You’ve probably heard it before, at least from me on this blog or on the podcast: as long as you are doing the HOW you’ll be fine. You will change, you will learn and grow and life will get better. The HOW stands for Honesty, Openness and Willingness – the three components of personal growth and each has its distinct purpose and all three need each other. If we are honest but not ready to change, nothing will change – period. If we are honest but not open we will close ourselves off from learning and thus limit the possibilities for our lives. If we are not willing to take ownership and take the actual steps, well…we will stand still.
Right now I just want you to take a moment and see where you might be in the process of changing, and pat yourself on the back for what you have been able to do so far…
Honesty. The ways you are being courageous enough to be honest. Gut leveling with yourself when it was so hard to do. When it’s still hard to do. About things that needed to go. Things that needed to change. Ways you needed to grow. About the reality that was so hard to accept about someone you love. Or about the situation. Honesty is the first and probably the hardest step of all, as we allow the façade of whatever we were living in crumble, revealing the truth about others and ourselves. Honesty requires courage, and I believe we will get honest when we are ready and not a moment before. Years of counseling and coaching have taught me that perhaps first we need to feel safe and supported, not judged for being where we are, and yet held lovingly accountable for our choices. We will get honest when we believe in and love ourselves enough to want better for ourselves.
Openness. Take a moment and look at the ways you are becoming more open to looking at your life and changing. This is where the door begins to open to possibilities, and where we may need to make difficult choices. Where understanding how boundary setting comes in around people or things that no longer serve us. Openness to looking at yourself and where you struggle is where you no longer allow fear to keep you from taking the steps necessary to move forward. To see how leaving a toxic relationship is necessary for your sanity and safety, or to realize that not using your gifts is contributing to your depression. Being open to the idea of healthier may sound easy but it often involves a paradigm shift, where we begin to believe new and different things about life, and about ourselves.
Willingness. Here’s where the magic truly begins. Look at the ways you are showing – yourself – mostly how willing you are to make the choices and take the actionable steps to change. Here’s where the courage to make it real by making it happen comes into play. We can talk all we want about making changes, and yet nothing is real until we actually do it. Taking the first step can feel scary and exciting, and each step leads to another so even if you are feeling impatient and want instant results, keep at it. You are making your life different with each step you take. Every step in a new direction is a step away from where you are today.
So if we are ready to sit with reality and get honest, see the need for change and the possibilities that come with that change, and the courage to get started, our life will begin moving in the direction we want it to go. Nothing is more powerful than the experiential data we are gathering along the way…showing us and convincing us that the journey to where we want to be is profound. In fact, part of the growth process is regret. Regret of realizing this isn’t rocket science and why didn’t they do this sooner?
Soak up the HOW in your life. Be proud of yourself for your courage and longing for better. Take moments to stop and notice what “phase” you are in at the moment and appreciate it’s purpose.