The Catch 22 of Change



I came across this super sweet blog post today via Twitter.  (I just love how twitter brings me new things I’d never find on my own—thanks, Twitter!)

Describing therapy as a “catch 22” is a very accurate description.  I mean let’s face it:

Therapy works because it is different.

It is a change.

It is doing something different.

 

 

I can totally get how this can feel like a catch 22. 

As living beings we’re drawn to homeostasis, to consistency, to stability, to mastery.  We wanna know how our day is going to go, where to get the best cup of coffee, how to succeed at work, how to create relationships we enjoy.

We want steadiness, safety, and security.

But here’s the thing– everything, absolutely everything, changes at some point.

So putting all our focus on stability ends up leaving us ridged, unbendable, and in-adaptable and ultimately this is what creates distress.

Learning and mastering flexibility, adaptability, and creating our own systems, processes, methods for coping with change, is change.  Is different.  Is growth.  Is where stability, safety, and security comes from.

We can certainly call this a catch 22- in a lot of ways it really is.  But without this catch 22, we’re just doing more of the same, and therefore, end up with more of the same.

We have to change, in order to experience something different.

Where are you avoiding this catch 22 in your life?  Where are you holding onto old beliefs, definitions, patterns that are leaving you with more of the same?

Have you considered that doing something new– something you wouldn’t normally do, that your family doesn’t do, that you’ve never done before– may be exactly what you need?

5 Tips for Overcoming The-End-of-Holiday-Blues



 

Happy New Year!

If you are anything like me, no matter how much you were looking forward to the new year, there’s always a bit of blues that comes with saying goodbye to another holiday season.  Life returning to “normal” sounds so good, and yet, is so uncomfortable– and if I’m totally honest, a bit depressing.

Over the years I’ve come up with some tried and true strategies and routines that help me combat those end-of-holiday-blues.

Here’s my top 5:

1. Do something to celebrate the putting away of holiday decor.

We all have great memories of putting out the holiday decorations, right? Music, warm drinks, family, making our homes feel cozy.  Well, do something like this to celebrate the putting away of the same decorations.  Plan a special dinner. Listen to some favorite tunes.  Watch your favorite non-holiday movie.  Doesn’t matter what it is, just something that makes you feel good that your house it back to normal and helps you look forward to that day each year.

2. Plan at least one vacation

When I had my first job out of college, we went from Christmas until Memorial Day without another paid day off.  Ugh, it was always so depressing to look at the calendar 6 months out and not see any time off.  Instead, use January as a time to set up some vacation time for yourself.  Even if it’s as simple as adding a mental health day to your schedule, or planning a weekend get away, or noting when a movie you are excited to see is coming out {Catching Fire expected release date: 11/22/13}.  It doesn’t matter what it is, or how simple it is, just get somethings on the calendar that you are looking forward to– before Memorial Day!

3. Pick a (or many) random holiday(s) to celebrate

Between January and March there are all kinds of “random” events that make perfect holiday’s to celebrate.  The super bowl, Valentine’s day, President’s day, St. Patty’s Day are all great excuses to plan a dinner party, happy hour, game night, or pot luck. You don’t have be super into the particular holiday– it just gives ya a reason to do something fun with the people you care about.

(I couldn’t tell you who has played in, or won, the super bowl the last 5 years but I know which chili recipe I can’t wait to have again on 2/3/13!)

4. Reflect over your past year & Name it

There’s a reason that resolutions are tied to the new year.  Reflecting back over our past year is a very nice way to remember both the good and the not so good we’ve been through, remember how far we’ve come, give thanks for the successes we’ve had, while getting clearer about what we want going forward.  One of my favorite ways to do this is by naming the past year.  Some sort of funny endearing name that will help you reflect back on your year with humor and appreciation while at the same time reminding yourself it is over.

For me, 2012 is the year of “Fear.”  2011 was the year of “Relaxation for Dummies.”  You get the point.

5. Make positive inner-peace focused resolutions

We’ve all done the whole “I will go to the gym 14 times a week and not eat a carb for 6 months” type of resolution in the past.  And how does that usually work out for ya?  Instead, focus on what you’d like to feel, experience, understand, foster within yourself when setting resolutions.   Take some time, sit down, and really think about how you felt last year, how you feel now, and want to feel next year.  Don’t worry about what you want to do– that will come if you start by focusing on, and getting clear about, how you want to feel.  Then, each day when making decisions, you can ask yourself, “Will _______ help me feel how I want to feel?”  I think you’ll find it’s a whole new way of going about the old resolution game.

Savvy Self-Esteem Lessons via Me

Pinterest

 

Did you ever have one of those years?  You know, the kind that test you, push you to your limits, make ya question everything and just leave ya feelin’ like you’ve been hit by a bus?  Well, that was my 2012.  As it’s {finally} coming to a close, and I am doing my usual reflect back on the year routine, I have to say- turns out, I am grateful for every single bit of it.

Every. Single. Bit.

Seriously.

As hard as every obstacle has been.  As painful, and scary, and overwhelming that parts of this year have been, when I look back at these times now, I see…. growth.

What I found most interesting, and inspired this post, was rereading something I wrote back in March (back when I thought messing up on my taxes, having our car explode/quit running, and our pug needing emergency surgery was as bad as the year could get- Oh SO naive I was).  I was contacted by one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Boykin, and asked to submit my response to the question:

With respect to your Big Dream, how have you learned to move past your fear and just “go for it?”

Here’s what I wrote:

I’ve learned to look forward to the fear.  Sounds a little backwards, I know, but stick with me here.  Fear is actually our body’s way of loving us.  Our body uses fear to alert us of potential danger in an effort to keep us safe, both physically and emotionally.  It’s sort of like having our very own watch guard saying, “Hey, did ya see that iceberg?!” Whether we’re trying to do something new, or we fancy something special (like our Big Dream), fear, or our personal watch guard, will inevitably show up to point out any “icebergs” we may encounter.   Fear does not show up because what we are seeking is dangerous, but because the act of moving out of our comfort zone, into something new, puts our watch guards on high alert.

When we approach fear from this viewpoint, fear looses all power over us, as fear then becomes our mile marker, or a way of detecting if we’ve pushed ourselves to new places.  No fear means, no movement, no risk of loss, and no new terrain.  So, as I go after my “Big Dream” I celebrate the moments I feel fear, I listen what they are saying to me, and I look to them as a compass that I’m on the right track. 

What I realized tonight is that I actually had a year of fear!  2012 pushed me out of my comfort zone, into new terrain, every single chance it got.  It all happened so intensely, so close together, in so many areas of my life that I never had the chance to stop and realize it was fear- I was too busy hanging on for dear life!  So, I never surrendered to it; I couldn’t see it as a compass, or something new, or as growth, and instead I fought it every step of the way.

I share all of this with you in hopes of encouraging you to redefine Self-Esteem, struggle and fear, for yourself. 

Self-Esteem is not some unattainable, illusive, all good and never bad thing that we need to judge ourselves by.  It’s the exact opposite.  Self-Esteem is loving, caring, paying attention to, becoming aware of ourselves, what makes us tick, and what we are experiencing.

I do this for a living.  Literally, I help people navigate the waters of their own fears and build a strong, authentic, congruent core-self daily, and yet this year I was the student.  I needed support, compassion, help, guidance, and new perspectives to get me through this period of time, and change in my life.  Giving myself this– showing myself compassion and listening to what I needed– is the only reason I am here writing this post.  Seeing my growth.  Celebrating the struggles I’ve been through.  Feeling stronger than ever before.

And struggle/fear?  Well, they are just growth disguised.  They are how we know we are growing, changing, moving past our comfort zone.  If we get caught up in judging ourselves for what is happening, or defining these event as our Self-Worth, we miss the lesson, we miss the growth, we fumble the opportunity.

It’s not about what is happening to us- it’s what we choose to call it that determines how it will effect us.

Better things are coming!!!!!