This year, someone pointed out to me that I “trip out” a lot. She meant that, while I look like I’m sitting in the same room with you and participating in our conversation, I’m really also hanging out in my own imaginary ideas playland and just “phoning in” my conversation with you. Basically, I’m multi-tasking friendship and artistry.
Not always. But enough.
Now, there are a whole bunch of reasons why I developed this habit, and some of them are hard to talk about, and make me sound like a sad ass, so I’m not going to go into it. PLUS, in some very key ways, it JUST DOESN’T MATTER WHY YOU ARE THE WAY YOU ARE. What matters is what you are DOING about it.
For a long time – decades even – I thought it was REALLY INTERESTING to explore my motives. To analyze how I got a certain way. Or WHY I thought such and such.
But not anymore. Because it’s not strategic.
For the most part, knowing why you do what you do DOES VERY LITTLE TO ACTUALLY ADVANCE YOUR LIFE. It may be interesting to know that your tendency to attract crappy men or underpaying jobs is rooted in some childhood issue, but IF YOU WANT TO STOP CREATING HAVOC for yourself and others, you don’t REALLY need to know WHY you do the shit you do. You JUST NEED TO STOP.
Oh, I can hear some of you resisting this idea – well, just a tad. You’re reasonably replying that the conventional wisdom is that understanding is key to changing. But is that really true?
If you’re overweight, and you know that diet and exercise will make you more fit, IS IT TRUE THAT UNDERSTANDING WHY YOU OVEREAT has helped you lose weight? Nope. Putting the fork down. That’s what does it.
And if you can enumerate all the reasons why you are in over your head in debt and it’s because of your grandparents living through the Depression and then your parents were too afraid and that made you overreact the other way and overspend as part of a little rebellion and that’s how you got in this mess.
All of that MAY be the case, but the key to solvency is earning more than you spend. Period.
So you have to take ACTIONS to make changes. And at some point, self-examination is really just an expensive word for procrastination, fear and delay.
DEAREST BEAUTIFUL ONE – You are worth SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!
Truly, you are.
So let’s all take a little less time contemplating our navels and take just one small action a day toward a healthier you.
I’ll go first!
Here’s what I’m doing to be more present to the people I love:
I’m telling on myself. I’m a BIG FAN of just putting your whole sloppy self out there for people to see. Really, who are you hiding from, anyway? It’s not like people don’t notice when you’re all up in your own biz anyway. So, tell on yourself. Let people know that you know that, in this one small way, you kinda suck. Tell them you are actively seeking change.
PEOPLE LOVE this kind of humility. Believe me. It’s so damn refreshing to hear someone actually admit to their own humanity. And here’s a really cool reaction you are likely to get: Some of the people in your circle will be so struck by your integrity, they will actually jump in after you and tell you the ways in which they suck, too. (You probably already know what’s wrong with them, but be gracious and just enjoy the beautiful intimacy that comes from being real with another person.)
By the way, don’t lead with the chin. I don’t recommend revealing yourself in this way to your boss or your husband’s divorce lawyer or anyone like that. Just your closest, dearest, most trustworthy ones. (Don’t do as I’m doing, for example, and post about your peccadillo on the effing INTERNET for everyone to see for all time.)
I’m your MidLife Midwife. I kinda have to set an example. Plus, once you hold your baby while she dies most of your fears sort of vanish overnight.
Ask for Help. After you tell on yourself, ask for help making the change. Be specific about what you need and be sure to ask your loved one to be loving in their delivery, if they can. Say this, “Dearest One, I realize that I haven’t been as present as I could be and I want to change this and love you more. For the next few weeks, when you notice me seeming distracted will you please let me know?”
Ask for a progress report. After you have been working the new behavior for a bit, ask your trusted circle to give feedback on their experience of the new and improved you. The MOST important thing here is that, no matter what they say, DON’T GET DEFENSIVE. What people think about you is none of your business. You make changes to your character because it matters what YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF. Not what they think. Get really clear on that.
Love Yourself MORE for Trying. This kind of commitment toward honesty and integrity and humility – this aspiration toward Big Time character growth is not for sissies. Honor yourself for trying. Continue to love you like no one else can.
Life is such a gorgeous journey and PROCESS. Remember, we claim Spiritual Progress rather than SPIRITUAL PERFECTION.
Laugh more. Love deeper. Dream bigger. And put your big girl panties on and IMPLEMENT.
Love, Love, Jennifer