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.

Self-Esteem’s Nemesis: “Deserve”

 

If I could give only one piece of insight to a person asking me about Self-Esteem and Self-Worth it would be this:  Swap the word “deserve” for “worth” in your vocabulary.

It’s a simple distinction verbally, and yet within our amazing mind’s and bodies, the difference is like night and day.

The Danger of “Deserve” 

When we say we deserve something, no matter what “it” is, what we are really saying is that we’ve done something to earn said “it.”  Literally.  The dictionary defines deserve as: [verb] “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)”

Basically, when we use the word “deserve” we’re are teaching our bodies, and our minds, that our worth comes from the things we do.  The way we act.  The choices we make. The amount we give.

It sets up a sort of quid pro quo within ourselves, that our value is based on giving and then receiving.  That our value exists only in relation to other external things and/or people.  That we have to give in order to have worth, and that our worth is measured by what we get back. 

In other words, we can give until we are empty, homeless, exhausted, totally depleted and if we don’t get back something that fills us up, makes us feel valuable, or is equal to the amount we’ve given then our internal belief becomes that we haven’t worked hard enough, we haven’t earned our value, and therefore we have no worth.

Scary, right?!

The Value in “Worth”

On the other hand, when we say we are “worth” something, we are saying to our minds and bodies that we, beautiful, flawed, unique, authentic us- have value, and we are worth said it.

Check out the definition for worth: [adjective] 1. are equal to particular amount 2. important enough to justify something

Do ya see the difference?

When we are worth something, we are “important enough to justify” it.  We get to have said it because we. are. valuable.  We, us, who we are just because we are alive, have value.  We are important.  We matter.

We are worth being treated with respect.

We are worth having nice things happen to us.

We are worth being paid attention to.

We are worth being loved.

We are worthy of love from ourselves.  From our families.  From life.  We, just as we are, not because of what we do, are worth love.

So, start Today.  Start the process of learning to see your value by removing the word “deserve” from your vocabulary, and embracing your worth.  You, yes YOU, are important enough to justify this swap. You matter.  You are worth love.