The Deep and Honest Work of Change

 

When we think about the work we want to do and the way we want to live, it’s important, on occasion, to take inventory of our progress.

And, because our community is VITAL to our emotional, spiritual, and financial health, we also need to reflect on who we attract into our lives and why we’ve put them there.

I’m working through a series of client relationship questions developed by Michael Port to help guide my thinking.

This morning, I answered this question, “. . . consider which characteristics (of others) you refuse to tolerate. What turns you off or shuts you down?”

And, I wrote,

• victim and martyr behavior

• manipulative people

• controlling behavior

• closed-mindedness

• intolerance

• entitlement

• tardiness

• thoughtlessness

 

My list kept getting longer and longer until I said to myself, “Geez, Jennifer Ann, there sure are a lot of things about other people you don’t like!”

And I have to add my wisdom to Michael’s which looks like this — I now know that whatever faults I see in you, I also possess. If I didn’t, I couldn’t be flummoxed by your behavior. I can’t recognize in you what I haven’t seen in me.

Cautionary Note!

If you are working this exercise through with me, at this point I want to give you an EXTREME cautionary warning – we DO NOT engage in spiritual inventory so that we can hate on ourselves or any way stoke the debilitating dis-ease known as “shame.”

Nope. So CUT THAT SH*T OUT if you’re doing it!

Moving on.

The reason we take an occasional unflinching look at our own behavior, strengths, and short-comings, is because doing so – when followed by a program of rigorous right action – transforms and FREES us.

The only way out is through. And the only way through is truth. (click to tweet)

But we temper truth with perspective, humor, and wisdom.

 

Okay, now for the GOOD STUFF.

I once had a great spiritual teacher named Carlton. Carlton taught me a whole LOT about living right. And one of the secrets he shared with me is the transformational power of longcomings.

What you saw above was a list of shortcomings – those I see in others and myself.

The miracle of longcomings is this: Once you identify your own shortcomings, you take a moment to reflect on their opposites. These opposites are the LONG-comings that are associated with each flaw.

When I see myself acting out on one of my shortcomings, MY JOB is to quickly acknowledge my wrong and then IMMEDIATELY switch my behavior from shortcoming to longcoming.

Thus, when I look at my list above (the one that lists the trouble with “other” people) I see that when I’m tempted to get off track, I need to behave in the following ways:

• When I feel victimized and martyred, I practice empowerment.

• When I see myself trying to manipulative others, I try being direct instead.

• When I am using controlling behavior, I practice letting go.

• When I become closed-minded, I open my thinking and my beautiful heart.

• When I feel intolerant, I reach for compassion and understanding.

• When I feel entitled, I practice generosity and self-responsibility.

• When I am tardy (which almost NEVER happens), I show up on time and prepared.

• When I am thoughtless (which, alas, happens more than I’d like), I turn my attention to thoughtfulness and a commitment to service.

 

This morning, I’m reminded that the things I don’t like in you are the things that still live in me. And with all humility for my rightful place as an equal to all people everywhere, I quietly put my attention on right choices and practice my longcomings.

These are the qualities I want to see in others – those I live with, those I work with, those I love, those I serve.

I aspire to be all that I hope to attract today.

Blessed be . . . and with deep love and appreciation, Jennifer.

This is where you commit to yourself and your One Beautiful Life.  It’s free.  And our updates will keep you in the flow!!

Photo: Flickr, us navy imagery

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Comments from the LAT Wisdom Circle

16 Responses to The Deep and Honest Work of Change

  1. Beth says:

    What a good way to turn negatives (shortcomings) into positives! Although, what may be a shortcoming to one person may be a longcoming to another. I, myself, am extremely (yes, obsessively) punctual. This is an area I’d like to “let go a little bit.” At least let go of being OCD about it. So would the world end if I were a few minutes late? But that’s another story :). Great article Jen!

    • Jennifer says:

      I predict the world would NOT end if you relinquished your hold on punctuality. Let’s live a little and give it a try!!!

      Jen

  2. kristi says:

    Beautiful Jen. I love this idea of listing out our longcomings. That was a true takeaway in my Craft your Comeback journey- enough beating myself up! It was truly exhausting to keep that long list of shortcomings always before me. And I agree, what we don’t want to tolerate in others is also in us. I’m making my list of longcomings in my journal time this morning. Thank you for this thoughtful exercise. You are a gift!

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh, Kristi, I REMEMBER that breakthrough of yours!!! You were so brave in your truth-telling and that was the tipping point!!

      Thank you for your inspiration.

      Jen

  3. Carol Hess says:

    “I aspire to be all that I hope to attract today.” Lovely, Jennifer.

    Your post made me squirm in my seat because I — ahem — can be a tad judgmental of others. I’m getting better, but I’ve got a way to go. Just last night, I went to a discussion group and was irritated by a few of the people for this and that and the other thing. I kept looking at the facilitator, who seemed happy and not at all irritated with what was going on, and I said to myself, “What is her problem? Can’t she see that this and that and the other thing is happening? She really SHOULD . . . .” The minute I uttered “should” in my mind, I knew I was offbase. Last night was not my finest hour. Now I know what I need to do about it, thanks to your message to us today. Thanks, Jennifer, I think! ;)

  4. Love, love, love! Last year was my gut check year to finally becoming a grown-up (and by grown-up I mean just finally being authentic and shedding my people pleasing tendencies)… what accidentally came out of this was some pretty serious issues with body image and self-deprecation… it’s a struggle to say the least but when I find myself in the pit of it finding a list of my “Longcomings” is EXACTLY where I go!

    • Jennifer says:

      Don’t you just love the layering of stuff that keeps us stuck in our stuff? Kudos to you for teasing off another layer (literally, in your case!!!) Kiss the babies, please. Jen

  5. CHRISSY says:

    “The only way out is through” reminded me of a quote from Winston Chruchill, “If you are going through hell, keep going”. It reminds me to keep going. ith awareness I can question myself as to why have I stopped, why am I looking around, why am I in this place that is not serving my truth.
    I have been working on how “others” annoyances (which are my own) can teach me and even bring laughter to my heart. An example is patience, when I get irritated at a situation not moving along as I feel it should, when the negative arises I silently thank that person or situation (I have even said it out loud) because when those “short comings are brought forth it is then I can check in with myself to see what is really going on and then positive thinking, action in my truth can take place.
    The laughter—when I here myself saying, “Damn me again”.

    • Jennifer says:

      You are so SPOT ON. The only thing I would add is a sense of humor when trying to make changes. These life-long defenses will not be undone in just a day or two.

      Jen

  6. Wonderful turnaround, Sister! I LOVE it!
    I may print this out and share it with my mom who is going through the grieving process after the death of my Dad. She is beating herself up daily about the ways that she isn’t coping well, mostly being forgetful and her brain ‘not working’. I have been trying to tell her that grief and change know the path that only they know and only they know the time it will take to get through it. She was married to this man for nearly 60 years and she thinks she should be ‘better’ by now!

    Once again Jen, you hit the nail on the head!
    Love your wonderful heart!
    Sandy

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m so very sorry for your loss. Please let your mother know that, after Grace died, it took some time before my brain was less scattered. Bereavement is a KILLER of a process. The best thing to do is just surrender to the wave and try to be kind and loving to yourself. I’m keeping you both in my prayers. Jen

  7. Hi Jennifer, I’m a fellow UBC blogger (who is also a day behind schedule). I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title of your blog, but I found this post thought-provoking. The process you describe, especially the short comings and long comings, reminds me of something I learned from one of my spiritual teachers quite a few years ago: Our wounds, or flaws, that are usually the places where we try to protect ourselves from some childhood injustics — those wounds actually become the unique flavor of our gifts to the world IF we are willing to do the work of transforming them. It’s a worthwhile process, in my opinion; I can’t imagine living any other way once I dove in. But I will tell you, from my vantage point on the farther shore of midlife, that the process is not limited to that particular life transition!

    • Jennifer says:

      I love the “farther shore” perspective. Thank you so much for taking a moment to share your wisdom with us, Susan.

  8. Diane Standish says:

    thank you for this-I am trying to internalize this post; I know it will help move me along. Again thank you for your wisdom.

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi, Diane. The last few piece have been about the deeper work of your joyful life. Be good to yourself as you learn new stuff.

      Jen

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