We all have limiting behaviors that hold us back. We may be unaware of how we show up to other people. There are times when people may react a certain way and we are baffled by their reaction. This happens less frequently when we have an open mind and a desire to grow. When we are resistant, closed off and are sure others are more to blame, we are likely to stay stuck in many of our limiting behaviors all the while being convinced “they” are the problem.
If you are reading this blog then you are consciously or one some level eager to grow. Your mind is open and you have a desire to change. We all recognize that change is often a dedicated commitment to work and focus on those things which are important for us to better.
If we want to lose weight, it takes discipline, daily mindful eating, educating ourselves about proper nutrition, a willingness to work hard and to stick with our commitment. Any goal requires this level of consideration.
What happens when we relapse? What if we embraced relapse as an important step toward our personal growth? Have you ever had this happen? You make a commitment that you are going to stop a certain behavior. The next minute, day or week you find yourself engaging in that behavior even more so. So you may beat yourself up or fall into belligerent denial (a story runs it does not count, or they deserved it). We may feel massive amounts of guilt or even total apathy. We suffer. This often leads to us saying F*&K it. Or we may pretend it didn’t happen and think it will just go away without anyone noticing.
What if we short cut all that and just say “Oh how interesting. I get to see how this behavior looks. Now I am aware this no longer feels comfortable and I see it for what it really is.” This is how we heal and move forward rapidly. The relapse may not have been a ‘relapse’. It may have been a chance for us to see clearly what we had been doing all along but could not see. It may have been a wonderful opportunity to see how we show up and now choose a different way.
So what’s all this about and what can we do?
STEP ONE – OWN IT. When we relapse, if we can swallow our pride and just own it, most people will forgive us quickly. “Yes, that’s my old behavior. I own it. I just want you to know that I am committed and I’m going to keep working on this. I would love your support and patience as I reinvent myself.” When we revert back to our ‘story’ and old tapes that make the behavior acceptable and make others wrong then we will stay stuck.
STEP TWO – GET BACK TO IT. If others want to stay stuck in the past, leave them there! If we practice step one, own it and then move on, we don’t need others to move on with us. We can just decide we will let go of the guilt or apathy or feelings of failure and we will move forward. If we review our lives we can see that is how we were successful in reaching other goals. We just kept getting back to what mattered. A relapse does not matter. It does not define us.
STEP THREE – KEEP AT IT. No matter what, we keep re-committing ourselves. My declaration is that I am a patient, present, playful and accepting women. I am often times many of those things. Most often when I am not those things it is with my husband! The minute he relapses into his old patterns I use my story to justify relapsing into my old patterns.
Isn’t it interesting the more I commit to ‘not reacting’, being loving and letting go of my own ego demands, more triggers pop up. Each time I get better. Each time I stay mad for a shorter period of time. I am also able to be more effective in my communication.
It started like this “You do this and that is what happens when you do this and you need to own it”. You can imagine that did not produce the humble response from him I was hoping for.
It evolved into this “I see how much you’ve changed and we all have momentary lapses which I can relate to. I’ve been relapsing myself into old patterns. Let’s just own it and move on.”
If we resist it, deny it and defend it then we will just stay stuck and cause unnecessary battles for ourselves.
Also I continue to let go of my expectation that he will “do anything” aka “change”. I come to a place where I feel good about my communication and it does not matter so much that he change, because I did. As a result of my change, I then notice a change in him. Did he change or did my perception change?
What matters is that when I grow, I notice ALL my relationships grow as well.