I have an Irish Setter named Dari. She is one of the most beautiful dogs you have ever seen. Majestic and regal, but with a duality of nature I have never before experienced. Inside, she is a sweet baby angel; affectionate, playful, the life of the party. Outside, she’s a runner.
Recently, through a bizarre set of circumstances, she had a chance to run. She slipped out the door and simply took off. Now, I know she’s got it better inside, but she seems to have missed the memo completely. From other Setter parents, I know she’s no anomaly. They all sense freedom and take off. Luckily, she was (literally) tackled, leashed and driven home.
Reflecting later on the event, I realized we are all waging a similar war and making change can be pretty tough.
We each have the same duality that causes us to tend to run in traffic (metaphorically). Things like holding on to outdated coping mechanisms, acting against our own best interests, and making choices we know have no absolutely no chance of working out well.
So what can we do?
First, increase self-awareness. You can’t do something differently unless you become aware there is a problem. Soliciting input and feedback from trusted advisors can be quite valuable to understanding the strongholds that hold us back from living our best life. Self-reflection is beneficial too. Assessing my own patterns (when and if I can see them) is a great way to gain clarity on my tendencies.
Next, we need to put some mechanisms in place to assist with self-management. I don’t love the compliance collar we need to use with Dari, but it gives me a way to hold her on to her tightly and keep her from (inadvertent) self-harm. Depending on what change is needed, the human equivalent of that may be anything from freezing a credit card to having a friend/partner to help with accountability.
Finally, as we work to make change, we need to be patient with ourselves. We didn’t become this way overnight, so the fix will take time. We must give ourselves the space and grace to try, to make mistakes, hopefully failing forward as we gain victory.
Someone once said, a leopard can’t change its spots, but a caterpillar can become a butterfly.
Transformation won’t be easy, but it is possible.
And what’s better than becoming an even more spectacular version of yourself?