Moving on and creating a new self involves release. Often fear prevents change and that same fear takes from the ability to be truly happy. However, when faced with a choice and decision to improve the person you would like to be and more importantly who you are, it takes some early difficult assessments and evaluations.
Events that occur in life appear to create the person in the mirror. And yes in some respects that is spot on. Those early teachings, whether positive or negative, influence our every behavior, thought and action. The negative parts of ourselves instill fear and the need for emotional protection. The positive ones help to nurture us as we grow. Yet, we are not bound by those early experiences despite feeling as if it were so at times.
But for some there are fewer positive experiences or the negative were really traumatic, which overly developed the fear response. So our thoughts, behaviors, and actions can often become a trap. Especially when encountering a person that has a different persona and demeanor from the person(s) that inflicted the trauma. We have an inability to see their differences and attempt to fit them into the situational molds we have frequently encountered.
The best way I feel that I can explain the message of the week is to imagine an overly fertilized, under watered plant. No our behavior didn’t kill it but it sure was close. Able to recognize the terror it went through as demonstrated by the wilted yellow almost hanging by a thread leaves. The stem has changed from a vibrant alive green to a yellowish splotchy mess. Immediately the plant is moved to the closest window for some much needed sunlight. The soil is checked for the right consistency of moisture. Maybe even a quick Google search to make sure this time the right combination of water and fertilizer is used, or maybe no fertilizer is warranted with this type of plant. All the appropriate steps are taken as we watch the plant for weeks. Slowly we notice that the leaves are beginning to perk up and say hello as they always have, the stalk is beginning to take shape and look as if it can now support the rest of the plant. The green color is again healthy and a stunning bright green with no splotches. As we make headway through this series, imagine we are that plant.
Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives – Unknown
Fear is and will always be a double-edged sword. It is a familiar defense mechanism for most, yet it is hardly challenged. This week one must truly challenge the limits. What has fear stolen in your life? How have you been protected and simultaneously guided by fear. What would it feel like to be vulnerable and not attend to the fear?
Questioning the self is at the heart of change. Before changing behavior one must evaluate what that behavior has prevented you from and what would it mean to let it go. The authentic change will emerge from questioning in this manner. Change is less like “I dislike ______ about me and want to be ______” and more like “I dislike _____ about me and I will release the fear connected to being vulnerable in the respect of that behavior, thought, or action.” If you take the stance of the latter then the true self will emerge. You notice I did not replace one behavior for another. I took away the negative behavior and the self will automatically replace it with the realistic self.
Starting with a clear mind which was focused on last week one can begin with a clean slate. That clean slate mentality is the bases for the authentic self to emerge. Essentially it is the part of us without fear. The clean slate listens to our internal talk before fear has the ability to smother it. Whenever faced with a change situation it is vital to use similar steps as it will allow the self to emerge that you have repressed for the fear of being hurt, vulnerable, disliked or ay other negative emotion.
Remember that preparing yourself for change is just as important as the change itself. Think of this as the largest marathon you have run in life, or if you are me the only marathon. You will not be very successful if you decide that day you will run this marathon. But if you prepare for months with the right clothing, heart conditioning and stretching you are more likely to have success. Success is also measured by the self and not in comparison to others.
Choosing to flourish and release the fear of the past can be a freeing moment. Though releasing the comfort blankie will be scary by nature and fighting the fear will hold its own challenges. Keep trying and keep focus. Imagine your own damaged plant and what you hope it will grow into with the appropriate nurture and attention.