A lot of people simply do not like change, and yet change is inevitable. We grow up. Our children grow up. We get older. There is not a thing we can do to stop those things from happening, aside from girding our loins, doing our level best to roll with the punches, and slathering our faces with the best anti-aging skin care products we can afford. Still, time marches on and if we have acquired enough healthy coping mechanisms we learn to accept these changes, even if we do not completely love them.
Maybe it is because change scares so many of us so badly—the changes we cannot control–that a lot of us seek out constant changes elsewhere. We change our wardrobe, hair color, jobs, cars and our cereal in the constant pursuit of something new that will make us feel new again, for a minute maybe. Of course, all of these external changes do not change a thing. Most of us are hurting inside somewhere. I am not excluding myself from “us.” I am right smack dab in the middle with you.
As I have mentioned before, I have an inspirational page on Facebook. I started it because Running From Hell with El said that I should, and in some rare fit of lunacy, I did it. I like my page, and I love the people who I have met on that page, but more and more, the Book of Face is hiding what the people who follow my page get to see. They hide what I post so badly that fewer 5% of my “fans” (I HATE that term) see my posts. This is because they want me to cough up a heck of a lot of money to promote each and every post and I just will not do it. Sorry Charlie, er Mark… So, here I am knowing that spending an hour a day scheduling my page is a waste of my very precious time, not because I do not care for the people who do see my posts, but because I have bigger fish to fry.
I have a book to write. (I know exactly what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Yeah, that is what they all say. They are going to write the next great novel, but it will either never get written, or it will be garbage.” My book will get written and it is going to be a knock out, I assure you! One of a kind! Seriously…) It is right up there in my noggin waiting, but it is not going to fly from brain to page without me doing a little work. That hour I spend on my Facebook page every morning should be spent writing. Lord knows I have been told that a time or two, but I simply hate to be pushed. It a nasty habit, but the more I feel that I am being pushed, the more I will push back. I am also one of the best procrastinators alive.
I still have comments from last week’s blog post that I need to respond to, and it is not because I do not want to respond, it is just that sometimes someone says something that I need to think about. I need to chew on it before I respond, and because I have terrible TMJ, this chewing can take me quite some time. This is also why I do not chew gum, or eat Grape Nuts anymore. There is just too darned much jaw popping to make it worth my time and energy. If you make a comment after someone has made one of those comments I need to chew on, you will have to wait until the prior comment has been thoroughly masticated to death before I can get to the back log.
By that time, I feel so badly for not having responded sooner that I get paralyzed. Last week, Renee A. Shuls-Jacobson suggested that I let go of the mess, and start sharing the message. At the same time, Livvy at Real Manure told me that she had quit Facebook all together, that was the jaw breaker, because that has been on my mind quite a lot, and then Stephen at Life Revelation said something really sweet, and I have a hard time taking a compliment, so there I sat, stuck. I am still sitting…
Here is what I know about all of these behaviors. They are all based in fear. I hate to be pushed because, even it is the opportunity of a lifetime, something about it scares the daylights out of me. I will put off doing something that will benefit me greatly because something about it has me scared silly, and oftentimes, it takes me a while to figure out what it is that is scaring me. I have put off scaling back on my Facebook page in order to write my book because something about making that decision has scared me beyond rational prioritizing. At first I thought it was because I did not want to let anyone down. That has pretty much been sorted out to all ego. Then I did not want to appear to be a quitter. I am so good at not quitting things that no longer serve me that is has almost killed me many times over.
I am not the only person who does these things. I see it all of the time in my line of work. I clean houses for elderly women and nearly every week now I get a call from someone who has been unable to keep up with their home for some time, but they have been scared to ask for help. By the time they call me it has gotten so bad that they would sooner drink paint thinner than try to tackle it themselves. They are embarrassed that they let things get so bad. I go in and within a few weeks, it is manageable and they are unstuck and much happier. I am sure that I am not the only one that sees this sort of thing. I imagine counselors, and clergy, and doctors, and even lawyers see this thing all of the time, too. People are put off making good changes because they are scared and embarrassed and there is that pay off thing, too, that Todd Lohenry mentions. When I was getting my B.S in nursing and doing my psychiatric rotation, we called it the secondary gain.
Todd is right. There is always a pay off. If we choose not to make beneficial choices to change it is because the pay off, or secondary gain, is too great. What is a secondary gain? It varies from person to person. Some people do not change because they like feeling like a martyr, or they like to be felt sorry for, or they like to blame the world, or make excuses, or they thrive on feeling miserable and angry. People will come up with all sorts of rationalizations not to change. “So and so would be crushed if I..” or “I have tried and it just did not work,” or my personal favorite, “That will never work.” I like “That will never work” the best because at least it is true. It you do not try it, it absolutely will not work and you are 100% right. So, we all stay stuck until we realize that we would rather drink paint thinner than go on as we have been doing, when all the while we have been happily drinking the grape Kool-Aid of justifications and rationalizations under their various pick-your-poison guises.
I have not wanted to embark on my book because I am going to have to type out some incredibly painful truths. I now know that I am not going to heal fully until I type out those painful truths, so I am going to do it. It is not going to be fun, and I know this. Only two people know this, but after some of the blog posts I write are done I cry for a good half an hour or more. It is all good, though. That is healing. That is release. Imagine all the tears that will be shed writing an entire book! Don’t you fret now! For every painful truth I reveal, I promise to counter each one with a lot of hope and inspiration, and at least one hysterically funny story. It will be the- you will laugh, you will cry, you will become a part of it-sort of book. And it will be based on a true story, too, because I do not write fiction. No more grape Kool-Aid for me, thank you very much.
If you are stuck in a web of pay offs and secondary gains, the first step is to figure out what your pay off is, and why you are scared of giving it up. The second step will make itself clear once your sort through step one. If you are trying to heal from childhood trauma and have seen counselors before with no forward progress, please try again. As Scott Williams points out, some counselors are just not good, and let me double that for psychiatrists, especially the ones who prescribe medications primarily. I was told in nursing school that psychiatrists would be the weirdest doctors and people who I would ever meet, and that was the stone cold truth.
If you are thinking, “But my counselor/psychiatrist is super sweet and nice and he/she cares about me,” let me tell you a secret. A counselor can be super sweet and nice and care about you and still stink at their job. I had a psychiatrist who I absolutely adored. He was one of the rare 2% of psychiatrists who was a nice, down to earth, regular guy, and funny, too, and he cared about me one heck of a lot. He also had me drugged out of my gourd on nine different medications for years for bipolar disorder, which I did not have then, and do not have now. You see what I am saying here? Super sweet and nice count for something, but progress counts for a lot more.
If you are stuck in a bad relationship, get out, please. You will make it. You will be fine. You will survive. You will be happy again. Also, since I am handing out advice like Tic Tacs tonight, if you do begin the divorce process, do not expect to get 100% of what you want, no matter how jerky the other party may be. Aim for getting 50% of what you want. It is called being realistic. Maybe you will get lucky, as I did, and get 80-90% of what you wanted, and then you will get to be all overjoyed and so on, but start with realistic.
That is another thing about Facebook. Poster after poster telling us to aim high, set the bar high, reach for the stars, and most of us end up curled up in the fetal position in a huge pile of expectations that were too darned high from the get go. If you are already thinking to yourself, “This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever” you need to step back and plan on having a good Christmas, because we could all benefit by letting good be good enough. Word from your mama.
If you are also wanting to remove yourself from the Book of Face, try reading some blogs. Facebook is like a soap opera. You could be gone for a year or two and nothing would have changed. It is true. I was in prison for six months with no Facebook and when I logged on after my release all I had missed was some birthdays and 100,000 Farmville requests. (I no longer play Farmville! You can stop sending me requests now. It has been well over a year. I also have no interest in Bubble Safari or Lucky7 Slots.)
Reading blogs provides fresh content daily from all sorts of different perspectives. I am very fond of Journey Through the Chrysalis, Waiting For the Karma Truck, Morning Story and Dilbert, Tracie Louise Photography, Reflections of Life Thus Far, Roots to Bloom, and Teacher as Transformer. That will get you started and this is a healthy mix of reality and lovely and pictures and prose and all good things. There is another thing that I do not write. I do not write poetry, because I end up sounding like Dr. Suess, it is a good thing I am about to let you loose, because this paragraph is nearly the caboose. You see what I am saying? Uh huh, I thought so. Oh, one last thing….
Earlier this week, Yoga with Maheshwari nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I am very thankful for such a gift! The rules were to thank the person who nominated me, which I just did, and to tell you seven things about myself, which I belief I have done within the body of this post. I am also supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers, so if your name is hyper-linked and mentioned within this post, tag, you are it! Do with it what you will. You did not even see that coming did you? You would have run sooner if you had, but I got ya! Yes, I am a sneaky one…and I probably did not hit 15 bloggers, but I am tired. Now go. Make some changes for the better! Yes, there will be pain, but I promise you will not die. Yes, there will also be tears, but no one ever died from crying, although I am admittedly behind on a few seasons of House, M.D, so if I am mistaken, please accept my apologies and do the crying anyway. You will feel better. I can almost guarantee it!