Chapter IV – The Costs of Being Better
I am Jude. The forth entry in my blogging journey considers some of the things that you may have to give up or experience in your efforts to Break Free and Be Better.
Generally, when we are trying to create or eliminate habits we focus on the things we are trying to change, the benefits we are hoping to achieve and the process we will undertake to get there. For example, you realize you need to lose weight, you commit to taking off 10lbs and you start walking until you accomplish your goal. Then on one of the walks, you smell pizza….
There are costs associated with any form of change. A personal investment is required to create a new outcome. Most times we convince ourselves that we can’t afford it before we even try. We envision the price as simply too high.
Losing Pieces of Yourself
Change mandates that we challenge how we define ourselves – and that is extremely uncomfortable. For instance, giving up alcohol isn’t simply a decision to stop drinking. It mandates giving up the persona and provisional confidence it provides you with. Sobriety affects how and where you socialize and oftentimes, alters your interactions with friends and family
The thought of giving up an important part of yourself can be overwhelming. Most times these feelings manifest themselves in disruptive negative feelings to forestall any change. Our minds mount a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo and hang onto these perceived pieces of ourselves. We are confronted with RESISTANCE.
If we could only convince ourselves that walking through the fire is part of the change process….
A good friend shared a phenomenal quote that has provided me with inspiration. I have remixed it a bit but the concept is the same. Our breakthroughs are on the other side of difficult. I believe it’s a metaphor for life and I love its simplicity. You have to move through shit to Be Better. The payoff requires persistence!!
The Impossible Balance
For most of us, the work/life balance doesn’t exist. There is never enough time to complete the countless tasks and fulfill all of the important responsibilities we assume in our lives. It always seems like you are being pulled in a thousand different directions.
Just the thought of adding anything new or changing any established routine results in alarm. It threatens the security of your ‘perceived balance’. Internal defences are triggered. RESISTANCE begins highlighting the time and energy required and all of the reasons you shouldn’t and probably couldn’t do something.
If I am going to be honest, I am experiencing difficulty trying to meet all of my current commitments while pursuing new, shifting priorities. I NEED to spend more quality time with my family and I’m attempting to be more invested in some of the other roles that I already occupy.
At the same time, I also have to acquire new professional skills, business fundamentals and everything else associated with being self-employed. There is never enough time, and that results in stress, internal tension and strained relationships.
Starting new habits and replacing negative behaviours results in another significant personal cost: Comfort. The way we live and the thoughts that direct us serve a purpose – The GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY. They allow us to function, to get through the day and to keep it together.
Any disruption to being ‘comfortable’ is met with immediate RESISTANCE. We are assaulted with justifications, counter-arguments and the worst kind of sabotage – our own.
We convince ourselves that ‘comfortable’ fits and feels good. Our mind encourages us to chill. It creates long shadows of self-doubt and uncertainty. These negative feelings become close companions and entreat us to remain ‘comfortable’. They discourage optimism and challenge belief.
To overcome RESISTANCE, we have to understand and anticipate it. Change requires courage, a reallocation of time and resources, and negotiation with the people you care about. In doing so, we are forced to make difficult decisions and give up things, and sometimes people we care about. That’s tough…
Side Hustle Update
The crash course continues. I am embracing the idea of ‘just in time learning’ and am engaged in exploring self-employment through the internet, podcasts, blogs and Youtube. I also know that skills associated with leadership, writing and organizational change are relevant and transferable so I continue to listen to books about personal development and Being Better.
I have made some great connections with some local entrepreneurs who have offered support and direction. People genuinely want to help and firsthand knowledge and experience is invaluable.
I am trying to stay focused and patient. I am constantly reminding myself that the process takes time. As long as I remain deliberate, steadfastly committed and continue to believe, I am going to be straight….
Your Next Best Read – Between the World and Me
An essay from a father to his teenage son about what it means to be an Afrikan man in America. The book explores race, identity and systemic oppression. It’s an easy read, it’s riveting and impossible to put down.
Positive Reflections – What’s Good?
The Gift of Being a Grandparent
Becoming a grandparent has been amazing. It has exceeded all my expectations and has been the best kind of blessing. My wife and I have the added benefit of daily contact, regular drop-ins and overnights, but they are never enough.
Time feels like it is somehow accelerating. The Cubs are now four months and three and half years old. Just the thought of her brings a smile to my face and I drop everything as soon as I hear him say the word ‘Papa’. They provide me with perspective and make everything better.
Grandchildren bring a unique energy into a home. They fill rooms with life and laughter. They demand your complete attention and create havoc. They leave behind a trail of toy parts, sticky floors and disorder. However, the moment they are gone, it feels like there is something missing.
Having grandchildren has also allowed me the opportunity to observe and support my daughter as she experiences the ups and downs of motherhood. Shout out to you Mama!!! You are doing some big things. Holding it down from Monday to Thursday while managing a breast-fed newborn and a toddler, who loves the word NO – and likes to say it with his chest. I see how difficult it is and I’m very proud of you!
It also makes me happy to see the unique relationship between my grandson and his father. They are inseparable and I appreciate the central importance of that bond.
An unexpected benefit of having grandchildren has been the opportunity to reconsider parenting. Many of the ideas I possessed twenty-five years ago, as a young African Nova Scotian father, no longer feel appropriate. I now believe that yelling, time-outs and physical punishment are ineffective and damaging disciplinary strategies.
I espouse prioritizing the emotional and developmental needs of your children. Gentle parenting works for Afrikan people too! Believe it! And I say that despite the occasional block to the forehead or slap to the face from my grandson. It takes patience, belief and commitment – but it feels right.
My grandchildren remind me of the long forgotten yesterdays of parenting. They are miracles that brighten my life and bring me joy every time I see them. They truly inspire me to Be Better. I am Jude.