Our Only Option: Changing Ourself

So much of being a re-booter requires us to take action. Such actions include changing the way we respond to others, changing our interpretations of past events, or questioning our fixed ideas. In order to move closer to what we want, Re-booters take steps to shift our circumstances which then leads to more and greater change. In short, it can feel like a merry-go-round where we’re the only gerbils on the wheel. And, in many respects, this is true. We can only change ourselves—there is often little we can do to change our immediate circumstances and next to nothing we can do about the people around us.


But, despite all this, just changing ourselves accomplishes quite a lot because it transforms our experience. This, my friends, is the key. Because if I change my perspective on what’s important to me—if, for instance, your approval is no longer something I seek–then there is a domino effect for what happens next. I no longer am cowed by your threat of anger or disapproval. Thus, I may decide to do something entirely different from what I’ve done before. Do you see how this works? It’s really quite liberating!


I know that for me, in my life, I have chased after approval from various figures. I hungered for it, blossoming when granted and despairing if withheld. And, only when my Seuss-like world got so topsy-turvy and crazy making that I knew it was impacting me in a very negative and serious way, did I finally start to question if turning myself into a psychotic pretzel in order to win that praise was worth it. (Not totally dissimilar to an addict chasing after their next high from a drug dealer.) But, once I shifted my perspective on the situation and people involved, everything changed for me. I couldn’t change them or the circumstances, but I could change me. In the immediate aftermath, this caused a lot of problems, but, ultimately, this shift was my salvation.


And your point is?


My point is two-fold: 1) oftentimes, it doesn’t even occur to us that our life needs changing until circumstances get so atrocious that we despair, wondering what in the world went wrong, and 2) the spur for change can be anger. In fact, it most often is. Why would we change if we’re content?


I have always been taught to fear anger—the anger in me and anger in others. And, overall, I believe anger is a negative and dangerous force, but it can serve to propel us forward if used appropriately. If we have the skills to channel it. When a child is angry they hit: this is bad. When a re-booter uses their anger to recognize a problem and then decides to alter something in their life in order to eliminate or resolve it: this is good. But, what’s even more promising is what happens after you’ve made the change because now is the time to reflect and be grateful for what happened. It’s the chance to forgive and release the originator of the angering actions; if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be in this better, stronger, more knowledgeable place now.


One of the things we re-booters have in common is that we’ve all had our share of bumps in the road. We’ve struggled, we’ve been hurt, and we’ve made mistakes. Welcome to humanity. But, what distinguishes us from everyone else is that we recognize the power of change and we understand that the only person we can change is ourself. It’s a heady, sometimes lonely feeling concept, but it’s also non-negotiable: we are the only thing we can change. We can’t change our spouses or bosses or friends or the guy down the street. And they’re not gonna change for us. Our bruises and scars serve as reminders of where we’ve been and just how far we’ve come, but they won’t fully heal if we keep poking at ‘em. What prompts our need to change can come from a variety of directions, but whatever the source—even if it is anger—we need to respect this inner voice telling us something is seriously amiss. Our need for change doesn’t go away. We may bury it. We may be so fearful that we pretend it’s not there. We may blame others for the problem. But none of our rationalizations will make that pull subside.


What’s pulling at you?


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One Response to “Our Only Option: Changing Ourself”

  1. Jim Patterson Says:

    This is excellent Chrisanna. A home run today!! Good job!

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