Month: April 2009

Change And Rebuild

Sometimes, in life, something brings to your attention that you’ve gotten so far down a path that you don’t want to be that there is really no way back.  You just stop, look around you, and realize that you are unhappy with where you are and who you have become.

The natural reaction for many, probably even most, people is to give up and start sliding into despair, thinking there is nothing they can do about it.  It doesn’t have to be that way, though… there is something much more positive you can do, instead.

First let me say that from the easy perspective, the one that is up close and mired in the current situation, the feeling that there is nothing you can do about it is right… because that feeling is all about the fact that you can’t get back to “the way things used to be”.  If you move back a couple of steps, however, that very realization can be enlightening and even free-ing.

When you hit a point where you know that you can’t go back, that means there’s only one way you can go, and that is forward.  You can take your moment of darkness and turn it into the point where you breathed light and hope back into your life.

How do you do this?

You start by accepting that all of the things that brought you to this point are in your past, and you cannot change them.  You are who you are, and where you are, and right now is the only thing left that you can change.  You have to let it go, and forgive yourself… let who you have been and what you have done be in your past.  Let it even be a different person – you are NOT required to be that person any more.

Now you have a blank slate, an open canvas to paint yourself.  Who do you want to be?  The only one who can decide what gets painted is the painter, and that is you.

Other people in your life, whether friends, family, coworkers, or something else, may not like the changes that you make.  They only knew the person that you used to be, and if the new you is different enough, they may feel like they are dealing with a new person, and that takes time just as meeting any other new person does… perhaps even more so because they keep expecting you to be, and and act like, who you used to be, much as might happen if you met the identical twin of someone you already knew.

You can’t worry about others, though… you are your own home, and you have to build to suit yourself.  If you were designing an actual home for yourself, and you love to cook, you wouldn’t design one with a tiny kitchen.  In the same sense, you shouldn’t try to be a person that others think you should be.

Speaking of homes, that brings up another important point… walls.  As we go through life along whatever path we take, we build up walls inside ourselves… mental walls, emotional walls, even spiritual walls.  These walls generally grow up haphazardly, over time, in response to various things that happen in our lives.  They contain us, force us into internal contortions and stress just to fit inside, keeping us from truly being comfortable in our own skins.

Internal walls, much like walls in the world outside, require demolition.  Have you ever watched the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition?  The first thing the team does is demolition… tearing down all of the old construction, all of the old walls, in order to make room for the new home that will better fit those who live there.

You need to do the same… those walls are from that other person, the one that you used to be, and any that you leave standing are going to impact the design of your new home, your new self.  As much as you can, wipe them all out… and any that you do leave standing, take a close look at them to make sure that you want that to be a part of who you are becoming.

One last thing before I go… remember that this new home you are building doesn’t have to be complete overnight.  You can lay the foundation, and then take your time on the framing, to make sure that everything is where you want it to be.  The finishing, like choosing what color to paint the walls, can be far down the road… you don’t have to hurry, it’s not for anyone but you.

Even if you don’t feel like you’re at the end of the line, take a look around at the home you have built for yourself… is it time for some remodeling?  You may even find that today is a good day for demolition day for you, too.