I was just getting ready for my day and my mind was reflecting on a few recent events in my life and noticing a commonality between them. So naturally I thought I’d share these reflections with you.
It seems that the overall lesson is that when life presents us with an opportunity to change a harmful pattern we have two choices (assuming we’re conscious enough of the pattern to see it in the first place):
1. We can see the opportunity to do things differently and choose to do things the same old way anyway. Usually we make this choice out of fear of change or fear of angering or disappointing someone if we were to behave differently than they “expect.”
2. We can see the opportunity and choose to do things differently because we know what will happen if we do it the old way and we’re either sick and tired of the old way or we feel deserving of stepping free from the old, harmful pattern. Interestingly here, it doesn’t matter which it is that motivates the change, as long as we respond differently our perspective on ourselves and on any similar situations in the future will be forever changed. I find that truth very, very exciting!! I don’t have to do “it” perfectly I just have to do it differently! I can handle that, and, I’m willing to bet, so can you!
Point 1 is all about co-dependency. There are a few articles on the blog about that as well as an entire chapter in my book. It is an important component of our use of food to cope and needs to be addressed for recovery to be lasting.
But for this article we’re going to focus on point #2 and how to side-step the Drill Sgt. and begin to implement the changes we’d like to in key areas of our lives.
So take a moment to think about one thing in your life that you wish were different; one pattern of behaviour that you’d like to change. Now, what is the first thing that comes to mind – no censoring now! – when you ask yourself what you’d like to see yourself doing differently in that situation or with that person etc.?
Ah! Wait! Don’t tell yourself why you can’t have, be, or do that thing! Your authentic self is telling you exactly what you want. Your role, your responsibility, is not to shut yourself down but to seek a way of fulfilling that need. If you can’t immediately come up with a solution, or all you see are road blocks to getting that need met or to changing that behaviour effectively, that doesn’t for a moment mean that your need is invalid or that you can’t have what you want, it simply means that you’re in need of some assistance to figure out how. (That where CEDRIC comes in!)
Whether you are aware of it or not, you are always able in seconds to connect with yourself and find out what you really need or want in any situation. That skill never leaves you. It’s just that you’ve likely mastered the art of immediately shutting yourself down with fifty-thousand stories of why you’re not allowed to have, be, or do that thing or why it won’t work out for you etc. etc. Your Drill Sgt. was an apt pupil when you were younger and he learned from the key people in you life how to get you to sit down, shut up, be good, and not draw attention to yourself or ask anything of anyone. Even now as an adult, when you have the power within you every moment of every day to meet your needs and to be the very best that you can be in all ways, that old training to tune out to your own needs and feelings and instead take responsibility for those of everyone else in the world is running your life. (This, by the way, is the definition of Co-dependency.)
Would you like that to be different?
If so, stop for a moment and ask yourself again, “What is one thing in my life I’d really like to change?”
Then breathe deeply and just ask your true self to show you/tell you what you would really like to see yourself doing differently in regards to that pattern.
Stay open, just listen. Notice the tendency to shut yourself down or to immediately tell yourself why you can’t do that or what’s wrong with that idea and continue to just write down your original thought. What was it that your authentic self said that it would like to see you doing differently? That is, before the Drill Sgt. got in there and started trying to close it down.
Now even if it feels far fetched or like you’ve tried it before etc. etc., write down three things that you could do (just small steps – not big undertakings) that start you on the path to create the change you know you want to see. Now imagine for a moment how you will feel when you have achieved these steps and when you see yourself farther along the path to the ultimate goal of complete change of that old, annoying pattern. How will you feel? What will be different in your life?
Now, give yourself a suggested timeline within which you’ll begin to implement, or have completed the implementation of these things. And you’re off to the races!!
If you’re struggling here at all send me an email. Let me support you to come up with your 3 small steps if you’re having a hard time. Let me support you with creating a realistic timeline, within the framework of your already full life, in which to achieve your goals. And if you’ve figured it out, send me an email with an example of the change you’d like to make and the steps you’ll take to achieve it.
I’d love to hear from you.
Have a great day!