These words echo in my mind since I heard them yesterday. And with that phrase, I also hear, “the only way to get through it, is to go in it”. Challenges. They’re what define us. Shape us into the people we are in this present moment and ready us for what we will become.
I met someone yesterday who challenged me and my first instinct was to run away. It was a new therapist and when he questioned my way of thinking, I thought to myself, “How dare he question me on myself?! I am, after all, the expert on myself aren’t I? ” After years of therapy, I thought that I was pretty insightful about myself. This man had instincts though and he knew I was stuck. Stuck at the front of going through it, so I could finally get out of it.
Shortly after my session with him, I had no choice but to go in. Head first, balls in. Here was my ultimate challenge facing me and with those words in my mind, I’m trying to be active in the present moment so that I can have a better future. And the end result of that, is that as you create better memories from being in the moment, you start to make a better past.
So, I asked myself, how am I going to overcome this challenge? What am I going to do differently so that I can succeed? I’m smart, a problem-solver and I know how to be creative. I’ve just got to look at this from a less emotional point of view and more like a competition. I’ve always been competitive and what better opponent than my own self? Because after all, it’s really my own fears and insecurities that’s keeping me from defeating this challenge.
I came up with four steps for myself to remember as I go into battle. Maybe they can help you too as you face challenges in your life.
1. Know your enemy. Learn to listen to yourself and when you hear your other self wanting to give in or run away, remind yourself that it’s really fear talking. It’s that hurt little girl that doesn’t think she’s brave or strong enough to get through it. Defeat fear by looking at the evidence. You have gotten through other challenges before and made it through.
2. Define your boundaries. Set the rules of the game of what you will tolerate and won’t and stick to it. When you hear your other self saying that it’s ok for others to violate your boundaries or treat you with disrespect, that’s shame talking. It’s that hurt little girl who doesn’t believe she’s worthy of being treated with kindness.
3. Call on your team. You’ve worked hard to surround yourself with good healthy people that want to see you succeed. Let yourself rely on them. When you find yourself withdrawing or isolating, that’s sadness talking. It’s that hurt little girl who feels lost and empty inside and needs nurturing.
4. Take timeouts. Facing a difficult challenge requires hard work, strength, and a great deal of resiliency. Taking time to nurture yourself is critical so that you can endure the storm. When that little voice tells you to stop caring about yourself, that’s allowing guilt to take over, as you prioritize everyone else ahead of yourself. That’s that hurt little girl who doesn’t think she deserves love.
This is my plan. I have to remember that plans can and do change. I cannot control the actions or behaviours of others and part of successfully overcoming a challenge is the ability to be flexible and adaptable to situations as they arise. If I can try to remember these four steps, it will be a good start.