Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Gift Of Change

I have a date. It’s coffee and conversation, so not sure if that qualifies as a date or not now-a-days.  (It’s been almost 24 years since I’ve been on a “date”) So, naturally, what am I doing? I am overthinking it. I’m playing out what I think is going to happen in my head, building expectations that will only disappoint me later. Why? Because that’s who I am- I am an overthinker. But, one thing I have learned, is I don’t have to stay this way. I can change.
Change is a gift that no other living creature on earth has been given. A dog will always be a dog, a chicken will always be a chicken, and a cow a cow. But a human being can change for the better. To become someone better; greater. We just don’t take advantage of it like we should.
Whenever one of my children come to me with a problem, I always remind them that if they want a situation to change, they must be the first ones willing to change. I am not saying you should role over and play dead- know your boundaries. But also recognize what might need to change and take the steps to change it. Inside of every single human being is the gift of change. How many of us are too scared, to worried, or too filled with doubt to open it? We are afraid of change, not because of the change itself, but because of the unknown that lies behind it. We know the easy road, the road we are on now, this road is comfortable. I don’t have to take a chance. I can just sit here and coast. But is that really what you want out of life? To just coast?
We live in a world that is falling apart. Unrealistic expectations that we have placed upon others, and upon ourselves is killing us from the inside out. All because we are too afraid to change. We are too scared to take that step into the unknown and try a different path. We are so worried about what we might lose, that we talk ourselves back into the house, with a bag of chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of chocolate milk. Change is a gift. We can’t afford not to open it.
But how? How do we start to change? What do we need to do? The first step, and this is a lesson I apply to my personal life, as well as my professional life- you must recognize the need for change first. Identifying the problem is half the battle. The other half is owning up to it and taking responsibility for it. Wrong is wrong. Right is right. There is no gray or wiggle room. It either is or it isn’t.
If you make a mistake, be humble enough to admit it. Own up to it. Have some integrity and respect for yourself. If you deserve to be disciplined for your actions, then accept the discipline and learn from it. Take the necessary steps to change.
The second step is to start. Simply start doing what you know is right, what is kind. You know what you must do to change. And as for expectations- stop. Just stop. You will never live up to the ones you put on yourself, nor the ones others have for you. And no one will ever live up to yours. Because expectations are a figment of our over-thinking imaginations. Recognize them for what they are and make the changes necessary to stop making them the standard by which you live. Instead, live by another standard, a better standard, a peaceful standard.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. It is as simple as that. You want to see positive change in your life? You want to start gaining ground towards your goals instead of taking a knee to the chin every single day? Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you are raising your voice, flying off the handle at the stupidest things, or even if your words are hurtful, untruthful, or damaging to others- you are setting the standard by which they will treat you. You are telling them, “Hey, it’s ok if you yell at me- I yell at you,” or “Hey, lie to me again- it’s cool, I lie to you all the time.” You alone set the standard by which others will treat you.
Lastly, to really make a lasting change in your life, you have got to persevere. Persevere through the temptation to stray off this chosen path. You are going to have to face that temptation head on and stand your ground. There are going to be times when you are faced with the choice to tell the truth and own up to your mistake or lie and make the excuse. What you choose sets the standard by which that person will now treat you. Remember that when you are standing there, trying to decide what to do.
You must decide if the sacrifice of your pride is worth the change you know, deep down, you need to make. It’s your gift. It’s your choice. It’s your change. Don’t lower your standards, not even for yourself.