Have you noticed how many reality shows there are that deal with making change: Change to you house, change to your cooking, change to your appearance, clothing, and childrearing. It’s like America is obsessed with change so much that the promise of change is what got Barack Obama and Donald Trump both elected President. Change can be good or bad and may not necessarily be the change you might be hoping for. But the one constant about change is that it is happening with or without our input or permission. Change happens.
In the book, Take Your Life Back, authors Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed. and David Stoop, Ph.D. share their thoughts about change and how change can benefit the lives of many if they are proactive in the process of change. They compare a life based on our “true self” (hidden within), with living a life based on lies or a “false self,” which we present to the world in hopes of receiving acceptance and approval. They refer to this false-self as, “arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” because eventually it will end in disaster and does nothing to fix what is really wrong. We try to change the outside of ourselves so that other’s will have a better perspective of who we WISH we could be, because we know that if they knew who we REALLY were no one would want to be with us. The problem with this approach is we will become LIKE the people who we are trying to impress, and they may not be any healthier than we are. This is how “peer pressure” works and leads not only young, impressionable teens into temptation, but also adults who have no knowledge of who they really are.
It is also important to recognize what you can change and what you cannot. Often in our attempts to gain acceptance and approval we try to get the other person to see our perspective, which may not have anything to do with reality. When the other person does not agree with our flawed perspective, we can become argumentative, defensive, and even abusive as we press the other person toward compliance. Relationships fail all too often because of this rigid thinking and desire to change others rather than change ourselves. Only with compromise, boundaries, and a willingness to consider another’s perspective can healthy change and true acceptance occur.
Alcoholics Anonymous groups are very familiar with a poem about change called the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
If you find yourself being rigid, or in the company of a rigid person and are reacting to their lack of flexibility, call Encouragers today. We can give you a clearer perspective on your efforts to fix what is broken and help you move toward a healthy remodeling for your life.