Seeing with new eyes: a change of perspective
It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to get caught up in ourselves- our thoughts, our beliefs about the world, our routines. Oftentimes what we do, we do so automatically, that we don't even consider there can be another way of thinking, doing, and believing.
Though I've had years of my own therapy and am a therapist myself, I can still easily get in my own way with my self-limiting beliefs, old behaviors, and defeating thoughts. Truth be told, I still do things I wish I wouldn't do. Part of my personal journey has been to realize that this is truly unavoidable, as it is part of being human. Luckily, now I can (mostly) catch it, acknowledge it, realize where I may be wrong and try something new. It takes true courage to own our weaknesses and limitations. We all are human, we all have patterns we can quickly fall into, but we also have the ability to make a change in our thinking, doing and believing.
So how do we start? As the saying goes, old habits die hard. But equally true, I believe, as Martin Luther King said "You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step in faith." Often people don't make changes because it seems so overwhelming. Big picture focus can be important, but it can take small steps to get there. So I encourage you, gain some understanding of the narrative in your head that holds you back! Pay attention to what you say to yourself. Be bold, challenge yourself and try a new behavior, no matter how small (or big!) it may seem. Follow through today on that important task you may have been putting off. Observe yourself. See who you are and what you do with new eyes.
Here are a couple books I find to be helpful in this process. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, and Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps by Richard Rohr.
The Power of Now helps you to gain greater understanding of the power of your thoughts and how it keeps you from being able to be in the present moment. It is a great book for those who struggle with anxiety and getting caught up in their head.
Breathing Under Water offers a Christian approach to understanding your struggles as your sins that you fall into. Some sins may be more apparent than others and this book does a great job at holding everyone accountable for their pitfalls, while being encouraging in nature.
That's it! Also remember that sometimes patterns are so entrenched, so difficult to change, that we need outside help and support, and sometimes from a professional. I find hope in knowing that we all struggle in one way or another but that we also have such great potential to use our variety of gifts in numerous ways. I find that when we can freely acknowledge our own strengths and weaknesses as well, we are in return more likely to be accepting of others and their pitfalls.