Change is a comin’

Accepting does not mean approving. Just because we accept the reality of the change, doesn’t mean that we approve of it.

Change is hard. I hear this a lot. Clients come in, sit on my couch, and say, “Change is hard.” I can’t argue. Change is hard. There are changes that we anticipate and plan for and then there are changes that we didn’t see coming. Change that is forced upon us or change that has taken us by surprise. Change is inevitable, unavoidable, and happens whether we choose to fight or be a willing participant.

Some changes we perceive as positive (welcome) and some we perceive as negative (unwelcome). In changing our perception, we can change how we feel about the change. But, this doesn’t always make it any easier. In fact, some of the changes in my life have had to drag me, kicking, screaming and crying into the new. Other changes I have joined hands with and joyfully skipped into the new.

Lately, there have been a lot of changes in my life. Some I initiated, and some I fought against until my knees were blistered from praying and my eyes were swollen with tears. The changes still came. I could be angry and anxious and depressed. So many ways to respond to change. But in the acceptance of the reality of the situations, I find I’m stretching, growing, finding a new perspective.

You can choose your response to change. Even if it is initially an unwelcome change. Even if it is forever an unwelcome change. They way you think about the change is the key. Change doesn’t have to be the enemy or your friend. Change can be neutral. It already is, right? A change is simply something different than what we are used to. It’s inanimate, lifeless. Simply something different. The way we respond to and think about the change is what gives it meaning.

Even though I’m stretching and growing, I’m also groaning. When you work out muscles that have been doing nothing, it hurts. And it hurts for a long time. Finally though, you work out one day and nothing hurts, it actually feels good and you feel strong. Right now, some of the changes in my life hurt, some of them feel beautiful, some of them feel scary and some of them are causing me to stretch muscles that are unused. The change itself is not hurtful or beautiful or scary. The change is simply life moving, ebbing and flowing. The change is neutral. My feelings attached to the change give it the meaning.

Change is coming. Change is all around. Life is not static, it is dynamic. It is always moving, always changing. See the change as neutral. Choose your feelings about it. Fight and claw and refuse to accept the reality and you will never be happy. Adjust and adapt and accept it as a part of life and you can ride the waves. Accepting does not mean approving. Just because we accept the reality of the change, doesn’t mean that we approve of it. But that acceptance moves us into a place of finding a solution or adaptation so we can move forward. Sometimes it takes time. Be compassionate with yourself. Don’t expect to accept everything easily and readily. But know you have choices.

Be kind, be grateful, be courageous,

Jules

So I’m faulty…

“… it’s like having a camera and ignoring it. Seeing obstacles but backing out anyway, running things over.”

“He’s never going to change. I’ve told him over and over what he is doing is killing our marriage, but he refuses to see any of his faults.”

“I can’t keep a job more than a few months. I get fired over stupid things. Bosses just want us all to conform. Who can work in an environment where you can’t be yourself?”

Is it possible that we have faults we can’t see? Faults that others recognize and bring to our attention, but we refuse to see? And if we changed, or even worked on these faults, could we save a friendship, a job, a marriage or a family tie?

In a recent post, I talked about worth. That if we are rejected, whether it be personal, professional, or romantic, it doesn’t diminish our worth. That is true. It does not however, mean that we are not at fault ever. Part of accepting ourselves is looking honestly at our whole being, good and bad. And just because we accept our faults, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work on those things to make them better. Especially if they are continually being brought to our attention and affecting our relationships.

In 1955, two psychologists, Joseph Lutz and Harrington Ingham, came up with a technique called the Johari Window. (Joseph + Harrington = Johari). The Johari Window has four panes: one is the part of ourselves that we and others see; one contains aspects that others see but we are unaware of; one is the private space we know but hide from others; one is the unconscious part of us that neither ourselves nor others see. Let’s put a pin in that for now.

FB_IMG_1522265931941

I drive a Challenger. It’s my dream car. I waited all through undergrad and grad school, got a job and worked there for two years, before I bought my car. My car is everything I wanted it to be. I only have one complaint, it has a terrible blind spot. The way the back windows are made, you can’t see when you back out. I usually have to back out slowly and hope for the best. That’s scary. When I can, I find a space I can pull through so I can avoid backing up. It’s really a hazard. I’m seriously contemplating getting a back up camera to help me out.

Okay, let’s go back to the window. The Johari window can help us with a number of things, but let’s focus on that pane that others see and we don’t. This could be filled with all kinds of positive adjectives that others see in us and we don’t recognize in ourselves. It can also be filled with negative adjectives that others see in us and we don’t recognize in ourselves. We have blind spots. Things in our lives that we can’t see. It’s a hazard to our relationships, no matter what the type.

The people in our lives are the back up cameras. They are trying to help us out. If I get a camera and never turn it on or ignore it, what help is that? If you never consider what others are telling you, or examine it to see if it is true, it’s like having a camera and ignoring it. Seeing obstacles but backing out anyway, running things over. You can choose that. It’s an option. But, it’s a reckless way to live your life. A destructive way that will end in you being alone. You can also choose to change, or get help changing if you don’t know how. Don’t let your pride keep you from your best life.

Be kind, be grateful, be courageous,

Jules

So I’m out of control…

“When you start trying to control everything…it’s an impossible task, so just don’t. “

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time to reflect on 2016. Mine was CRAZY and nothing at all like I expected it would be. FEBRUARY:¬†our landlord of two years, came to us and said he was selling our house and we could move out or buy it. If we were moving out we had 30 days to find a new place and move.What?! We wanted to buy the house but weren’t going to be ready to in 30 days. MARCH: Daughter #1 (Punkin) got fb_img_1458090662712engaged last December and was planning a September wedding. They decided that a big, expensive party wasn’t what they wanted and got married in March in Estes Park with just parents and siblings. So fun! APRIL: Son #2 (Bear) made the decision to go into the Army and wanted to get married before he left. We planned a 13138762_10209116795573878_3370804543157192044_nbackyard wedding in three weeks and it was beautiful! MAY: I became seriously ill with a blood clot in my lung. Then they found more. Lots and lots of them. I spent a week in the hospital and over a month before I went back to work.I still have six months left of medication for it. JUNE: Bear left for Basic Training. Communication only by letters until graduation in August. That was hard on all of us. JULY: Max, the wonderdog, came to live with us. AUGUST: Bear graduated from Basic Training and our whole family was able to go and celebrate with him. We saw him a couple of days and he headed to Medic Training in San Antonio until December. SEPTEMBER: We FINALLY bought the house after negotiations all 14457380_10154581512523739_8607037622581315025_nsummer. Son #1 (Superman) made the decision to go into the Army and wanted to get married before he left. We planned another backyard wedding in three weeks and it was beautiful! OCTOBER: We found out that Punkin and her husband are expecting next summer! We made a trip to San Antonio to see Bear, with his wife and daughter so he could be with the baby on her birthday. NOVEMBER: Big Daddy and I went to Las Vegas for a few days and RELAXED. DECEMBER: We found out that Superman and his wife are expecting a baby next summer! We made a trip to San Antonio for Bear’s graduation and got to BRING HIM HOME!!! For the first time in 26 weeks we had the whole family together for Family Night and then for Christmas. Bear’s family just moved this week to their first station and of all the Army bases in the world it’s only 2 1/2 hours away! I’m so grateful! The head gasket went out in my Jeep and 1382150_691969637479946_604125459_nwe had to go buy a new car, but it’s AWESOME! In JANUARY Superman will be leaving for Basic and we will go back to writing letters and missing our boy. (Daughter #2 (Fancy) got married 3 years ago but since I’m showing wedding pics this is hers…

2016 Summary: 3 weddings, two pregnancy announcements, 2 sons joined the Army, got a new dog, bought a house, bought a new car, a serious illness and a quick trip to Las Vegas. Talk about unexpected events. We had absolutely zero idea that ANY of those things were going to happen. Life can’t be planned. You can make a plan, but if you hold determinedly to it and can’t roll with the reality, you’re going to make yourself miserable (and probably everyone around you). All you can control are your own attitudes, actions, thoughts and words. That’s enough for most of us to take on. When you start trying to control everything else, and others in your life, you are going to be met with frustration and disappointment because it’s an impossible task, so just don’t.

Something I do every year, and with all my clients, is a handout that I call Intentional Living. It’s a simple 5 question worksheet that helps you make a plan for YOURSELF for the next year. You can only control yourself, so make a plan. Here’s the five questions:

  1. Choose a single word to represent you this year.
  2. Choose a phrase that is your overarching theme.
  3. What will be different for you at the end of 2017?
  4. What is one challenge that is standing in your way?
  5. What are you committed to doing to make it your best year yet?

Take some time and write these out with your answers. Keep it on your phone, post it on your fridge, put it somewhere you can see it often to help you stay on track. It will give you a framework on which to make decisions for the year. Clients love looking back at the end of the year and seeing how they have lived out their plan, despite all the unexpected dodgeballs life threw at them. What’s your plan? I’d love for you to leave me your word or phrase in the comments!

I hope for each of you, that 2017 brings you love, laughter and beautiful memories!

Jules