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INFJ Re-Framing

If you look at life one way, there is always cause for alarm.
-Elizabeth Bowen


One way to think about perspectives is as a series of frames.  Each time we adopt a particular point of view, we frame the things around us so that we can categorize them, understand them, and respond to them.  When listening to anyone's opinion, always bear in mind that the description is created from a particular viewpoint.  (This is especially true when an individual is stuck with what seems like an irredeemable problem.)

Re-framing is something INFJs do naturally.  It is a component of the diplomatic skill set.  Re-framing is a way of changing perspectives and looking at a problem from a different angle.

Here are some typical frames one is liable to encounter:

Defining Frames
Type of Frame Definition
Problem Frame When everything is seen as a problem
Learning Frame When everything is seen as a learning opportunity.
Detail Frame When the focus is on one element of an issue.
Big Picture Frame When the focus is on the whole issue.
Personal Frame When you focus only on what is happening to you.
Team Frame When you notice how events affect the team.
Conflict Frame When the focus is on disagreement.
Negotiation Frame When the focus is on resolving conflict.

When an issue appears to be an insurmountable problem, it is useful to view issues through another frame so they can be seen as a challenging goal or as part of a bigger picture.  Here are some useful methods to achieve re-framing:

Problem Frame to Learning Frame
"What can we do about that?"
Detail Frame to Big Picture
"Can we step back from this for a moment?"
Personal Frame to Team Frame
"What is best for the team?"
Conflict Frame to Negotiation Frame
"What do you think would motivate them?"

Really powerful re-framing can result in paradigm shifts.  These can be life-changing experiences.

I got to hear an INFJ analyst speak about personality type the other day, and he gave me a re-frame that was compelling.  He described an engaged couple he was counseling.  And he said that they were experiencing differences in their relationship which were causing friction.  The "J" in the relationship was adopting a superior attitude toward the "P," and was trying to "parent" them into demonstrating more organization.  The analyst said the "P" could get lost between the front door and the car... and he said that the "J" was jealous of never being able to get lost inside such a short distance!  And wouldn't it be so nice to follow your own nose to the degree that you could get lost in such a small space!

Wow -- what a powerful way to re-frame an interpersonal conflict.  (It's an amazing way to re-frame every one of our functions and behaviors!)  I remembered how I'm upset with a person who has repeatedly lied and blithely exaggerated their experiences/credentials -- and I suddenly realized that deep down I wish I could simply lie and exaggerate about myself that way.  It's no fun to insist on a standard of integrity!

The idea that I could be jealous of the liar took me by storm, and I suddenly "got it." 

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