14 Moves to Get You Out Of Your Way

Sometimes it’s circumstance that sticks to our potential like molasses, weighing it down and making it hard to move forward. More often though, the biggest obstacle in our way is ourselves.

It’s not necessary to make grand, sweeping changes to make a difference. When one thing changes, other things have to change to reset the equilibrium. It’s human nature to always seek balance and ironically, the best way to find balance can be to unsettle things for a little while and force the change.

Here are some places to start. Try experimenting with one or a bunch of them.

  1. Find your boundaries. Now sharpen them.

    Imagine a bold heavy underline at the point where you end and the rest of the world begins. Be clear about who you want in and who you want out. You can’t always choose the people around you, but you can choose how much of their ‘stuff’ crosses into your zone. If there’s any chance of it draining you, ruining you or shrinking you – it’s out. And perhaps they are too.

  2. Trust your own judgement.

    No two people live from the same script so difference and disagreement is inevitable. Nobody knows what’s best for you, better than you. Listen to the wisdom and advice of others but when all is said and done, there’s something in you that already knows the answer. 

  3. Love hard. It’s a superpower.

    Be emotionally generous to those who deserve you. Don’t stay with people who drain or damage and when someone is worthy of your love, respect and admiration, give it freely and abundantly. Appreciate them. Acknowledge them. Adore them. Few things will make a bigger difference.

  4. Don’t take anything personally. (Because seriously – what if none of it’s about you.)

    People will react the way they do for so many reasons and often none of them will have anything to do with you. There will always be people who judge, criticise and condemn – because of who they are, not because of who you are. We’ve all made stupid decisions before but we all have a right to be wrong sometimes. Look at situations, people and reactions objectively, rather than taking them personally. 

  5. Let mistakes be opportunities – not a shame incubator.

    There are plenty of ways to learn. Mistakes are one of them. Approach failures and mistakes as an opportunity to to learn. Look for the lesson, learn it and move on. Mistakes are a fertile training ground to give you the resources, wisdom and experience to get you to where you’re going. 

  6. Get to know who you are (when the world isn’t telling you who to be).

    We wear so many hats – mother, partner, daughter, sister, friend, colleague. Take time on your own, away from the noise, to stay in touch with who you are when you aren’t somebody’s someone. Of course who you are in relation to other people is important but being connected to yourself gives way to understanding what you want and who you are when you don’t have to be anything – or anyone – to anybody. 

  7. Problem? Nah. It’s a challenge and it has its own reward. You’ve got this.

    What if you knew without a doubt  that at the end of every problem you would be wiser, more capable, more resilient, bigger and bolder than the person you are now. Problems can be opportunities or the fuel for complaints, whining and excuses. They can expand you at the edges or keep you stuck as a victim of circumstance. Ultimately it’s up to you.

  8. Accept others as they are. Or walk away.

    Everyone has a story to tell and when you understand enough of a person’s story, that life starts to make sense. Don’t judge someone else because their chapters are different to yours. That said, not being judgemental doesn’t mean accepting everyone into your fold. Not everyone will be good for you. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good people – though sometimes they aren’t – but sometimes people don’t mix. If you can’t accept someone for who they are, or if who they are feels bad for you, walk away.

  9. Try something that scares you (in a bold, ‘I can do this’, exciting kind of way).

    Growth involves finding our edges and pushing a little further beyond to see what’s there. It’s the lifeblood of creativity, adventure and the sometimes breathtaking off-spin of courage. Staying too long in your comfort zone has the potential to entrench you in a rut. Likewise with your relationships. Don’t try things only to succeed. Try things to learn, discover and unfold – regardless of ‘success’. 

  10. Be deliberate about who you keep around.

    Choose the right people to be around. It’s been said that we are an average of the five people we spend the most time with. People have the power to reduce or expand our flight, depending on who they are, and how much we’re prepared to compromise. Some compromise is important. Too much is crippling. Choose wisely. You deserve people who think you’re wonderful.

  11. Just decide.

    When there’s a hard decision to make, it’s easy to avoid making any decision at all for fear of getting it wrong. Remember though, making no decision is still making a decision but you’re not fully in control of the wheel. Have faith that any decision you make is made with as much vision as you had available to you. Just decide and have faith in your capacity to cope with whatever happens next. Only then can you start moving forward. 

  12. Let go of the need to be right.

    There’s grace, strength and an abundance of wisdom in owning your mistakes. Be ready to admit when you’re wrong – with strength, not with defensiveness. Mistakes are how you learn but you won’t learn anything if you’re whipping yourself on the back for not knowing better. 

  13. Be patient.

    Good things take time. Impatience often leads to giving up before the time has come. Know that you have what it takes to succeed, and that the path might be unpredictable. It might be longer, windier and with more dips than expected but that doesn’t change where it’s headed. Know the end goal is still there, however long it takes to reach it.

  14. Make sure you’re understood. Then be comfortable with disagreement.

    Do whatever is necessary to be understood. Messages don’t always land as they are intended. Make sure you’re able to tell the difference between a misunderstanding and a disagreement. If it’s a disagreement, don’t it personally. If it’s a misunderstanding, clear it up. 

And above all else, be brave.

2 Comments

pam

Hi karen, Yup, it’s me again. First let me say I didn’t mean to write such a long letter on that reply to you, but I guess it was time to start letting some of this out of me. I usually go back and edit what I write, but I knew if I did that, I may not have hit the send button.

Many things you said above have hit home with me and again, I want to thank you and ask you how you got so wise? You know your stuff kid, you really are genuine and good for you!
You are going to be helping a lot of people with your wisdom, have no doubt.
Number ten kinda hit me between the eyes and actually I believe that was happening with me and it’s not that I intentionally ran off the people in my life, but I started seeing things that I didn’t like and not accepting stuff that I normally used to do. I think also when i started to wake up and realize that I was actually allowing people to use me and that it was not them, but me who had to do something about it, that might be when my husband realized that I was changing as well. Because shortly after that realization, he started getting very mean, and was pushing himself in my face and he would rant forever on how lousy a person I was and it started happening more regular and more intensely, until I talk him he needed to sit down, he was scaring me, pounding on the table and right in my face and I realized it was probably going to be my face if I didn’t nip all this in the bud right now. So, he left for a job out of state and when he was done with the week or so silent treatment, I told him not to come home, not until he was coming to get his stuff because if I saw him coming up the road I would call the police. And to make a long story shorter, he got very contrite and convinced me once again he loved me and was going to try to change. And I let him come home and we were good for close to a year. I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall and it didn’t and I started to feel like maybe it was safe and of course I let my guard down. I was so happy and thought finally, we may make it after all. But then it all went to hell, he had to keep me off balance, and I think you probably know how it came down, I had to make a stand and he realized he wasn’t going any further with me so he told me he never loved me and all that crap and here we are now about two month later. I”m in the house, he lives in the shop, and he thought this would work but it’s not working for me because I can’t get on with my life and I know we can’t work anything out now, and just the last few days I frankly do not want to try anymore. SO, whew, I did it again and sorry but it seems like it is just pouring out of me now. I want to live again, I want to be happy and I’m getting very close to being ready to start a new phase of this battle, scared as I am, I’m not backing up anymore, it’s my time and I deserve some happiness by gosh.

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Turenne

I love this article about how to get out of our way!
I say Right On to all 14 moves and need to quote this:

“It’s not necessary to make grand, sweeping changes to make a difference. When one thing changes, other things have to change to reset the equilibrium.”

So true!

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Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’
I love being a parent. I love it with every part of my being and more than I ever thought I could love anything. Honestly though, nothing has brought out my insecurities or vulnerabilities as much. This is so normal. Confusing, and normal. 

However many children we have, and whatever age they are, each child and each new stage will bring something new for us to learn. It will always be this way. Our children will each do life differently, and along the way we will need to adapt and bend ourselves around their path to light their way as best we can. But we won't do this perfectly, because we can't always know what mountains they'll need to climb, or what dragons they'll need to slay. We won't always know what they’ll need, and we won't always be able to give it. We don't need to. But we'll want to. Sometimes we’ll ache because of this and we’ll blame ourselves for not being ‘enough’. Sometimes we won't. This is the vulnerability that comes with parenting. 

We love them so much, and that never changes, but the way we feel about parenting might change a thousand times before breakfast. Parenting is tough. It's worth every second - every second - but it's tough. Great parents can feel everything, and sometimes it can turn from moment to moment - loving, furious, resentful, compassionate, gentle, tough, joyful, selfish, confused and wise - all of it. Great parents can feel all of it.

Because parenting is pure joy, but not always. We are strong, nurturing, selfless, loving, but not always. Parents aren't perfect. Love isn't perfect. And it was meant to be. We’re raising humans - real ones, with feelings, who don't need to be perfect, and wont  need others to be perfect. Humans who can be kind to others, and to themselves first. But they will learn this from us. Parenting is the role which needs us to be our most human, beautifully imperfect, flawed, vulnerable selves. Let's not judge ourselves for our shortcomings and the imperfections, and the necessary human-ness of us.❤️
The behaviour that comes with separation anxiety is the symptom not the problem. To strengthen children against separation anxiety, we have to respond at the source – the felt sense of separation from you.

Whenever there is separation from an attachment person, there will be always be anxiety unless there is at least one of 2 things: attachment with another trusted, adult; or a felt sense of you holding on to them, even when you aren’t beside them. 

If separation is the problem, connection has to be the solution. The connection can be with any loving adult, but it needs more than an adult being present. Just because there is another adult in the room, doesn’t mean your child will experience a deep sense of safety with that adult. This doesn’t mean the adult isn’t safe - it’s about what the brain perceives, and that brain is looking for a deep, felt sense of safety. This will come from the presence of an adult who, through their strong, loving presence, shows the child their abundant intention to care for them, and their joy in doing so. The joy in caretaking is important. It lets the child rest from seeking the adult’s care because there will be a sense that the adult wants it enough for both.

This can be helped along by showing your young one that you trust the adult to love and care for your child and keep him or her safe in your absence: ‘I know [important adult] loves you and is going to take such good care of you.’ This doesn’t mean children will instantly feel the attachment, but the path towards that will be more illuminated.

To help them feel you holding on even when you aren’t with them, let them know you’ll be thinking of them and can’t wait to be with them again. I used to tell my daughter that every 15 seconds, my mind makes sure it knows where she is. Think of this as ‘taking over’ their worry. ‘You don’t have to worry about you or me because I’m taking care of both of us – every 15 seconds.’ This might also look like giving them something of yours to hold on to while you’re gone – a scarf, a note. You will always be their favourite way to safety, but you can’t be everywhere. Another loving adult or the felt presence of you will help them rest.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to say or whether to say anything at all. It doesn’t matter if the ‘right’ words aren’t there, because often there no right words. There are also no wrong ones. Often it’s not even about the words. Your presence, your attention, the sound of your voice - they all help to soften the hard edges of the world. Humans have been talking for as long as we’ve had heartbeats and there’s a reason for this. Talking heals. 

It helps to connect the emotional right brain with the logical left. This gives context and shape to feelings and helps them feel contained, which lets those feelings soften. 

You don’t need to fix anything and you don’t need to have all the answers. Even if the words land differently to the way you expected, you can clean it up once it’s out there. What’s important is opening the space for conversation, which opens the way to you. Try, ‘I’m wondering how you’re doing with everything. Would you like to talk?’ 

And let them take the lead. Some days they’ll want to talk about ‘it’ and some days they’ll want to talk about anything but. Whether it’s to distract from the mess of it all or to go deeper into it so they can carve their way through the feeling to the calm on the other side, healing will come. So ask, ‘Do you want to talk about ‘it’ or do you want to talk about something else? Because I’m here for both.’ ♥️
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