We usually define success as that place where we arrive after a lot of hard work. What I've learned is that we are already successful just by setting our sights on a worthy goal and taking the first step in that direction. When you think about it, it makes sense. Every choice we make moves us closer to or away from the life we want.
Coming out of a violent relationship, we seek a happier, more fulfilling and peaceful life. We may have a clear vision of what that would look like or we may have only a vague idea. Either way it doesn’t matter, our vision can be developed and tweaked as we move along re-learning who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives?
As we pull our lives together we are often engaged in an exhausting battle with our ex partners over the children and possessions. If we keep our focus only on the struggles it’s draining and easy to give up. If we set a worthy goal for ourselves, one that aligns with our values, we will subconsciously be working toward that ideal. Does that make those daily battles any easier? No. We still have to put one foot in front of the other to deal with the difficult stuff. However, what it does give us is a solid foundation that hold us aloft, hope and expectation for a better future, that light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
What I am suggesting is that while we keep our eyes on our goals let’s also broaden our vision to include celebrating the changes we see in ourselves every day. Every good choice is a success. Every release of an old habit that held us back is a success. As we fill our lives with behaviors and beliefs that aligned with our values, the old detrimental behaviors and beliefs fade away, moving us closer to who and what we want to be. Our self-esteem grows giving us more strength to continue moving forward.
Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
Write a Mission Statement, an expression of your vision and values. Reflect on what is important to you. Keep it simple, just 3-4 sentences. Use positive statements such as; My home is a safe place filled with peace and kindness, I respect myself and others. Your mission statement can be adjusted as your life evolves. (See my post for 2013.10.01 for more about writing a mission statement.)
Create a Vision Board, to support your Mission Statement. On your computer or a bulletin board, collect and post things that bring you joy, words that you would like to describe you, your passions, affirmations that lift you up, and pictures of people you admire. Anything related to your hopes for your future. Put the board where you will see it every day. It will help you keep your focus on where you are going.
By doing these two activities, you are already moving in the direction you want to go. The decisions you make from this point on are measured against whether they will move you closer to your plan for your future or away from it.
If you are looking for a better job, make a list of the things that light up your soul, your passions. Post them on your board. Let your choices move you in the direction of a job that will align with your passions. Take a night class, computer course or study on your own. Network, get out among people who enjoy the things you do and let them know you are job hunting. Knock on doors. See every “no” as another step closer to a “yes.”
If you are looking for a healthy relationship, list what you have to offer a partner then list the traits you want in a partner and post them on your vision board. As you meet potential partners, keep your eyes open and don’t minimize or explain away the red flags, i.e. rushing you into an intimate relationship, hurting your feelings then calling you “too sensitive.” You’ve pledged to respect yourself. If you feel rushed or disrespected, the relationship is over. Keep your kind heart in check and don’t get hooked into trying to fix someone else's life, this is the time to focus on your own. (You are not being selfish.)
Gather a support group around you. People who are positive and up-lifting. People who will call you out in a loving way when you’ve strayed from your path. Those who will meet you where you are and listen more than talk. Ones who let you talk out your struggle until you’ve come up with the best solution.
Keep a journal. It’s a great way to measure your success and see how far you’ve come. List all your success. Your first being that fact that you made the decision to leave an unhealthy relationship. Then you actually left, no small feat and another huge success. Now you are learning to let go of the false beliefs and relearning what a remarkable and gifted person you are. Keep a record of all your thoughts and feelings. Review your journal to remind yourself how far you’ve come.
This journey is a learning experience. That means there are no mistakes, just redirections. Setbacks will come, use them to reevaluate and tweak your vision. When the “old” behaviors try to take over, congratulate yourself for recognizing them and celebrate that fact that you no longer let them control you. Trust your vision to direct your path as the life you are meant to have unfolds.
Take a moment right now to celebrate your successes. Let’s happy dance!