Ultra-Positive Reframing

April 19 2016

I have a bad habit of using neg­a­tively-framed state­ments to state my posi­tion. Stat­ing what I am not instead of what I am. After prac­tic­ing refram­ing my state­ments to the pos­i­tive posi­tion for a while, I dis­cov­ered some­thing even better: ultra–pos­i­tive refram­ing.

Refram­ing neg­a­tive state­ments into pos­i­tive ones is dif­fi­cult but immea­sur­ably help­ful. Some­times it can be as simple as remov­ing the word not” from the sen­tence. Doing this seems to speak more to the prob­lem at hand.

Exam­ple 1

Neg­a­tive fram­ing

I am not sure about what to write about.

There’s no oppor­tu­nity here. No way out.

Pos­i­tive refram­ing

I am having writer’s block.

Now that we’ve named the prob­lem, we’ve also opened up a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties to address it.

Ultra-pos­i­tive refram­ing

I will write about this another time.

In one state­ment, we’ve acknowl­edged the prob­lem (writ­ing right now is futile), and cre­ated a solu­tion for address­ing it.

Exam­ple 2

Neg­a­tive fram­ing

That isn’t the best way to do it.

Really unhelp­ful.

Pos­i­tive refram­ing

That’s another way to do it.

Better, but this still state­ment assumes the new method is equal or infe­rior.

Ultra-pos­i­tive refram­ing

I appre­ci­ate the new point of view.

This is giving the new idea the ben­e­fit of the doubt. Not to say that point of view is right or better, but now you have more con­text. Having more con­text is always help­ful.

Exam­ple 3

Neg­a­tive fram­ing

I don’t know what to do.

Although it might be true, artic­u­lat­ing this can make you feel like you’ve been defeated for­ever.

Pos­i­tive refram­ing

I am over­whelmed about where to start.

Now we’ve iden­ti­fied how you feel, and can work to alle­vi­ate the issues caus­ing the feel­ing.

Ultra-pos­i­tive refram­ing

What is some­thing I’m absolutely sure about?”

Now we’re get­ting some­where. We’ve named the prob­lem — being over­whelmed — and acknowl­edged it. Flip­ping the feel­ing to a ques­tion helps to build con­fi­dence and momen­tum.


Some­times it’s useful to start with the neg­a­tive state­ment. Usu­ally it’s much easier to state what you’re not, rather than to state what you are. I pri­mar­ily use ultra-pos­i­tive refram­ing when I’m stuck in a neg­a­tiv­ity loop and I can’t seemed to artic­u­late the prob­lem.