observe them as triggers to our personal evolution.
So today, let’s do that! With the benefit of hindsight, let’s rewrite any chapters in your past that you experienced as unpleasant, and transform them into powerful statements of your growth. As you do so, you’ll gradually reveal the heroine that you truly are.
To do that, I’m going to show you how to add what I call an “Elegant Reframe” to those chapters, so that you can then apply your own elegant reframes to any situations you find yourself in as you direct your Leading Lady, yourself, as the heroine of all chapters, past and present, in your life story.
Ok, so as women making a life in a new country, I invite you to cast your mind back to those early days when you were experiencing the initial reactions of culture shock and language barriers, of feeling the emotions of contrasting work environments and social customs and so much more.
As we do this, I don’t want you to fall back into any unpleasant emotions that you felt at the time. Feeling them once is enough! Simply recall situations and then apply an Elegant Reframe to reveal yourself as the heroine.
The Elegant Reframe
Firstly, some definitions:
The definition of “elegant”, as per the Oxford Dictionary, is
Pleasingly ingenious and simple, graceful
So, to define “The Elegant Reframe”:
A simple, graceful tweak to the
way you think and speak about a circumstance that
allows you to feel lighter and happier (that one’s from me, xx)
Once you feel lighter and happier about your past chapters, they will appear transformed, and so your whole history will actually begin to feel different.
As you practice this elegant reframe of your past chapters, you can begin applying it to your current chapters, and suddenly your whole life will take on a new look, as if a golden thread is linking each chapter and leading to your continuous, fascinating evolution.
Right, let’s take some examples of situations that you may have experienced, in one way or another, when you initially arrived in the country you’ve now adopted as your home:
Here are some words that I’ve heard women use to describe their experience of the language barrier:
“It was really hard to express myself clearly in those early days. Some days, I didn’t even want to leave the house for fear of having to communicate in a language I didn’t feel confident in. It was not a fun time.”
I uncovered a hidden courage in myself in those early days. Even though I felt scared, I did the things anyway! Sometimes it took a while, but eventually I tried talking more often, and even when people couldn’t understand me, I kept trying. Now I have evidence of my courage, so I know I can tap into that courage again. I’m so proud of myself for doing that! Turns out that I’m a courageous woman.
Do you feel different as you hear (read) those two versions of the chapter? If you feel better reading the elegant reframe, that’s the intention. That’s what you’re aiming at. Always reach for words that lift you up as you describe your experiences. And if you add a phrase at the end that begins with “I am a woman who . . .”, you will gradually create a powerful new identity for yourself.
Here's another one around working; it’s a comment that I hear often:
"I had no idea where I was going to fit in to this new culture. My degree wasn’t recognised in my adopted country, and I felt lost for a good while not knowing what I was going to do for work."
Looking back, I can see that how I was actually capable of doing hard things. I decided to study something completely new! In a new language. Can you believe that? Boy, I’m cool! I am a woman who can do hard things.
So how about those times when you encountered people who made you feel bad because of your accent? Have you ever experienced that? Not everyone has this experience, but for those who do, it can be a real knock to both your confidence AND your impression of the people in your new country.
Here are some words I’ve heard women use to describe this chapter in their story:
"Some people were really unkind towards me because of my accent in those early days. It was awful."
Because of those people who were unkind, I feel great appreciation for those who were really understanding and helpful. Now I’m deciding to love my accent and include it as one of my personal charms. And I’m choosing to only focus on attracting lovely, supportive people. I’m a woman who feels great appreciation.
Do you agree that it feels better with the Elegant Reframe!
The first choice of words leaves you feeling despondent, unhappy, possibly even angry.
Whereas the Elegant Reframe lifts you up! You’ve re-written that chapter of your story, and redefined your identity in a way that opens doors to increased happiness and personal freedom.
For one more example to finish off, let’s gently broach the sensation of culture shock.
Can you relate to the following words?
“All the contrast between my native culture and my new culture was so hard to get used. I really missed the feeling of comfort and security that comes with feeling “home”.”
All the contrast showed me my incredible ability to adapt. What a great quality to add to my identity . . . I’m a woman who is capable of adapting to change.
See how this works?
It feels so much better to live in the Elegant Reframe, doesn’t it?
Nothing about your past has changed, and yet everything has changed. You have transformed your unpleasant experiences into chapters of heroic escapades.
And you have named yourself as the heroine.
Now THAT’S something to be proud of.
The real-life book is coming out soon in print and e-book; soooo excited!
You can get your FREE INTRO CHAPTER here!
Here's what pre-release readers are saying . . .
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