The next three behaviors I will discuss have a lot to do with the way you choose to hold space with others. When I speak of holding space: boundaries, comply, and reactive are ways we interconnect. By recognizing these behaviors, you can exchange them for their healthier counterparts, and grow new habits that offer deeper relationships with others and with yourself.
Boundaries is a word that is thrown around in our world with very little direction of what a boundary is and how to form them. Healthy boundaries might seem rigid for a codependent, because we oscillate from being strict to having no rules, to demanding boundaries and having none, and build up resentment because of the whole process.
I want to offer instead of making a list of your boundaries that you begin by developing the character trait of Integrity. What thought do you find yourself having when you hear the word integrity? How do you see yourself showing up in the world when you use integrity as your compass? When you come from integrity you are making decisions based on your principles and values rather than comparing yourself to others. Integrity is doing what you view as right regardless of what others might think, say, or do.
As a society, it is important that we communicate. We are communicating who we are through our actions even sometimes without saying a word. That is why for a codependent I want to use the word Comply as the description for our communication skills. Since we don’t know what we really want we just comply, even if later we feel resentment for not speaking up. I want to offer that instead of complying you can choose to decide. What thoughts come to your mind when you think of making a decision? I know growing from comply to decisiveness is a big jump so I want to offer that you can say things like “I am becoming decisive in my responses” or “It is possible that I can make a decision that benefits me.” When you choose to make decisions, you are cultivating your power that can help you become a more confident communicator.
When we are not clear on our boundaries and we choose to comply, then act in a reactive manner instead of listening to our loved ones. We respond with jabs and poor word choice and get into a defensive mind trap. Being reactive means we are not listening to the other person, or we are projecting our thoughts onto others. Choosing instead to show up with self-discipline will enhance your communications. you will begin to be less reactive and show up in ways that you are not trying to “prove” or “explain” anything. Being self-disciplined, you will have little need to raise your voice to get your point across, instead, you are open and receptive. Self- discipline allows you to take care of yourself as you allow others to show up any way they see fit.
As you work on replacing boundaries for Integrity, complying to decision making, and reactive to self-discipline your relationships will start to have more meaning to them. Try finding actions that you could see yourself taking when you are displaying these new behaviors. Communication is important and the clearer you become, the more you will be open to let relationships play out as they will. Developing Integrity, decision making, and self-discipline as character traits, and integrating them into who you are will slowly change the way you see relationships.
Learning to believe that the impossible is possible is just the beginning. As your coach, I can help you transform these traits into the inevitable you, and as you struggle in your growth, I will be right beside you. If you are ready to enhance your relationships, then let’s schedule your coaching consult today.
The beginning can be the hardest part of any process. Facing such behaviors as Obsession, Control and Denial can seem almost daunting. These three are the first behaviors needing to be unraveled because they are behaviors Co-Dependents often see in others but not in themselves. We don’t get rid of a behavior, we change it. Let’s explore possible ideas to replace these behaviors with new ones that will make the impossible seem possible and provide you a new viewpoint…if you are open to it.
Do you worry about things that have not happened and find yourself creating scenarios of “what ifs?” Focusing on others is a co-dependent’s Obsession. Ask yourself the question “What do I want?” If Your reply includes other people, or certain situations, needing to change so you can have what you want, or using someone outside of you as the excuse (“I can’t because of them”) then that is a sign you are portraying obsession.
Let me offer a thought, what if you try on Passion instead? Having Passion will increase your ability to see the good in others and help you focus on what you are creating in your life. What are you passionate about? How can this passion fuel your zest for life? Could it be possible that as you grow your passion you become open to allowing your loved ones to explore life as you explore yours?
Control is a sneaky one for us co-dependents as we “only want the best” for others and are trying to make it “all okay,” so we don’t see it as control. In fact, most of the time we see our loved ones as controlling us. My question here is direct and simple: why do you want to be in charge to make everyone feel okay and what power do you hold that you believe you can make people feel anything? Self-Awareness is a beautiful behavior to engage in as you explore the link between control to how you are showing up to your loved ones. Understanding that self-awareness is not a judgment on yourself but rather curiosity on how you might do things now that you are seeing it through new eyes. Asking yourself questions like, “Was I trying to be right? What would happen if I just listened?” will help cultivate more self-awareness.
Denial goes hand in hand with the other two, we will excuse the heck out of everything we do to prove to ourselves we are doing the right thing. This trait will and can stay hidden until you are ready to go after what you want and let go of others. We can become so good at giving our viewpoint and playing the victim. But, showing up and taking down the wall of denial can be life changing. Honesty with yourself is the best way to combat denial. Honesty is best when looking at a scenario from the viewpoint of an outsider and taking out emotions, body language, and words exchanged. Instead, try to focus on the topic—why the disagreement started and how you might see your loved one’s point of view; honesty, without emotions, so you just see the facts.
As you work on trading Obsession for Passion, Control for Self-Awareness, and Denial to Honesty, you may encounter some obstacles. Adopting new ways of thinking as you replace old habits is a process. For some, it’s an awakening and for others, it will take more time to see the change. The point of the journey is to break old patterns as you look for new behaviors that help serve you in finding your voice.
These thoughts and perspectives that I share as you trade one behavior for another are just the tip of the iceberg. Becoming open to the possibility that change, in you can happen, will help you begin to believe you can learn new behaviors. As your coach, I will help you find your way. Your sessions with me will bear fruit long after they are over. Let’s get your free consultation scheduled today so you can see how I help clients view their own thinking as they decide to change.
We practice so many things in our life; practice writing, practice medicine, practice piano, but do we ever arrive? The idea of arriving shouldn’t be a “deadline” to a result when practicing patience. It is an ongoing endeavor that takes time. Time is similar to patience, and I see the two concepts work hand in hand. Time can be scheduled, taken, captured, and enjoyed but time is always moving just as patience is never arriving.
When we say “practice patience” it truly is just that; you contemplate what is urgent and what you are willing to endure through the practice of being patient. I want to explore patience and time as it relates to relationships. How long will it take? How much time do I need to commit too? How many times do I have to say this to you? Our efficient brain wants to know the time it will take as if knowing the deadline on something will guarantee the result we desire.
You can make the decision that you want something else or decide that what you have is actually what you want. When it comes to the day-to-day relationship communications you commit to, you decide how to show up. You don’t get to determine their reactions or responses, but you do decide how you get to respond with patience.
Practicing patience is more about making a commitment to yourself than it is about committing to someone else. As soon as expectations are attached to practicing patience, whether it be time or action related, it is no longer patience but a tool for control to manipulate the situation, person, and outcome you want. I think about wedding vows we might make, “I, ____, take you, ____, to be my wife (or husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.”
Everything mentioned in this vow is all about what you are committing to, not what you are asking of your spouse. You each make the vow to each other and when your other half doesn’t live up to our expectations, we use it as ammunition to find fault. How long do you practice patience? According to the vow, until death do you part, or how I like to see it, all the days of our lives.
Where are you trying to arrive in your relationship? What do you think will be different when you get there? How much time are you willing to give it until you arrive? These questions again reflect back to patience and time. When you have decided to practice patience and allow others to be who they are, then your life choices have more measure behind them, and they may not be as difficult to make. When it is based on the happiness you have decided to create in your life, your relationships and interactions have very little to do with others and more to do with you.
There is much wisdom in those who have endured many of life’s challenges. Most would say it is communication, listening, and love—with a hefty dash of hope and faith in yourself. What I have observed when I look closely at their experiences is that they found happiness in appreciating the simplicity of life and all it offers. They are happy with themselves, so they never feel the need to look over the fence for a greener pasture.
Do you talk to yourself? Whether it is an internal or an external dialogue, we all talk to ourselves on some level. It is common and healthy to talk to yourself and can be really helpful when trying to problem solve in our day to day living.
My next question is how do you talk to yourself? Do you ever find yourself saying, “Oh, I always do that,” or say things like, “That’s just me being me?” We can easily think that these words are just simple and mean little to nothing. However, to your brain, these words mean exactly what you are saying and have merit. Affirming that your behavior now is proof of your past behavior and you are reinforcing a habit and allowing the past behaviors, whether conscious or not, to dictate your present and potential future thinking.
How many times have you told yourself you are going to change and then the next moment declare to yourself and others that “It’s just the way I am?” We can tell ourselves we are going to change but it might be challenging to accomplish when we reaffirm “that’s just who I am.” Deciding how you talk to yourself is deciding how you want to show up in the world. Creating inward confidence will only come when we allow ourselves to see the world as ever changing and give ourselves permission to change, too. Understanding you are going to fall back into old behavior until you consciously create new one.
I gave a few examples so far of little things we might say to ourselves. Might I suggest that you find just one saying that you catch yourself repeating and work on changing it by following these steps:
Write down the saying that you are wanting to change.
After you write it down examine the scenarios that you are in when this thought comes into your thinking.
Once conscious of the thought and what you are doing when thinking this thought, write down beside it something you believe, or are trying to believe, and say it instead.
Here are a few examples of replacing a current thought with a new thought:
Instead of saying that’s just the way I am you could say, I am evolving each day, so change is inevitable.
Instead of saying I always do this, you could say, it is possible that I can do this in a different way.
Instead of saying I’m such an idiot, you could say, sometimes I do silly things, but I learn from all things.
Envision the future you want and decide how your thoughts will help you create it. Our memory of the past is just that; a memory. It will take up as much space as we allow it to, just like our future thinking will create the energy that we need to manifest the results we want. Creating a habit of how we talk to ourselves gives us an opportunity to play a part in our own evolution.
Would you like to feel deep joy, the kind that once ignited will not go away? If you are willing to sit in misery you can feel that, do you still want it? Are you open and willing to allow sensations, and emotions to really feel deep joy?
I want to explore allowing and tolerating feelings, and “buffering,” or avoiding feelings. Emotions and sensations are how our body and brain talk to each other. Our brain does not know if something is real or imagined; what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is real and then our body has an emotional response to those “real life” sensations. It is important to understand that our brains are hard-wired to seek safety and comfort, as it tries to avoid pain and discomfort. Our brains will always want to offer us solutions that feel warm, cozy, and familiar. Memories play a vital role in assisting our brains to relate past experiences and those emotions and sensations to new experiences.
How do you know when you are avoiding a Feeling? Instead of sitting and being still to allow it, your inventive mind gives you the option to do something else, something that you might find familiar, a habit you have formed that gives you comfort, even if it’s temporary. Examples of distractions that your brain might give you are going for a walk, working out at the gym, eating comfort food, calling someone, drinking, smoking, cleaning, watching tv, getting on social media, and reading a book.
You might be asking, “Now, Angela, what’s the harm in cleaning or working out at the gym if something is bothering me?” Avoiding or buffering your emotions with distractions is not useful, even though you think you are being productive. Unresolved and uncomfortable Emotions want to be processed since that is how the brain and body communicate. If you feel the joy you embrace it and cherish it, so I am suggesting that if you embrace the uncomfortable emotions, they too will pass and be only a memory.
When a circumstance occurs and you have a thought about it, feelings arise, and it’s a feeling that you do not want to process. So, you choose your distraction of choice—anything to avoid processing what you are feeling. You are not building tolerance or awareness of that emotion instead you are doing what I call buffering with action, so you don’t process and allow the feelings to pass through your body. Once you begin and allow emotions rather than buffer them, self-awareness becomes sharper and you find yourself not reacting, but responding to life. Building up tolerance takes practice.
Once awakened to how your brain works, you get to choose how you want to pivot from this moment forward. Stopping and questioning your reasoning might be a good place to start. Is this real? What are the facts? Getting to the root cause and not putting on the band-aid could heal your soul on a much deeper level, causing you to begin to experience that deep joy life offers us…if we are willing and open to taking it.
It really doesn’t take too much to understand that we are always conditioning our behavior. Whether good or bad, that which we repeat will become part of the equation that in return forms who we are. A favorite quote of mine is as follows:
“Watch your thoughts; for they become words. Watch your words; for they become action. Watch your actions; for they become habits. Watch your habits; for they become your character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.” – Lao Tzo
The smallest things will make the biggest difference in our lives. Isn’t it interesting that instead of just taking on one small task at a time we start with a big goal and then wonder why nothing has changed? Failing to see the little changes that did happen because we are so focused on the big goal. Focusing on obtaining the end result will set us up to think we have no will power so why even try to change.
I’m going to tell you something that you might not have heard before. You don’t need to know what your end result is when you are wanting to begin. Ask any high school student what they want to do for a living and 7 times out of 10 they will be doing something different in 10 years from graduation. Knowing the end goal doesn’t declare victory, but Knowing, I want a career, or I want to lose weight is by all definitions a start.
I want to help you prove to yourself that it is possible to slowly show yourself that you have what it takes to start working toward your goals. For the next week, I want you to decide on one little thing to change and prove to yourself that you can create a habit that is important to you.
An example I am going to use is one most woman have attempted, the goal of losing weight. Realize I am only using this as an example, you can use the following concepts as you see fit for a goal of your choice.
Here are some suggestions for you to start this week:
Do some research on different eating habits and take notes.
Keep a food journal this week, not changing what you are eating, just writing it down.
Choose to make one meal this week something you have never made before.
Up your water intake daily for the week.
Creating the awareness around your habits might be an awakening for you. There is no need to jump into the latest fad; instead become an observer of your habits and let your conscience guide you to your next move for the following week.
One little thing at a time can make all the difference and having a weekly win can build up your confidence. As you prove to yourself that you can and are following through on your goals, your faith in yourself will grow. Telling yourself, “I am building my strength through small, daily successes.”
A gentle reminder for you: Because you are beginning something new, you could run into some internal dialogue or external input of resistance, or both. Be prepared to coach yourself through it and let yourself know that it is only a week and you can do anything small for one week. And if you find yourself really struggling, well…That’s what I’m here for. It would be my honor to coach you and walk beside you on your journey.