Friday, January 04, 2008

Changes the Easy Way

Karma asked a good question that made me realize my last post was incomplete. I said we did best when we chose the path that was easiest. I left out one very important aspect to that advice!

Step 1: Decide changes we’d like to make in our lives.

Step 2: Look at possible steps to take that would help us move closer to where we want to be with those changes.

Step 3: Of the possible steps, choose the one that feels easiest, that feels like it might even be fun, the one that feels like something we can do.

Step 4: Take the action(s) we chose in Step 3.

It’s natural to want to be safe if there was ever a time in our lives when we really, really weren’t safe. We may find that it’s at the top of our list of priorities! And it is something very wonderful and something to be profoundly grateful for when we achieve it.

The challenge is that safety is often in direct conflict (or feels as if it is) with other goals we have. So the trick is to find a way to move forward that doesn’t require giving up safety all at once as we reach for our other goals.

One can’t be laughing and happy and having fun and be scared at the same time. That’s one reason finding steps toward our goals that incorporate fun can let us bring safety along even as we move in the direction we want to take. And as we succeed with those first steps, we are likely to feel stronger and more self-confident and taking the next few steps may feel like something we can do—even if they didn’t before.

If we are passionate about what we are doing, odds are that things which would otherwise scare us don’t—because we’re so focused on what we want to accomplish.

If we like the people we’re with when we’re doing something, it makes it easier to do new things—knowing they will support us. (If they won’t and what we want to do is important to us, it may be time to look for new friends!)

What I’m saying is that I know the desire to be safe. It’s one of my top priorities—even if I sometimes wish I could move it lower down on the list. The good news is that from my own experience I know there are ways to achieve those other goals without giving up safety. Not by attacking them head on doing the scariest thing first—at least not for me. That wouldn’t work—not for me. But by finding a path that is increasingly fun and involves something I care passionately about, it’s as if I bring my safety with me and I can move forward in ways I might once have thought were impossible.

Wishing for each of you paths of joy that lead you forward into the lives you want to have. Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))),

April_optimist

5 comments:

Rising Rainbow said...

I still find this confusing. I think maybe you are starting from some point in the middle of your process but I have no clue where that is.

If I stand back and look at what you've said, I know it doesn't fit for the beginning of my healing process. And from what I can gather from others, I believe that is probably true of them as well.

Clearly beginning the process of healing is anything but the "easy" way. And it seems to me that I experienced forks in the road along that way that were equally difficult to pursue but key to my process.

And yet, it also seems to me that what you say rings true in some situations. Maybe you aren't talking about the process at all. Like I said, I'm confused....

April_optimist said...

Rising Rainbow, Thanks for letting me know. I've tried again in a new post today. I hope it clarifies things a bit.

Lynn said...

Hi, April. Just a random comment on something that jumped out for me. You wrote: "One can’t be laughing and happy and having fun and be scared at the same time." I have no clue about anyone alse, but I can be these at the same time. I can laugh and appear to be completely fine when I 'decide' that I want or need to ignore what is really going on inside. This double way of being is how I have lived most of my life. It's how I was able to work, find a decent husband, get married, care for children, make a home, etc. Cognitive behavior types of therapies and 'positive thinking' allowed this. These techniques that reinforced my uncanny ability to ignore reality allowed me to 'decide' that I was happy. I guess you tell that I am not like that anymore. I used to worry that actual reality would offend people, but now I just don't give a rip.:-)

Happy New Year to you, April. May it be a good one.

Karma said...

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So the step that I've been missing is figuring out first what I need to do and then make my choices from that path. I also tend to try to leap instead of going step by step....always looking for the easier way - but changes take work, and there's no way around that.

April_optimist said...

Lynn, You're absolutely right that false laughter--pretending to be happy--isn't the answer. With genuine joy, however... We might be scared or hurt a moment before or a moment after we feel the joy but in that moment of true joy... And the key is finding more and more moments of genuine joy. Beginning to believe it's possible to create a life where we truly feel more joy than not, where we know we can handle the challenges that come our way. Not fake happiness, but the real kind that comes from letting go of all the lies we believed for so long about ourselves and realizing we are wonderful human beings deserving of love and happiness. Doesn't mean the bad things didn't happen, just that they no longer determine how we feel about ourselves.

Karma, Yup. Changes take work. The thing is that the work gets easier as we see that the result is feeling better about ourselves and being able to make choices that really do improve our lives.