Reader Q&A: What Happens When you Change?

Last week I received a message via Twitter asking two questions:
Will you share where you are now on this journey? What happened as a result of your willingness to embrace change?

I agreed to answer via blog post. I addressed the first question last week – here.  Below is an attempt on the second.  Thanks, @BeingKwa for the ask!

What happened because of your willingness to embrace change?

In a word, everything. Everything happened. When you’re ready to facilitate real and lasting change in your life, the things (and people) around you begin to shake. The situations that are not built on a solid foundation crumble and you choose to either leave them, or rebuild them in a way that makes sense with the new you.

Here’s the deal – people don’t like change and will attempt to control you or the situation, as much as you allow, to maintain the status quo. I had to get strong, very strong to stand up to these people and situations in my life. Relationship is important to me, I had to grow up quickly and learn to communicate and stand up for what I needed without alienating people I cared about.

Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean…

I learned how to do this. I’m still learning how to do this.

It’s hard and there have been a lot of uncomfortable situations, but with each iteration of standing up for myself in a healthy way, I get better at it – I grow, and the next time it’s a little easier. I think this was the catalyst to the rest of what happened because in discovering yourself and speaking your truth, you begin to identify gaps in your own character – in other words, the things that hold you back from being your best self – and determine if more change is in order. “Why am I feeling this way?” becomes a very powerful question.

Many in my life did not view my actions or behaviors as loving or caring. I had to be OK with that. The people who are intended to add value in your life (and you in theirs) will find their way back, even if they’re a little ticked about all the shaking you’re creating.

I have a strong sense of spirituality. Before this shift in my consciousness, I was constantly wringing my hands calling out to God. “What should I do?” “Why are things the way they are?” “Why won’t you help me.” On and on it went. One day, I was shown that God resided in me and I needed to learn to trust myself and the God inside.  This was the second big shift and with that, it began to change my entire way of thinking.

So much has happened in my life to erode my self-confidence. There was a time I didn’t trust myself. I do now. The fruit of this is seen everywhere but I’ll outline some key areas I believe are most important:

  • Self-Care. You matter. And, it is true; you cannot take care of anyone else if you are not caring for yourself. As a mother, it is easy (and some cases, almost expected) to put your kids’ needs ahead of your own. There are some instances where you must put others first, but in general, regular daily self-care is not an option.  Eating right, exercising, taking time to emotionally recharge, sleep.  Everything else can wait. We create most of the urgency in our lives with minutia and the things that don’t matter. Yes, I said, we create. I established a good routine of self-care. I (try to) give myself the grace not to be perfect in it. That works. The result is a steadiness – in my weight, energy level, and emotional capacity.
  • Emotional stability (I like to call this emotional sobriety) – Feelings and emotions are no longer my enemy. I can feel what I need to feel without becoming overwhelmed. I can understand that feelings are just that – feelings. Feelings are not who I am, but where I am, an indicator of what’s happening inside of me. There are no bad feelings just like there are no hurt feelings. When you think this way, feelings become a map of sorts, pointing you to the real issue which can quite possibly lead to a beneficial resolution or solution.
  • I can sit. Because I’m no longer running from my feelings, I can sit. Sitting is so important. Being is so important. It’s how you connect to yourself, it’s how you connect to God (or your higher power). If you can’t sit and be, you will surely miss out on all the greatness in store for your life.
  • My children feel safer. Because I am safer.  I am showing my kids they can trust their feelings and they can trust themselves. I am showing them there is a sane way to live that is not consumed by busyness and perfection and ‘doing everything right.’ I am showing them it’s OK to just be.  And, they are discovering themselves and how they can use their uniqueness to contribute to this world. Hopefully. Of course, the true test will come in about 20 years when all the pain comes gushing out and we’ll have to weigh what stuck and what didn’t.  Then they’ll probably start writing a blog detailing all the gaps in my parenting – which I will encourage, because it will mean they are strong independent thinkers who are not afraid - thus proving I did a good job after all…

Nothing changes if nothing changes my friends.
Here’s to making it great.