Are you experiencing challenge? Are you uncertain? Afraid? Struggling with feelings, decisions, past traumas? Maybe you want to experience something different or something more? Perhaps your relationships are not as you wish. Sometimes relief from anxiety, depression and traumatic events result in addiction. It could be you are not addicted, but you love someone who is struggling with addiction. It is plausible you don’t know what is wrong, but you know something isn’t right. It is reasonable to expect family relationships, (marriage, parenting, parent-teen, blended family dynamics) are challenging. Whatever it is, in my experience, remaining stuck results in more misery. More misery results in further pain. The result is an endless circle that spirals downward toward unhappiness, dis-ease, anxiety and depression.
“Challenge brings change” “Nothing grows in a comfort zone” “Be comfortable with discomfort”
The above statements have, at times, been referred to as “Nikki-isms” from social work students I had the privilege of teaching. These are statements I have suggested to others throughout the years, however I humbly admit – it is much easier to say these words than to live them.
My parents taught me I could accomplish anything I was willing to work hard for, and for the most part, that has been true. What I struggle with is learning to let go of the outcome and living with feelings of anxiety that result from constant thoughts of, “what if”. My thoughts go something like this….”Challenge brings change….but what if I can’t handle the challenge, what if the change isn’t good? What if I am so uncomfortable, I fail? What if I can’t handle the change? What if the change is too much? What if I fail? What if I make the wrong decision?” When these thoughts wake me in the night, my brain continues down this line of thinking and sleep is impossible without re-framing, mindfulness and remembering to trust the process and let go of the outcome.
Life has brought ample opportunity for me to make decisions that always came down to choice. Do I allow fear to keep me in familiar and unchanging circumstances, or do I feel the fear and lean in to the possibility of something more? Infertility, divorce, unrelenting self-criticism, depression and anxiety, addiction and shame are all life challenges I have experienced. So many times I wanted to throw the bed covers over my head and hide. But those hauntingly familiar statements always come back. Challenge. Growth. Discomfort. They all bring change. And without change, we don’t grow. And without growth, we remain stuck. It’s taken time, but I have learned to turn, “what if I can’t” into “what if I can”. The results have brought unimaginable gifts to my life.
We know when something is wrong; the difficulty is in figuring out what to do about it. In order to change external circumstances, transformation needs to occur internally. Anytime I have needed change in my jobs, relationships, life circumstances, the change has always started with me. When we change the things we look at, the things we look at change. The great news is we don’t have to do the work alone…then again, why wouldn’t we want help along the way? If you are ready to create change in your life, I welcome you to ‘Be The Change’ you want to see in the world.