On Friday night – after celebrating a wonderful Woman’s Day with hubby and Baby Girl – hubby and I sat down to watch TV and in flicking through the channels, we came across this program called Strange Attractions on TLC. They featured this man, who, err, hurt the mash in his, err, bangers and mash manly bits about four years before this show was recorded. On the day he hurt himself, his “mash” started to swell and it had swollen to almost 100 times its original weight and is now (or rather at the date the show was recorded) the size of a couple of watermelons, and will just continue to swell and grow until something is done about it. It was so large, that he could barely walk, and if he did manage to walk, he would have to wear a tracksuit top, upside down – put his legs through the arms of the top, and do up the buttons or zip to keep himself covered. It was huge. Both hubby and I watched in astonishment as this man just carried this huge burden – literally – around with him for FOUR YEARS. And when they eventually found a doctor who could operate and fix him up, he was “still considering his options,” because as hubby said, if he went back to being “normal,” what would then define him? He would then just go back to being a nobody. I am still amazed and cannot believe that this man could walk around like that and be hesitant about anybody helping him. He, according to the show, had not seen his bangers since this happened. And he definitely is not functioning, as a normal man should.
But, am I not doing the same?
Carrying around this fear of eating / not eating, this anxiety about my life and if I am being a good mom or not? This fear about am I going to make it or not make it. All this is doing is making me sit on the sidelines instead of really getting involved in life, and being actively tuned into what life has to offer. But, no, silly me – I prefer to sit on the sidelines and focus on being afraid, feeling anxious, and being nervous all the time. And I know better, I do. I know that I am a highly-strung individual who is prone to feeling anxious.
How am I different to many other individuals? But, here’s the thing, and this is what my darling hubby keeps trying to tell me, and once again, I know this, but I somehow am battling to make the leap from focusing on this issue to freeing myself from this issue – if I keep focusing on the how’s, why’s and wherefores of stress, anxiousness and nervousness, then that’s exactly what I will continue to feel. And before I know it, I will be like this gentleman and have walked around with a burden for years where there is no need to carry this around.
I guess I hate the fact that its not an instantaneous remedy.
I want it to stop and I want it to stop now.
But, life does not work that way. I have spent the better part of 36 years focusing and consuming every negativity that I can, consuming it and replaying it repeatedly in my mind again and again, so that my very fibre just oozes negativity. I cannot expect that all to be undone in a few short months of coming to this realisation.
When I was battling to come to terms with my miscarriage, and I had stopped eating (which is also a normal reaction for many individuals going through stressful periods in their lives), I approached hubby with my concerns that I had stopped eating and he said to me that he can’t but help thinking I am doing this on purpose. And although I didn’t agree with him at the time, or see it at the time, I now know that he is right. You see, my focus shouldn’t have been on whether I am eating or not, but rather on dealing with the grief of what I had been through. Eating or not should never have been the focus – just as it shouldn’t be the focus now.
I just need to let go.
And although it hasn’t been the instant fix I was hoping for, I will keep working on this until…
…Until it is no longer an issue.
…Until I am involved in my marriage, my life, motherhood and work that there is no fear, anxiety or stress at all – because this is life. And I’m loving it.
…Until I can positively approach who I am and realise that I too deserve to be fit, healthy and strong and that I don’t have to keep weight on just to prove to myself that I am eating – because that is now a non-issue.
…Until this is so far gone that I’ll reread this post and not even remember why I wrote it in the first place.
When you sell a house, it feels great to get rid of stuff you’ve accumulated. You wonder why you lived so long with it weighing you down. It’s the same with mental and emotional clutter. Jon Gordon says, ‘Why do we fill our life with so many things that weigh us down? Thoughts that hold us back. Habits that limit us. Distractions that derail us. Negative people [who] drain us. Fear that paralyses us… time zappers that sabotage…productivity. We spend so much time…on things that don’t matter – we fail to focus on what does matter. We fill up with so many things that generate negative energy, there’s no room for positive energy in our lives.’ Paul writes, ‘…throw off your…former way of life…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.’ (Ephesians 4:22-23 NLT) The clutter you need to lose includes: believing you’re alone, trying to please everyone, feeling insecure, putting yourself down, needing everyone to like you, jumping to negative conclusions before you know the facts, thinking you’re always right, recalling all the times you messed up, wanting to know how it all turns out, needing to have all the answers, worrying you’ll lose the memories if you let go of the memorabilia, agonising you’re not rich enough, good enough or clever enough, surrounding yourself with people who recall the bad times and not the good, making energy-sucking comparisons, observing life instead of participating, believing your best days are over, constantly waiting for the right moment, fearing you’ll look foolish, focusing on negative type-casting…and anything else you don’t want to pass on to your children. How can you get rid of the clutter? ‘…let the Spirit renew your…attitudes.’www.thewordfortoday.com.au
“We would rather be ruined than changed; we would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.” W.H. AudenHow often have you heard this statement being said by someone you know? I am okay ‘under the circumstances.’ You heard it? You said it? Well, here is the crazy thing! It is amazing how often somebody will be referring to circumstances within their control which they are doing nothing about, but let you know in no uncertain terms that they are not happy. Why? Because most people don’t change until they have to. Today I am giving you a large chunk of a great article by Barrie Davenport. She calls herself a Passion Coach and I was really challenged by her blog insights.So as we acknowledged above, we are all, to some degree reluctant to change. As I worked through Davenport’s blog I realized just how much of this applied to me. Let’s explore her thinking for a while. She starts by saying that in many cases we are forced to change by outside circumstances. If not, then eventually the inner pain of staying put becomes unbearable. Either way, it takes a huge negative motivation to force our hand. This is change under duress. It’s not optimal, but it sure does work. And even though it’s initially quite painful, this forced change is often the best thing that could ever happen in the long run. You’ve seen it before either with others or in your own life.
Someone who hates their job doesn’t look for something better until they are fired.
The person who’s overweight doesn’t change their diet until they are diagnosed with heart disease.
The man or woman feeling empty and dissatisfied doesn’t self-actualize and grow until they face a depression or midlife crisis.
The woman who doesn’t leave an abusive relationship until the police or social services steps in.
We fight like crazy to hold onto the status quo and even keep promising to do something about it ‘next time.’ We won’t tolerate it if our boss puts us down one more time. Then he does, and we tolerate it. We won’t tolerate it if the scale tips over at ……. but then it does, and we still don’t go to the gym. We feel worse and worse and worse about ourselves, our lives, our jobs, our relationships — but not quite bad enough to do anything about it. Until one day everything explodes. The lid blows off the pot. We reach the breaking point. We’re pushed too far. We can’t live with ourselves or our boring, meaningless lives any longer. This kind of dramatic, negative motivation does enforce change, but it comes with a price. It is not a kind, gentle, or creative way to become your best self or to find your life passion.
Davenport goes on to say that if you tolerate the intolerable, accept the unacceptable, and live outside of your integrity and authenticity long enough, you will either explode or implode. These Big Bang eruptions might happen a few times over the course of a lifetime. And once we heal from the pain, deal with the fallout, and re-create ourselves, we can look back and be grateful we’re on the other side of it, having finally become a better version of ourselves. But what about the rest of the time, the vast majority of our lives, when we are existing in the status quo? What about that space in between mediocre and a full-blown explosion?
Ronald Meredith, in his book Hurrying’ Big For Little Reasons, describes one quiet night in early spring: Suddenly out of the night came the sound of wild geese flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly announced the excitement I felt. What is to compare with wild geese across the moon? It might have ended there except for the sight of our tame mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known. The honking out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into their wild yesterdays. Their wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge to fly was sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never raised from the water. The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard was too tempting! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable. That is what complacency does. That is what a life that isn’t bad enough to change looks like.
So what do you do if you know this is you? The best scenario for making positive change in your life, for discovering your life passion, and for shifting the various elements of your life to accommodate change, is the scenario in which you are the creator rather than the reactor. The best scenario is the one in which you proactively decide exactly what you want for your life and then boldly and fearlessly go after it. You make change on your terms rather than waiting for a huge eruption to enforce change on you.
When you are proactive about change, you don’t have to deal with the pain, the fallout, the lost time and energy. Yes, there are some difficulties even with proactive change, but you can prepare for them. They aren’t thrust upon you.
When you choose change, you are in control of your destiny.
Nigel Marsh said, “Often, people work long hard hours at jobs they hate to earn money to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” James Belasco said, “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
So the questions we need to ask ourselves are:
Am I living a compromised life?
Am I tolerating the intolerable?
Am I accepting mediocre, boring and uninspired?
Am I miserable in my job, my relationships or my life?
If I am, then sooner or later, an explosion or implosion is bound to happen. Here is the crux of the matter! If you don’t manage your unhappiness by addressing it head-on, defining what you deeply desire for yourself and your life, and then taking the actions to affect change, change will find you in a not-so-very-pleasant way. Marshall Goldsmith said, “After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them.”
Are you unhappy with any part of your life right now? If so, then let’s take Barrie Davenport’s advice. Decide today that you will no longer accept that. Decide today that you are taking control of your life by being proactive about what you need to change and what you envision for a passionate future.
Remember that, if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
Have a wonderful week
If you have any questions or feedback about “When Life Is Not Bad Enough To Change” please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear from you.
Antony Jennings is an international trainer, consultant and motivational speaker based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Antony writes this free weekly mentoring letter to support and encourage those who are serious about taking charge of their lives. You will find an archive of his letters at www.antonyjennings.com or www.zifundise.com
I want to change this anxiety that I sometimesfeel – I want to change the issues I have regarding my weight and eating, I want to enjoy my life with my hubby and my baby girl, and I want to enjoy my job. I want hubby and I to grab life with both our hands and really enjoy everything that life has to offer us.
I do not want to be thatperson – the one that carries such a huge, invisible weight around with him – and doesn’t want to do anything about it, but thinks that he can’t. I want to be the person who is a go-getter in life, who people look up to for my positive attitude, my good marriage and my sound mothering skills. That’s who I want to be. And that is the person that hubby loves.
I do not want to be him.
The one who carries around a deformity that could easily be remedied, but choose to rather stay as is – so he can get on TV or what? I want to change how I think and how I react to life. I want to enjoy my life – who cares if there is a little anxiety along the way. Its totally normal. And who cares if I don’t eat – I’ll eat when I’m hungry. There is no need to make a big deal about it.
I won’t give up.
As Joyce Meyers says, “often the victory is quite simply in not giving up.”
Thank you for listening (reading?) to me – the day will come when I no longer blog about this. I look forward to that day and will continue working until that day becomes a reality.