When we begin thinking we need different, naturally our brain begins to create a checklist of what needs to go, and what we need to add to our life. My work with clients has been all about that: learning what behaviors need to go, what healing work must be done before we can move forward, and what new relational patterns to attain. In order to discern what needs to change, it can be helpful to look first at the usual culprits:
How Are Your Boundaries? How easy is it for you to say no to what doesn’t work for you? To say what you think, feel and need? What about hearing no from others? Do you regard that as healthy for them to do or as a rejection of you? Can you detach and focus on your own feelings? Or are you so connected to them – read enmeshed – that you lose yourself in your relationships? Working on establishing healthy “property lines” around ourselves is a fabulous first step toward healthy change. In fact, I don’t think any other work we do will be fruitful without boundaries.
How Would You Rate Your Emotional Maturity? Think about when you hear no, when you face disappointment, or are faced with conflict. Do you try to respond thoughtfully with healthy detachment and keep the focus on yourself, or do you react emotionally toward them? Do you often feel like the victim of your life or do you take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviors? Growing up on the inside requires this, along with the ability to grieve to acceptance. Otherwise we will be reacting a LOT when life shows up.
Finally, Do You Own Your Choices? I think this actually is interconnected with boundaries and maturity, because if you don’t own every small and large choice you make every day, then you will make it about everyone else, bad luck and nasty karma if not. Owning your choices means you didn’t “have to” do that thing, you CHOSE to…and even if you thought you “had to” you didn’t. We are choosing every moment of our lives. We sometimes just lose sight of that, especially because owning this changes the game, and we then become responsible for ourselves. And what if we screw that up?
So when you look at what you would like to see different in your life, start here with these three areas, and see what comes up for you. I do believe that even if you just worked on these, life would certainly change for you.