Change Doesn’t Have To Come In Giant Steps
Are you tired of being tired? Are you sick of living the way you’ve been living? Are slumbering and lumbering your life away in sadness, and misery, but you’d like something better? Do you wonder if you ever will be happy?
I am willing to bet that many of you would answer “yes” to some, or all of these questions, and if that’s true then I have something to say to you because I have answered “yes” to all of these questions, sometimes as recently as yesterday, or a couple of days ago, others, six months ago. Whatever the time, it doesn’t matter. What matters, in the end, is are you strongly desiring a change in your life, and how willing, really willing, are you to do the things necessary to bring about some of those changes in your life that you say you want, but for some reason they haven’t happened yet because you keep sabotaging yourself by letting things slide into oblivion until finally you are confronted with one big messed up situation – financial, marital, professional, spiritual, personal, etc.?
How do you change under such heavy opposition? Well, two words – “baby steps”. Do I hear some guys saying “I ain’t know baby, so fuck your “baby steps!” to which I respond, “OK, I know you’re not a baby, and I’m not saying you are one, or have to be one to get a handle on whatever threat, or monster you’re trying to control – could be drinking alcohol, taking dope, living in a messy house (I still have this problem), letting your bills pile up, having a shitty, ungrateful attitude (me again at times) and negative outlook on life. Do you fit into having any of these types of problems? If you do, no shame, you’re good company. Million of us have, or have had these types of problems. Every day is still a battle for me. Most people I know, including those close to me don’t know this, or get this. Every day I have to make a conscious effort to get my head thinking in a positive manner. How do I attack this problem? Same two words –“baby steps” , as in small, sometimes tiny steps because if I didn’t, I would say, (and have said) , “Fuck it!” “It’s too big a problem.” “I can’t change my thinking (which is a habit learned over time)in a day, an hour, a minute…” And you know what, I’m right. I didn’t get to where I am, and I would venture a guess that you didn’t either, over night. I’ve spent years and years being depressed, and thinking negatively, so is it realistic to change overnight? Possible? Yes. Realistic? No.
So what’s my point? Just this. If you don’t like where you are, how you’re feeling inside about yourself, or the world, nothing will change unless you DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I remember reading a plaque on the wall of a fellowship hall of a church I attended as a young teen. It read, “ Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I don’t remember if this was a scripture from the Bible, but it doesn’t matter because, until you start with your mind, the thing that is behind every action you take, or create, no physical change will happen.
That is what I mean that everyday is a battle for me because every day I have to RENEW my mind because I want to be transformed from feeling like a miserable son of a bitch to a happier, healthier person. So, if you think what I am saying is bullshit let me ask you, “How your way of thinking working for you?” If it’s working great, then maybe you should be writing this blog instead of me.
Actually, if your life is shitty, and your thinking is shitty, and I would invert that, then I’d say your way is working excellently because you are producing the type of life you are thinking about which is having a shitty life, right? You might be telling me where to get off right about now, and I understand, but indulge me for a moment. If it is true (and I believe it is) that thoughts create actions, and that actions create results, then it makes sense to me why , when I’m dissatisfied with my life, things are going so shitty. Usually, when I look at how, or what I was concentrating on before the fucked up thing happened, or I started to feel depressed, hopeless, nihilistic, etc. I usually was talking, or thinking about something negative life being on the freeway and some “cager”(person driving on four wheels) cuts me off, I’m thinking, and maybe saying something very negative. How does this help me? Does it make the “cager” drive any better if I curse him/her out? I doubt it. But, what happens to me is that sometimes for hours I’m “gripped” by what took place, and I can’t be aware of what is happening in my life – now.
So, how does the idea of taking “baby steps” fit into all of this? Well, for me it would start with small sessions where I am quiet and I visualize this negative occurance in my mind – only instead of seeing me react the way I did, I react in the opposite way I did from how I really reacted. I see myself as being very calm and able to quickly react to the situation, but without any emotion. I see myself as indifferent. I’m not being controlled by the other person that caused the incident. This takes practice. This does not come automatically to me, and is not natural to my temperament. But, let me ask you, do we not have people in prison because they could not control their tempers, and something bad happened? Yes, we do. Do I want to be stuck in prison because I could not control my temper? No, I do not. Now , some people don’t mind the idea of going to prison – I do. I’m too fucking old to catch a long stretch now at 63.
What about you taking baby steps to change whatever it is in your life that you don’t like? Well, I don’t know because I’m not your. But, if someone were to ask me what I would do to help myself feel better, I would say start small. Do a small meditation about how you would like to feel. If you don’t know how to meditate, go to “YouTube” and type in “how to meditate” and you’ll get a lot of answers.
If it’s cleaning up your life, work just a little bit on the things that you can change, like instead of getting loaded tonight, I’ll take a walk, go see a friend, go to an AA/NA meeting, just do a little cleaning every day for 10-15 minutes. If you start too big by saying you’re going to get your drug/alcohol problem handled in the next 10-15 minutes, you’re going to quit, and it isn’t a realistic goal. But, having one less drink, or cigarette, pill, or doughnut, or whatever your poison is – this is how you start. And, I do not say you should do this all by yourself –no! Get a coach, get a sponsor, or therapist to help you – Do not try to do this alone because let’s face it, how good has doing so worked so far? I do recommend seeing a mental health professional at least to start dealing with your depression. Just picking up the phone is a start. If you do, then “Hooray” for you because you’ve just taken your first baby step toward taking your depression by the horns! Get a sponsor, or at least consider attending an AA meeting. They are all over, and at all different times. So, if you don’t like one meeting, try another. Baby steps. The body builder does not go into the gym the first time he/she starts working out and tries lifting 300lbs. No! Stupid, right? Did I hear anyone say the word “injury”? You don’t have to be a fitness expert to know that this is not how you start lifting weights.
Well, it’s no different with depression, either. If you’re taking meds for depression already, quitting them “cold turkey not only is a bad idea, it might even be dangerous. Talk to your doctor/therapist first. Work out a plan that goes in small “baby steps” to achieve your goal. If you are using alcohol, or pills, cut down and replace it with something positive like exercise, bowling, golf, go for a walk, start a jogging program, get somebody to help you even if you have to pay them because it’s worth it – you’re worth it, even when you don’t think so.
I’m gonna close my claptrap for now and sign off – don’t mean to get preachy. But, the truth of it is I’m still struggling myself. Sometimes I don’t even want to get out of bed, but, I make myself do it anyway whether I feel like it or not. We’ll talk again about this thing of “change”, and what might happen if you do. You already know what happens when you don’t, right? Just look at your life now. That will tell you how your programmed thinking is working for you.
Brother Glenn “Grey Wolf” signing off.