Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Eat, Pray, Love says, “One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.” If you expect this in life rather than trying to keep things the same, you will remain armed against disappointment. I have read every book on the market about life falling apart from Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser to When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron and the overwhelming spiritual theme is that you must seek growth when things fall apart. Seeking growth is actually the path to finding your authentic self. You actually have a choice not to be a victim.
We are wired to view things as bad or good. When we sort things or events quickly, our perspective will follow. If bad, I’m a victim and this is hard . . . if good, I will learn a lot through this and will eventually end up in a better place. If we are growth-minded, we will transform every day so we will eventually quit beating ourselves up over what we did yesterday. Your Big Voice mindset must include endless waves of transformation. All you need to do every day is show up with good intentions and try your best.
Transformation Isn’t Easy
It is much easier to do this when things are status quo. Things are great at work, your relationship is wonderful, your kids are doing well in school; you want them to stay the same. But then BAM; you are fired, feel lonely, the kids are struggling, or someone close to you is diagnosed as terminal. All you want initially is to turn back time. You start suffering or getting down on yourself; maybe if you had done something differently. You now stop taking care of your health because chocolate or wine (or both together) makes it so much better. Your job suffers because you are distracted, your kids or partner cease being a priority and you become obsessive thinking about this problem. If you look back at all the bad things that have happened to you or around you in your lifetime, you probably didn’t celebrate them but rather distracted yourself in a negative way.
The minute I invited uncertainty and change into my life as welcomed visitors rather than the pesky person I didn’t want to see, my true transformation occurred. Life and its unpredictable situations became my teachers. Old triggers and preferences disintegrated under my new mindset. When something went wrong, I just grew closer to God and maintained hope. For example, if something went wrong at work, I would ask myself, “How can I grow? What is the opportunity for improvement?” If something went wrong with my kids I would ask myself, “How can I prepare more? How can I accept their moodiness more without taking it personally?”
We cannot have a perfect life void of problems or change, so the more you adopt transformation as a normal part of growing, the easier it will become. You can rise up against self-pity if you learn to sit with discomfort and become more patient. Too many people believe “you just don’t understand” when they switch into victim mode. They cannot rise out of their suffering and remain hopeful. They feel like they are the only one in the world with problems. Of course, as you consider this and also take inventory of all the bad ass people out there that have survived horrific situations from sexual to physical abuse, to extreme poverty or genocide where their entire families were killed and still have ended up on top, it’s just our mindset or way of looking at things that explains the difference.
Once I became crystal clear that I would spend eternity in heaven after this world, my life became easier. I viewed my suffering as a way to grow deeper in my relationship with God. I quit complaining and found gratitude in every problem, trigger, or day I had fear or anxiety. I now wake up every day knowing I can reprogram myself to see life differently. In addition to my prayer time I also review my goals and mindset every day. This includes things like I am ready for this day and I am armed against whatever problems or disappointments it brings. I also review my I Am statements, which include things like I am patient, or courageous, or at peace. After doing this for years, I can tell you it works.
You can transform the way you experience life. You must learn how to manage your thoughts better or they will overtake you. A simple place to start today is to just ask yourself every time you are facing something difficult, “Are my thoughts and emotions from faith or fear?” It will help you start being more selective about what is guiding you. You have a choice. You are more powerful than your thoughts!