Do you ever dig up a shrub in your yard or empty a plant pot on your patio and not refill it immediately with another plant or soil? What happens in a few days? On my patio the hole will be filled with debris, leaves and maybe a few bugs in a very short time. The hole doesn’t stay empty; it fills up with whatever is swirling around in the breeze.
Our lives are much like this. When our lives are functional but not as productive as we’d like, we may decide to make changes. When we decide to “get rid” of something that’s not working so well then it creates a hole. This also happens when something or someone is taken from us. Immediately that hole, whether self-inflicted or forced upon, begins to collect the thoughts, talk, and habits of those in our daily lives. Because of the vacant space we can all become susceptible to the whirlwind of “trash” floating on the breeze.
Are your daily surroundings what you want pouring into your life when there’s change?
Granted some things and people are out of our control to change.
• The family we were born in.
• The job we have or don’t have.
• Where we live.
• Our inner circle of friends.
Or are these things OUT OF OUR CONTROL?
The way we think about things can make us feel trapped and unable to make changes but the truth is, MOST THINGS CAN BE CHANGED.
There are Self Care Processes we can put in place to help control the influence of people or attitudes that pour into our lives on a daily basis. Allow yourself to imagine for a moment that you
• Limiting visits with your alcoholic uncle to ONLY a safe place and with avenues of escape
• Could have a healthier relationship with the boss you currently don’t respect
• Live in a better neighborhood where people value and enjoy one another
• Participate and contribute to a group of friends that help encourage each other
1) Develop one or two close relationships with people who truly support you and a healthy way of life.
Because we are wired with an internal need for unconditional acceptance and love it can be difficult to risk acceptance in our closest relationships (family, boss, neighbors or friends) by setting boundaries with this inner circle. However, when those relationships leave you feeling angry, worn out, empty or disrespected then they are not healthy and most likely boundaries are needed to protect you from being continually pulled into the negative space of co-dependency. (codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.) Need help with Boundaries?
2) Search for help on the change you want by reading books and talking with others who have this area of their life in a positive place. For instance, if you want to change jobs and know someone currently working in the type job you think would be a good fit for you, then ask them some questions about their position. Dig deep to determine if this type of work would really be a fit for you and your skills. If so, possibly take some online courses to develop additional skills that would make you more qualified.
If you need help dealing with a family member who you believe is into alcohol or drug abuse then find support with local Al-Anon or other civic and church groups. There you will find others like you who have similar struggles and are dealing with them in emotionally healthy ways.
3) Change the story you’re telling yourself. Self-talk is a powerful way to change our self-image and that leads to different behaviors which lead to different outcomes. If you constantly tell yourself that you’ll never be successful at being a mom because you didn’t have the best role model, then chances are you won’t. If you tell yourself you’re bound to have weight issues for the rest of your life because you always have and can’t change, you most likely will have weight issues for the rest of your life. Our self-talk is more powerful than we can imagine.
So change the story you’re telling yourself.
I can be a good mom because I understand what it takes to make a child feel safe and secure. Plus I have the resources of friends and community to help teach me when I get stuck.
I can be a healthy weight because I have supportive friends and family who will help me succeed by working out with me, making healthy food choices and holding me accountable.
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right!
4) Develop healthy relationships with people you want to be more like. If you want to be a runner, join a running group and start seeing these like-minded people on a regular basis. If you want to be more spiritual, find a place of worship where truth is taught and get involved with a study or support group to engage with people often. If there’s an entrepreneur that you admire who teaches in person or on line, sign up for a course. There you will find people like you who aspire to do something bigger in their lives.
Changes we desire don’t typically just happen. We have to take the initiative to make change happen. This can create some holes in our lives. If the people and circumstances that are swirling around in your life are not what you want then fill up that hole of change with specific steps to get you where you want to go.
What changes would you like to see in your life in the next 6 months and what 1 step can you make in that direction today?