Transforming ourselves + embracing change

May 21, 2014

The other day I watched the ever-inspirational writer Jeff Brown talk on video about transforming ourselves.

He reminded us that our real hot spots are the issues and patterns that keep coming up again and again–THOSE are the things we should be paying attention to. He’s right.

Of course, immediately I thought of people I know who either consciously or not repeat the same unhealthy patterns. Over and over and over.

But then my thoughts drifted to my own life and whether I, too, had issues and patterns that I repeated, whether in relationships of any kind or even at work.

Of course I must have them. But what are they? What do they mean?  Have I grown past them or do I still have work to do?

Worse, was I guilty of magical thinking? Believing that “it would all work out” without my having to do a lick of work?

Jeff’s pretty direct in sharing his own experiences and the wisdom born of them.

“We’re not going to change anything living in our fantasies,” he said.  “That’ll serve us for a while, but not long-term.”

The “good students” among us go after growth and embrace change. But you and I both know people who are way more comfortable in their dysfunction than is healthy and who simply will not make the effort to transform themselves.

The big stumbling block, I believe, is the concept of “owning our stuff.”

healingcomesfromtakingIt’s super-hard to reveal our stuff to ourselves, much less to anyone else. But it’s a necessary first step to owning it. And own it we must, if we are to grow.

Jeff pointed out that “owning our stuff” doesn’t mean we have to shame ourselves as so many do when they hear criticism of any kind, including their own about themselves. It simply means that we take responsibility for those things and do our part to expand and mature past them.

People like to talk about their journey, their path. We hear it all the time. But as Jeff so aptly points out, the path appears when we own our sh t.  Because no one else can deal with it but ourselves. Period. As much as we’d like to avoid taking responsibility for it, it’s the only way to really transform our lives.

Yes, of course, I’m talking to specific people I know. In all probability they will never own their stuff and never transform. They’re getting up there in years and I see no sign of it, although hope springs eternal. And that’s the sad part. Because when we don’t move forward on our path, we never get to achieve our purpose. And that means we’ve got to come back and do the same damn shi t again.

The fear of which, by the way, is probably the only thing that keeps me on my own path, constantly asking myself the questions and working to grow. As hard as it is.

Because I sure as Shakespeare don’t want to come back and do all this again.


27 comments on “Transforming ourselves + embracing change
  1. Yeah, it’s hard, but gosh, owning, learning and growing is just that. xo

  2. Very true words. I am quite sure I repeat several patterns over and over, but the difference is that at least I’m aware that I’m doing it, can catch myself midstream and try to respond differently.

  3. kim tackett says:

    Carol, I love the part about owning your own stuff….and that’s not shameful, just what it is!

  4. So true, Carol. My husband and I talk all of the time about “owning our stuff”…which we both waited till late in life to own. So our goal has been to have these discussions with our kids…all three in their twenties now…and help them see patterns they need to be aware of and work on. These are healthy discussions to have with adult children as well as with ourselves.

  5. Laura says:

    One of the most exciting things in life is change; especially the change that takes place inside our own beings. Owning our own stuff means to hug it, kiss it, and say good bye to it. That stuff gets us to the exact place we are when we own it. No need for shame or guilt. But it’s ok to experience a little bit of grief, too. That stuff was probably protecting us from other more toxic stuff.

  6. I’m moving, moving, moving! Sometimes I don’t feel like I get very far!

  7. Ellen Dolgen says:

    I find that people who take responsibility for their own actions are more apt to grow and expand their horizons. If you blame others for your life than you live your life powerless! Thanks for this great post!

  8. Hi Carol….call me crazy, but I actually kinda like looking at my stuff and then “owing” it! What I’ve found is that the “internal” journey to know myself is more exciting and adventurous than just about any other trip we can take. Of course it helps that my husband is also into the same journey as well. And I find other people’s motivations, habits, thoughts and ways of being equally interesting too. Like I said, call me crazy 🙂 ~Kathy

  9. Karen says:

    It’s an ongoing struggle, isn’t it? I do know what you mean about people who seem perennially incapable of even seeing, let alone owning their own stuff. People who moan and groan loudly about how others have done them wrong, or how they’re held back by this or that internal demon…which they can talk about, but cannot seem to actually see or deal with. People who blame others for “destroying their lives” without noticing the path of destruction they’ve left in their own wake.

    While I strive for compassion toward people like this, I find myself tuning them out…or unfriending them. Which is ironic, given that many years ago I recognized that one of my major life goals is to be more compassionate.

    And so it goes.

    • I’m a work in progress with that compassion thing, too. But compassion doesn’t mean we have to stick around. I think it’s ok to say “Oh, that’s what you’re about? I am moving on.”

  10. Jessica says:

    Very well written post, Carol. It’s taken me most of my adult years to learn how to stop repeating the same patterns and expecting different outcomes — certainly a tough lesson to learn.

  11. Owning our part in every single event in our lives is the only path to freedom.

  12. Laura Kennedy says:


  13. Lana says:

    This makes me feel better. I think I’ve owned it, now I just have to work on fixing it!

  14. Diane says:

    The world in general doesn’t want to own their stuff any more. Everything is someone else’s fault or responsibility. A sad statement. I try to own it, but probably, at times, slide into the same behaviours. Sigh.

  15. What a great post. I was reading this and listening to one of my siblings sitting here at my kitchen table whining and crying that his life is always “so hard”. He moved in with us two weeks ago. He lives here rent free, he eats here free, he showers here free. He wanted to move here to “start over” and be closer to family. While I will give anyone a hand if they need. I just realized reading this how many times I have heard these same complaints about his life. Over and over. He gets up and leaves with the gas I put in his vehicle (until he gets his first paycheck, he did get a job immediately). Now he is gone and I have to cook the dinner, clean the house, and take care of mom who is all agitated because now she will focus on him and his problems for the rest of the day. Funny thing is, I don’t know who has the problem. Him for always being a screw up or me for taking care of it. I’m just tired. So sorry to vent, your post didn’t speak to me it screamed at me. Thanks for that.

  16. Barbara says:

    Love this and it is so true. Really love the quote.

  17. Megan Walker says:

    Oh I so totally agree with this. There have been two issues in particular I had to face and mature past over the years. It’s not fun, but my life is happier because of it!

    Thanks for sharing on Hump Day Happenings : )

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