Change – mission impossible?!

What I want to do, I don’t and what I don’t want to do – I do or

Why is change so hard?!

When you want to change a pattern – in this case, speak up on a topic that was taboo growing up, and that could be almost anything but let’s pick money matters. (Some personalities need to learn how to take a deep breath and shut up, but that’s a different blog : )  Notice how the different Parts of you, touched on briefly last blog post, will get together to challenge the change you are attempting.  Your Responsible part might say, ‘just handle this yourself, don’t bother them’  and will pair up with your Loyal to family tradition part saying ‘this is an off limits topic’ and likely pull the Judging part in  ‘they will just think you’re cheap’.  Your body will react to the potential conflict, your heart speeds up and your attention narrows and breathing gets shallow and anxiety rises…  should I remain silent and simmering or speak up and risk misunderstanding, hurt feelings and/or worse?

If I shy away from the confrontation, my heart slows down, my body relaxes and it feels likes I’ve avoided danger, which rewards me for NOT speaking up. That’s one good reason it’s so difficult to change patterns even though we read terrific books, watch inspirational TV interviews, try praying about it, buy workbooks and even journal our gratitude.  Am I willing to feel anxious for a few moments sharing the truth kindly rather than swallowing the conflict and having ‘indigestion’ later in the form of avoidance, resentment, limited conversation and intimacy with that person?

The other day I was talking with  someone who owed me money, but the topic didn’t naturally come up. In fact, there was something requested of me during the conversation and I knew if I didn’t say anything resentment would likely crop up. I took a deep breath, and put my request out there.  The earth didn’t open up and swallow me though I did feel rude and some anxiety rising in my chest, but to my surprise,  the response was positive and they seemed grateful for the reminder.

In a future blog, the influences that create anxiety will be explored, including the family rules and the underlying lies believed that challenge our resolve to become healthier, more honest and loving people. But next time you feel anxious, stop and wonder about what Parts of you are trying to change and what Parts might need some reassurance that the anxiety will pass and the potential benefit of living a more integrated life is worth it.


Who am I? Part 2

“We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other.”

When answering the age-old question, “Who am I?”,  we find there are different roles in different relationships (friend, daughter/son, boss, neighbor, in law, etc), and we even have different parts within ourselves. Have you ever felt, “part of me wants to do this, but part of me doesn’t”?

We each have different parts, different aspects of our personalities. In future blogs, I will explore some of the wonderful assessments that help define who we are and are not by how we learn and love, and what we value and want out of life. My favorites include the Myers-Briggs, which gives a framework of the four main temperament types, the Love Language test with the 5 ways we give and receive love, and the Enneagram a tool that highlights 9 different points of view and underlying values.

But today I want to focus on some of the Parts we each carry with us, like the Creative part, the Judging part, the Responsible part, the Loyal to family/tradition part and the Loving part. You might notice when next you’re clicking on all cylinders, lost in doing something that really engages you – that would be your Creative part. How about the times you feel ‘you should exercise’ (or stop eating, go to bed, not argue…), that would be your Responsible part speaking up. When you are hard on yourself, or feel let down or betrayed, most likely your Judging part is in the control room. When you feel life is worth living, or can see the other’s point of view, feel compassion or gratitude or connection – your Loving part is humming along.

For example, my Creative Part loves to learn and share stories like with this Blog, my Judging part would keep reviewing and editing the Post and perhaps never hit ‘publish’, my Responsible part wants to commit to some type of regular sharing, my Loyal to family tradition part is nervous when I talk about anything that invites conflict and my Loving part appreciates the opportunity to connect and share ideas of the mind, places in the heart and the mystery of the spirit with others.

Living and interacting in the workplace, at home and with friends, notice which part of you is most engaged. When you’re at your best, which part of you is stepping forward? When do others connect with you? Which part of you is rewarded, in which situations? Each part is important and tells us something about ourselves.

Next week – moving towards change, and how these different parts can gang up and make new action steps feel like mission impossible.

Who am I?

What is your current answer to this top ten-of -all-time great philosophical questions?

Which role or part will you describe? There are as many answers as aspects to each of us beautiful human beings, part saint /part sinner; physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, functional, vocational  …you get the picture.

I am a creative, perceptive, dazzlingly contradictory person – private but given to heartfelt sharing, curious and accepting but given to judging, artistic and moody but preferring a schedule and clearly stated expectations, open to new things but reluctant to let go of the past, musical to the bone but prefer silence to recharge, and on it goes.  Through this blog, more will be revealed but that’s the risk one takes when navigating the tribe vs. alone thing.

Thanks for joining this exploration.  This will be much like a river trip as seen in The African Queen, which (if the first few scenes don’t scare you off) was quietly engaging through the character study of two very different people who came to rely on, respect and deeply love each other as they faced life threatening challenges; from gunfire and swamp leeches to personal addictions and judgments, grief and deep personal loss as well as exhilaration (wonderfully visualized by Kate Hepburn’s character after surviving the rapids). It is a wonderful word picture for relationships in general and what we face in creating and cultivating them.

Welcome to this blog,  and your next step to better understanding the relationships in your life! Grab a paddle and let’s start navigating…