Counseling was a weekly challenge to my life views. There wasn’t a single part of my life that wasn’t pushed to the max during counseling. I continue the process. Before jumping to the idea that I am suggesting you doubt yourself, I learned to challenge long held beliefs.
If you always do what you always done then you will always get what you always got. ~Henry Ford
I am working with the Fashion class at school. I am wondering why I haven’t taken the beautiful fabric that I already own and make myself the beautiful clothes I know I can do. (I used to sew professionally for theater. Not much I can’t produce if I choose to.) I kept wrestling with the thought; what was holding me back? Today, I hit on the long held belief that is my stumbling block. Beautiful people are mean. Where did I get that weird thought from? Then I thought about the movie/book “Devil Wears Parada.” The whole movie centers on the intensity of the fashion business and the meanness of the boss. But is it true?…..”Are beautiful people really mean or is it a perception from an experience from my past?” This is what I am talking about when I say I challenge my views.
How does this apply to the theme of Coping Christmas? Christmas is one of those days that are steeped with traditions and beliefs held from childhood. Without challenging long held beliefs, they roll along like armored tanks crushing everything in their path demanding that they have their way. Stop. Do you really like baking 30 dozen cookies to take to the neighbors? Is there a reason sending Christmas cards is a royal pain? Do you absolutely have to go to every party you are invited to? Can you have a tree without decorating it or maybe just have lights on it? So much changed in my world during counseling that I tended to cling desperately to ideas, beliefs and traditions that may not be helpful to me. Challenging my own long held views gives me an opportunity to ask myself several questions:
- Do I even like doing what I am doing? (Or is it just a habit that I am doing on auto pilot because I always did it?)
- Does it meet a need I am otherwise ignoring? (Paying attention to my needs is a serious challenge. Too long I put myself last in everything. Part of the question is listening to my own needs.)
- Do I feel better or worse after I am done? (During doesn’t count for me since I tend to put my head down and plow through. I need to evaluate after I am done.)
- What can I do to change the activity to better meet my needs?
I don’t need to do this with every single thing I do but those items that seem to be disrupting or keeping me stuck where I don’t want to be. I still miss having a counselor to sound off ideas and explore some of these ideas but I learned from my counselor how to do this for myself. Sometimes I just think about it for awhile. Sometimes I need to write the pros and cons about a belief. Sometimes I need to do my own research and find out more about what I am doing. I am thankful that I now have a variety of tools to help me restructure what I am doing with my life.
Or you could……