Believing That Change Is Possible
Often the first hurdle to jump over in this journey is to put to rest (or a least put on mute for awhile) your inner critic and doubter. I know youíve been to therapy, I know youíve read books, I know youíve tried just about everything under the sun and youíre still running in circles. Donít worry, I did, too! Or maybe youíre just for the first time ever admitting to yourself that the abuse happened and that you need to deal with it. Either way, there is likely a part of you that is wondering if you can get better! I invite you to allow yourself to embrace recovery as an adventure, an exploration. Be curious, check things out Ė and try to leave off stressing about end results. We each have to walk our own path of recovery. Sometimes, it takes just one thing to make things fall into place. Sometimes, itís a variety of things.
For me, I tried all sorts of things before finally coming upon the ideas that Iíll share here that made the difference for me. I hope you can be open to the journey and remember thereís a lot to learn from turtles.
Lessons from a Turtle
"Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, because they are looking for ideas."
How fabulous is that! I know Iím still certainly wondering about what Iíll be when I grow up, and I know many of the folks around me are thinking about this, too.
For me, though, there are the added questions of, ďIs it too late?Ē & ďShouldnít I have accomplished more by now?Ē I took a bit more time to finish my undergraduate studies than usual; then I spent some time roaming the halls of an elementary school trying my hand at teaching and learning a lot about myself.
When I came to California, I focused on child development (and napping) as I nanny before turning my attention to psychology & coaching. Seems a bit schizophrenic, but each stage has in some way built upon the previous one. Now, most days, I appreciate my wiggly journey. Still, I do sometimes agonize about this, because I am many paces behind those who followed the straight and narrow.
When we feel the pressure to make our mark, crave the pride of achievement, desire to experience ourselves at our best, or want more than anything to be fully recovered, our first point of reference for measuring where we stand is often what others are doing or have done. Is there real value in this exercise of comparison? Well, I suppose it depends on what your ultimate goal is.
To my mind, I see two possible outcomes from engaging in this sort of reflection (to be sure, there may be others). If your goal (though possibly an unconscious one) is to reinforce negative ideas you have about yourself as being less than, incapable, flawed, etc. Ė comparing oneself to others is like a gateway drug to self-deprecation. There can be real value in seeing how you measure up to others, but if you canít compare yourself to others without becoming depressed, self-critical, exasperated, defeated, pitiful, and chagrined then this is not a healthy choice for you.
However, if your goal is to do something about your current situation and to move forward despite time, age, circumstances then it might be possible to become inspired, motivated, encouraged, and educated as a result of comparing where you are with others who have acquired the same things you now desire but donít have. In other words, through curiosity and studying their very straight journey, you may add some arrow-like qualities to your own path.
My point is, I can look to a coach who is my age, has my education but is much further along in building her business and making a living and think to myself, ďDamn it, see, if only I hadnítÖĒ or I can look to see how this person got to where she is and learn Ė and, perhaps, learn fast! Likewise, we can keep ourselves in a loop of comparing where we are in our journey of recovery to others or lamenting that we arenít there yet, or we can set about doing the work and learning from those who have gone before us.
We only have one life journey. Whether it be a wiggly one or a straight & narrow one Ė it's ours. So, for all of my wiggly friends out there Ė move, be active, learn and donít allow yourself to be distracted by self-deprecating thoughts.
Just as we might discover who we want to be when we grow up from kids, we also do well to remember the age old Aesop fable The Tortoise and the Hare. Itís not how quickly you can get to where you want to be Ė itís whether you get there at all.