When you want to improve your life, where do you start? How do you go about it?
Many clients have come to my office wanting to be out of the pain they are in and desiring to experience more happiness. They arrive with many different presenting problems and we always look at the superficial solutions to those symptoms. But there is always something underneath that we can discover which dictates their sabotage or repeated failures in life. It’s usually about their excuses.
So, whether they come in for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or a relationship, we look at the underlying causes, the excuses, and the patterns that began in childhood which do not work so well in adulthood. So often we learn beliefs and behaviors when we are two, three, four or five years old that do not work quite the same when we are 30 or 40. This is the stuff of therapy.
For those of you who are reading this who are not in therapy and who do not wish at this time to begin such an adventure, I’d like to offer you some things which you can do on your own which will give you insight into your core beliefs and help you clear unfinished business of childhood and early adulthood. I also want to help you stop your excuses and start being successful in the areas you have avoided. I also want to help you forgive yourself and others and get onto the business of loving – loving yourself and loving others.
If you are in therapy, this will help you in working with your therapist. It may give you an outline for self-help work or you may pick and choose what you and your therapist think will help you with your particular issues and patterns. If you are in coaching, it will also help you to work with your coach on what you do to excuse and sabotage your success.
Where to start?
What makes you mad? What can’t you stand? What drains you or zaps your energy? What causes you pain? What are you guilty about? What would you like to change in your life? These questions about negative influences in your life or negative reactions should shed some light on where you can begin.
Start journaling about these questions. You might separate them into items or issues or people or situations. When you are writing about them, just let your thoughts flow and your feelings get expressed. Be sure to indicate what happened, who did what (including yourself), who had less than respectable behavior?
What did you do that was a mistake or wrong in some way? What did others do that was a mistake or wrong in your opinion? How did you feel or how were you affected by what happened? How do you think the other people involved may have felt? What good came from this? What good could come from this if you determined that it would?
What action do you have to take to compost this experience and make it a learning experience in your life rather than a drain because of negative emotions? How will you take this action? When will you do it? Who will know about it? Who can give you recognition or praise about correcting this lesson in life?
Whenever you have a negative experience or something that has affected you in a negative way, try to identify your errors, the others’ errors and what you can do to correct it. Also identify the lesson in it for you.
Find a way to become grateful for the experience and feel and express your gratitude. It might take you a couple months to get over the anger or hurt. It is important to get over it. It’s important for you to move past this place to a place of acceptance, understanding and even gratitude for having an opportunity to learn and grow.