The Power of YOU!
A long time ago, I read a book called: You Are Your Own Experience. It is no longer in print, unfortunately, because it had such an impact on me. It helped me realize that in every single experience I have, I am the one that creates that experience (for me). There is nobody else that has that power unless we give them that power.
So, for example, if I’m at a party and someone is acting in a way that irks me, I get to decide exactly how I want to respond to that person, that party, and the situation. I have dozens of choices on how I can handle it, for example:
Leave the party
Engage and let the person know how annoying they are
Find another group at the party to connect with
Engage with the annoying one in a way that changes the dynamic of what is happening
Have compassion for the person who obviously is unaware of their impact on others
Let it go and not let it affect me at all
And I am sure there are so many more options!
Let’s talk about a situation closer to home when we get in a tussle with our partner. What is the ‘typical’ dance that you/we both create (usually over and over again!)? Are you the quiet one? Maybe you are the one that lashes out and criticizes and says unkind things? Maybe you put your head in the sand and ignore the situation? Maybe you turn into the victim of the situation and feel and take the comments personally. Whatever your part is in the dance, I bet it is time to change it! And the best way I know how to change the dance is to start by judging less in our heads… I used to do it often, that is, tell myself a negative story (in my head); rather, it is healthier for us to judge less and, instead, get curious! Wonder what might be going on. We get so much more out of our partners by being curious rather than judging and criticizing. These stories we create in our heads don’t help us, don't help the other person, and for sure, don't help the relationship.
When I am looking at how I might want to change my life in any way, a great place to start is to notice patterns… in other words, what do we encounter more than once? Such as: getting into arguments with others, getting disappointed with others, feeling small, feeling unimportant, and feeling discouraged. Patterns show us that, somehow, we continue to go down a path that creates a similar outcome. In order to break that pattern and cycle and same outcome, I ask myself, what do I want more of? Joy? Freedom? Abundance? Trust? Laughter? Connection with others? Meaning? Impact? Space in our calendars? To feel better? Kindness?
When we identify what we want more of or what we want to get better at, we can look at where we are getting in the way or how we can change our consistent behaviors to create more of what we want. In theory, it seems so simple, but the truth is it is hard work to change patterns. Those that have quit drinking or using drugs or being a workaholic or lost weight or quit eating sugar, or made a commitment to a life of kindness all know best how hard it is to change. And when we realize we have the power to create our very own extraordinary life, it can be wildly freeing!
This takes commitment to PRACTICE a new way. It often takes PREPARATION to be sure we have all the tools we need to carry out the NEW BEHAVIOR.
Let’s use an example...
Recently I read Terry Reals' book, US. He talks about his commitment to a life of KINDNESS (not ever getting walked on either!). This is kindness toward him as well as him toward others. I loved this challenge when I heard it. In order to do this, I have to 1) take care of myself, so I am well rested and have patience, I have to eat well, so I don’t get hangry. I need to work out, so I feel like I am strong and well cared for. 2) I often have to find the love I have for someone that I might be frustrated with before choosing to open my mouth in order to make my point. 3) I often also need to sit with myself first to better understand ME and identify what I WANT so that I can 4) speak from a place of empowerment and kindness rather than criticism and blame. This is a work in progress, to be sure!
So look within, ask yourself what do you want more of and what are you willing to do to go get it? THAT is the power of Creating an Intention for yourself in the Personal Growth area of our Intention wheel.