Recipe for Repeated Transformation by Tori Bradford
So, you’ve experienced transformation in some area of your life, you say?
Have you ever wondered what to do when life gets “hard” again?
When you hear people talk about transformation, it is easy to think that life is perfect and they’ve finally achieved all the things they ever dreamed of. While it’s true that life has the potential to seem SO amazing when you transform areas of your life, it does not mean that the story ends there.
My husband and I have experienced transformation in most every area of our life...our marriage, our working relationship, our parenting skills, our relationships with our kids, our view of challenges and how we work through them, our life’s work, and the list goes on and on. It truly is incredible when we look back and see where we came from to where we are now. BUT, life still has its challenges, we still fight, there are still blind spots that we do not see in ourselves but do see in the other person, we still have the same confusions we used to, and that list goes on and on as well.
The other day I had one such moment. Just as I heard myself say “life sucks and my husband never shows up for me!," I realized that a beautiful opportunity had just presented itself. You see, I’ve experienced desperation (also known as depression) my whole life so, when I hear myself say things like “life sucks,” I can tell I am headed back into the thick of it and it’s time to start interrupting. If I’m willing to show up, it is yet another area of transformation waiting for me.
So, how does a person stay in transformation even when you don’t feel like it? Well, I’m glad you asked, because I have a recipe to share with you!
Step 1 - SEE THE OPPORTUNITY: The first step is to recognize that you might be letting yourself believe old lies again. When I heard myself say “life sucks and my husband never shows up for me,” I could see that I was headed backwards and believing old judgments. (Or, sometimes they seem like new judgments!) It takes time to find your “trigger words,” but I promise you they are there. If you don’t know what they are, start listening to yourself and observe what you repeatedly say when you are frustrated, especially if you notice the words “always” or “never.”
Step 2 - EXPLORE WHAT IS COMING UP FOR YOU: Next, it’s helpful to figure out what you are feeling, what you are thinking about, and what’s occurring for you. Ten times out of ten you are feeling something deeper than the words coming out of your mouth in a moment of desperation. What is it? A huge resource for this is journaling. Whether by hand or typing on something electronic, journaling is hugely beneficial to get this stuff OUT of your head and through your fingers. It doesn’t matter what format you use; it’s simply the act of letting yourself express what you are really experiencing in that moment of desperation, anguish, frustration, or turmoil.
For me, desperation came up as my husband and I are facing a new project. We believe we’ve had many “failed” projects in the past, and I believed we were heading into another one. It felt like he was already giving up on this one, and I was not willing to go through that again.
Step 3 - GET HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE CHOOSING TO BELIEVE: Once you’ve identified what you’re feeling, what you’re upset about, or what feels so terrible, you can meet those concerns where they are and get clear about whether they are true or not and find out how they are affecting you. Identify what you believe is true and then let yourself get curious about its validity. What if that thing you believe isn’t actually true? And, if it isn’t true, then how could you show up? What if it IS true….then what would happen? Gaining clarity on your judgments is a HUGE resource for interrupting them and experiencing transformation in the midst of depression.
For me, I recognized my judgment which said that my husband has not changed and “he will leave a huge mess for me to clean up in the middle of this next project just like he has left me with messes before.”
So, I asked myself, "Is that absolutely true? “No," she says sheepishly.
"If it isn’t true, how would I show up?" “Determined, sensitive, willing to help, excited about the project at hand."
"If it IS true, how would I show up?" “Pissed off, frustrated, ready to quit, angry at everything he does.”
Step 4 - GET CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: Once you’ve identified that your belief might not actually be true, then ask yourself, “What else is possible?” I realized that my husband might actually be scared, yet he was still determined to show up in a new way to this project. Wow! All of a sudden, I was willing to offer him grace in place of my anger and clear boundaries in place of my feelings of being overwhelmed. These are both gifts to him, and the shift began to take place.
Step 5 - MAKE A CHOICE: Now is the time to ask yourself, “Which way is better?” Do you want to show up in the same ‘ole way with the same ‘ole beliefs? Or, is it a great opportunity to see if something else might be true?
There is no magic formula for experiencing transformation in your life, but these steps are a great recipe to get started. The most important ingredient is a willingness to get curious during each of these phases. Showing up positioned and fixed on your anger is a big enemy to transformation. Believe me, I’ve learned that lesson myself.
Friends, the beauty of transformation is waiting for you to embrace it again and again and again and again. This recipe is sprinkled with a pinch of grace and a heaping cup full of curiosity, and it will be delicious!
As always, know you are not alone in this journey. The Beautiful Outcome team is only a call, email, or comment away from walking with you!