no matter where you go… there you are.
It seems to be a theme this week; I’ve been talking with clients about the idea of them wanting their lives to be different by either running away or having things magically change. The underlying idea being, maybe if the situation changes, it will be easier for them. Let me start off by saying, there is nothing wrong with leaving a situation or changing it, if you recognize that you take your baggage with you. Leaving the situation can give you a break from whatever rut you find yourself, but if you have a pattern or habit of behavior or thinking, most likely you will find yourself running around the same tree very soon. In order to break a habit or change a situation, you need to start with yourself. What do you need to be aware of in order to really change whatever situation you find yourself in that you don’t like? That’s the big question.
One question to think about is: Is there a pattern here?
Awareness can make a huge difference in outcomes. In fact, Awareness makes ALL the difference. With awareness, we can begin to understand our patterns and what motivates us to behave, speak, fight, and make choices, etc in certain ways. With this insight, we can begin to choose with clarity.
Another question to think about is: Where do I want to be in 6 months or a year?
Awareness let’s us know what’s going on, but in order to know what to choose, we have to have an idea of where we want to go. In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey says to begin with the end in mind, and that’s the truth, we definitely need to have a direction.
I was talking to a client the other day, she gets into patterns in relationships where she is in financial crisis and wants someone to ‘save’ her. But, people don’t tend to want to financially rescue other people for free, so she ends up with the cost of what she has to do to keep the savior engaged in saving her. She then begins to feel bad about what she has to do, or put up with, and ends up hating her savior. She had to take a good hard look at the pattern, now that she knows it’s there, she has to start to develop the idea of what she want to move towards. “I want to feel safe and like I don’t have to worry that creditors are knocking at my door.” My thought to her was, “If you want to truly be ‘safe’ you’re going to have to deal with the financial drama you create. Creating a different dynamic in that regard will allow you then to choose the people you actually want to spend time with, based on liking and respecting them, not because you have to put on a show to get them to do what you need… like save you.”
We do this in jobs too. “I hate my job, but I can’t quit.” Well, why not? I realize that people have expenses, kids, homes, cars, insurance, etc. But, if you really hate a job, why can’t you start to think about what you want to move toward? Feeling stuck and choosing to stay that way is most likely a pattern too. There are times, that with good reason, we need to stay in a job, even if we don’t love it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be planning a change down the road. It may mean we need to take a look at what skills we need to develop, education, etc. The pattern is just the easy place we can get stuck; it doesn’t mean we have to stay stuck forever. Someone once said, the only difference between a rut and the grave is the depth… ruts are easier to jump out of, death is terminal.
If we have the courage to pay attention and stop running away from our stuff, life gets a lot less complicated. It’s sort of like that quintessential picture of the newlyweds driving away in the car looking over waving at the crowd with little cans hanging off the back, those little cans are actually baggage, the cans say things like: problem managing anger, commitment issues, fear, wants to be saved, and I’m not feeling so confident. The problem with the little cans is you’re dragging them along with you and until you can see them, you can’t toss them in the recycle bin.
One of the problems of life is that we can’t really hide from ourselves, no matter where we go… there we are.