The Power Of Choosing
Most people, living in automatic pilot, do not see themselves as choosing their attitudes. They assume that whatever comes “naturally” is how they are. They fail to decide to decide. Do you fall for this trap? How does it feel to realize you can actually choose to foster attitudes toward yourself and others? Take several slow, deep breaths and experience acknowledging what you are deciding in your life at this moment. Notice what feelings come up as you become conscious of noticing what you are deciding. Remember Second-Order Feelings.
You can decide to be valuing and respectful toward yourself, or you can decide to be demeaning, negative, and judgmental toward yourself. You can also decide to be valuing and respectful toward others, or you can decide to be negative, defensive, demanding, and judgmental toward others. Not deciding is also a decision. Each of these decisions is really a dynamic continuum. The first step in becoming chooser in your life is learning to live consciously in the present. Share with me in your journal the different reactions you are experiencing as you embrace this “Nugget.”
In Therapeutic Coaching I help my clients learn to recognize what is happening around them, and also what is happening within them. They learn to carry a respectful, accurate, nonjudgmental lantern of Powerful Vulnerability. They learn to care more about learning than being right in an interaction. New Program provides the tools and attitudes that make healthy change the path of least resistance.
The “Nuggets of Wisdom” regarding the Fundamental Principles of Healthy Change that saturate this material, allow you to experience new ways of perceiving and reflecting on your process of change. These “Nuggets” and perceptions are a central part of Cognitive/Perceptual Reconstruction. Words have powerful perspectives attached to them that function at a subliminal level with most people. Take the word aware.
Most of my clients learned survival programs that translate being aware into being a boxer. Tension becomes an integral part of awareness. Picture a boxer in action. He keeps his muscles tight so the blows of his opponent won’t hurt as much. He looks for the best opportunity to hurt the other boxer and defend himself at the same time. He needs a break after a few minutes because it is exhausting to keep the isometric tension necessary for boxing.
In Therapeutic Coaching I show the client how to shift to the martial art of Aikido, away from being a boxer. In Aikido the person relaxes into feeling fully in the present, noticing everything and holding on to nothing, allowing the present to be fully experienced. There is no desire to harm anyone or anything. If someone attacks, then you will use their energy to protect them from hurting you. You add nothing to the energy, but rather direct the energy away from harming you.
The more energy someone attacks you with, the more discomfort they are likely to experience as you deflect their attack. Rather than coming from fear “trying to protect yourself from harm,” you can come from the healthy desire to “protect the other person from harming you.” There is a significant difference between the two approaches. Which feels more natural for you where you are starting – being a boxer or using Aikido? You can learn to shift your perspective to increase your healthy power.
One important area of choosing is teaching your environment how to treat you as you are changing in your recovery. Your environment will often resist your changes because it is not used to them. A helpful tool in teaching others how to respond to you is called the Four-Step Assertion Technique: Share with the other person what you are wanting from them in a respectful way; next, share with them with a firm tone what you are wanting and why you are wanting it; next, let them know with a firm voice that if they are not willing to respect your request, what your response will be. For example, “If you continue to yell at me, I will end this conversation.” Finally, take the action that was stated in Step 3.
People often keep saying the same thing over and over, feeling a growing resentment that the other person is ignoring them. They wait until they are very hurt and/or angry before they blow up; exploding toward the other person in a way that either drives the person away or makes them feel guilty for getting so upset. People unconsciously know when someone really means what they are saying; for example, children will often ignore the first five or six times their parent says something to them, waiting until that certain tone appears before responding to the parent’s request.
It is your responsibility to choose who you truly believe yourself to be, your core identity. You can choose to believe that you are defined by your mistakes and rebellions, or you can choose to see yourself as a new creation even when you are messing up and slipping into Old Program patterns. I choose to believe my identity in Him does not depend on how well I’m doing at any given time. I choose to believe that I will always have His loving relationship, no matter what happens in my life, no matter how far I may fall away at any given time.
I often hear clients trying to convince me they don’t have time to do their homework. They see homework as something to be done in a set place and time. Often a major part of Therapeutic Coaching is helping clients make the paradigm shift that allows them to see homework as living consciously in the present, owning the truth that you are responsible at any given moment to be chooser in your life. You can either choose to be becoming in a healthy direction, or not choose to choose to be becoming in a healthy way.