How can I change?
“I want my daughter to feel better about herself than I did growing up. But how can I help her with that if I don’t feel good about myself?”
These are the words of a single mom who had become painfully aware of the destructive toll her anger and immaturity were taking on her daughter. I understood her painful question to mean there was a glimmer of hope for her relationship with her daughter. The weeks of therapy had created an awareness and an uncomfortable level of pain that lead to healing for her and, ultimately, a better, more encouraging environment for her child.
The next question necessary to answer her question is “How can I change?” Fortunately, she had discovered an important truth about relationships. If you want to change the way you relate to and affect others you must start with yourself. “How can I change?”
This mom had become aware that she was repeating the painfully destructive parenting she had experienced growing up. Though very successful in her professional job, she was failing miserably with the person she loved most. She desperately wanted her daughter to grow up with a more positive view of herself and others.
The truth is that you cannot teach your child something you don’t have deep inside yourself. Unkind parents do not raise kind children. Undisciplined parents cannot raise disciplined children. Self-centered parents cannot raise children who will care about others. Who you are is what you really teach your children because your actions express your core values. You cannot separate who you are from the way you “parent” your child.
Whether you are struggling with parenting issues, your marriage, your boss, or other issues, one relationship principle is unchangeable; the only person you can change is YOU.
The following scriptures identify the fact that the way we live proceeds from attitudes deep within us. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Jesus states the same basic idea in Luke 6:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
One of the most consequential choices we have in life is how we deal with our pain. If you choose to live in the pity and pain of what has hurt you, you will likely be miserable and destroy your relationship with all those you love. This was the path the single mom was going down and she became painfully aware of where this was going. There is a better choice, one this mom was willing to make.
The other choice is how to use the pain to heal and to give you a new heart and a new way of living.
Do you need a change of heart? This kind of transformation is sometimes referred to as “conversion.” It is often a painful process that puts you face to face with who you have allowed yourself to become. It is a choice to turn your life over to God to begin the healing process which you cannot accomplish on your own.
So, the answer to the question comes down to this. Choose, and decide what you want to be healed about yourself. You may decide to gather some information through reading or talking with a wise confidant before initiating a plan of action. I encourage you to examine the claim of Jesus and trust him as your savior. Whatever you decide to do, own the decision and live with it. Don’t blame others; it’s your decision.
The final step to changing directions is to act. The change process begins with pain which creates awareness. If the awareness is keen enough it pushes us toward a decision about how to deal with the pain; to cover it or deal with the underlying, deeper issue. So, get a plan which will deal with the real problem. Determine some steps you will take to change and act on them. You may stubble from time to time and need a course correction. But if you have done your homework well and are willing to take a disciplined approach over the long term you will find that you are a better person for your effort.
Don’t give up; change is difficult. God loves you and wants to help you have a better life, and better relationships. He will meet you at the point of your effort. Change is a process that usually takes time to correct old habits. Don’t give up. It has probably taken years for the problem you’re dealing with to develop. It will take time to change course but taking responsibility for yourself is an exhilarating and rewarding experience.
Is there some aspect of your life that is not okay? If so, why is it this way? How did you come to this place? What’s going to happen if you do not address the issue?
Are you really okay with letting things go, to play themselves out? If you’re not okay with it then decide on some responsible course of action and do what you can. Problems don’t just go away. You may not resolve the issue to your complete satisfaction but you will have the peace of knowing you did the best you could.
You may have come to the end of this series of blogs a bit disappointed and frustrated because I haven’t told you what to do about your exact, personal challenge. Why did I not do that? There are a couple of reasons for the lack of specific suggestions about what you are dealing with. First, I don’t know or have specific information about you and the problem you are dealing with. Therefore, I cannot be more specific about your situation. The second reason is, even if I knew the details and had a fair amount of understanding of your challenge, I would not tell you what to do. Why not? Because, while I may suggest some options or directions for you to consider, what you choose to do or not do is your responsibility.
Hopefully, the outline of the steps to change I have provided will guide you to make decisions that will serve you well. I’m including this link on making good decisions that you may want to review as you consider the next step in your change process.https://www.cosdavis.com/6-reminders-about-good-choices-a-checklist/
A prayer for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ