Have you ever developed a photograph or purchased a painting to hang on a wall in your home? It can be easy to forget that a frame for the picture isn’t always included in the price tag. We have to frame it ourselves. And the type of frame—even the lack thereof—determines how the picture is presented.

Think about it… if I were to take a tack and pin a picture to the wall, that would give you one message. On the other hand, if I purchased an ornate frame of sturdy material and matched my home’s style, that would tell you something different about how I view the picture, and the statement I want to make.

It’s similar to our day-to-day thoughts. In our mind’s eye, we see all sorts of situations—good and bad—playing out in our head. But how we CHOOSE to look at or frame those situations determines our response.

In this blog post, I mentioned my first experience of encountering and surviving a rip current. I had to save my nephew, son, and a friend of ours—all with my own strength. I fought against the current the whole time. Every ounce of my energy was used up as I “threw” these young kids over the waves while I went under.

We survived, but barely.

During this same summer, I was reeling from a recent divorce. It was a debilitating journey. As a “people-pleaser,” I took on the burden of trying to keep everyone happy.

Anyone who’s gone through a divorce knows that the pressure of it all comes in waves. I would use all my energy to uplift everyone else around me while I “went under” the wave. I would get so concerned with everyone else’s feelings that I would forget to allow myself to breathe!

ocean waves

That summer—transitioning into being a single mother and then having my first rip current experience—was a huge wake-up call for me. I learned so much, including the life lesson that I’m not supposed to go through this life on my own, or just using my own strength. There is always someone to help IF you are humble enough to ask and allow people to help.  And there are always miracles to be found!

I had three “gold-nugget” revelations:

  1. In adverse situations, I need to REFRAME my thoughts and actions to reclaim peace and positivity. Instead of envisioning defeat, I must shift my thoughts to visualize overcoming whatever obstacle is in my way.
  2. The key to reframing thoughts and actions is APPRECIATION. I learned that whatever I face—whether it be divorce, loss, injury, or disease—the only way I can genuinely intentionally lift my spirits is through finding something I appreciate in that situation.
  3. Once I’ve been able to REFRAME my thoughts through APPRECIATION, I can THEN  help others reclaim peace and positivity in their life situations as well!

My job in helping others now is not trying to be their savior or “life preserver,” but in pointing them toward what CAN help them and save them. This method of helping others is empowering to them and myself.

The last letter in SOAR, “R,” stands for REFRAME. (This is an acronym that I’ve explained in previous blog posts.)

No one likes being stuck in negative or defeating thought cycles. But sometimes we need new strategies to improve our perspective.

As I thought through this, I recognized a parallel between wearing fins in the ocean and surrounding myself with great information. The fins provide leverage and strength in a rip current, just as great books and teachings help me better manage tough spots in life.

The ability to REFRAME is a powerful tool. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT happens or doesn’t happen to us in each moment, but how we respond to those situations and reframe the negative ones that truly matters. Each moment creates the next.

I hope my “SOAR” acronym not only helps you in the ocean but also inspires you to make the most of all the precious moments of this life!

Think On This

We’ve come to the end of the SOAR acronym with the “R” word, “Reframe.” But it doesn’t have to stop here. Think about these questions to improve your thought processes:

  1. What are some current negative areas of your life? Are you stuck in some poor thought processes? Identify them and take small steps toward improvement.
  2. What do you appreciate DESPITE those negative areas or cycles? Think on these things.
  3. Who can you help and empower as a result of your personal experiences? Teach them the SOAR STRATEGY!

Although SOARING will look different from one person to the next, the ability to STOP, OBSERVE, ADJUST and REFRAME is empowering for anyone. We all long for peace and positivity in our lives; let’s help each other towards that goal!

wearing soar t-shirts