Do you ever feel like your mindset is raring to go and your ready to step back into whatever it is that you’ve been estranged from for a while but because of the length of time of your absence you feel as if a re-introduction is in order in which case what do you say and where do you start?
What we say at the beginning of a new relationship is simply “Hi, my name is …” Fairly simple but how do we re-engage old relationships even those with our listeners, our audiences, or our peers or colleagues?Because we tend to believe introductions should only happen once because once we learn someone’s name, we seemingly know them now and forever.But life transitions, are a bit different and require us to do something strange—and re-introduce ourselves to those who already know us. Because when life experiences occur they can change not only us but also how we need others to know us.
And most of us recognize life transitions—marriage, divorce, retirement, loss, andany change as a result of a person, an event, or an experience. And we may be able to communicate the experiences that have occurred but at the same time we’re not always good at communicating how these experiences change us.
You’ve heard the term: don’t ever change. But we say this often times because if people change then it challenges us to change as well. In fact, we must change on some level to accommodate the changes in them. And as you know change can be difficult for many even if the change in someone else. Life is full of ongoing transitions and transitions require adaptation and reexamination. We are in fact called in those moments to then re-examine our own beliefs and values.
Now most people think beliefs and values are something we possess and have always possessed. But in reality, beliefs and values are always under construction, shaped by our experiences and relationships. How could an illness not require us to rethink our values? How could our grief for a loved one not inspire us to reprioritize what we view as most important? How could caring for someone we love not impact the way we see and act in the world?
If life experiences sculpt our beliefs and values, we need not be expected to remain loyal to what we once believed. Instead, we should be prepared to help others better understand who we have become by pointing to the very experiences that shape us.
What happens when we feel trapped by others’ expectations of consistency. When we worry how others will respond to the changes in our own lives? Because we tend to know ourselves by how others’ respond to us.
We can feel stifled when others’ categories for us no longer fit. Consistency is a prerequisite for relational comfort. We like people who are consistently predictable. But feeling compelled to remain loyal to what others think we are (and should be) is an ongoing relational challenge. Most of the time, we drift away from these relationships because it’s so difficult to tell others how we are no longer who they think we are.
Telling others whom we are not—“I’m not like that anymore” and “I don’t believe that anymore”—isn’t nearly as effective as inviting others to see additional parts of ourselves rather than having them make a choice between our old(er) and new(er) selves.
So re-introducing your NEW self to people you already know doesn’t need to be a formal event. It can be an ongoing process that happens in the micro-moments of everyday conversation and connection. Just having a willingness to allow others to participate in you’re new evolving “self” will allow you to talk about yourself as well as your experiences simultaneously.
For example: “My experiences caring for my dad has helped me understand something I never knew before . . .”
Another example: “I used to believe that . . . but my son’s experiences at school have taught me . . .”
And another: “I used to be so clear about that but after my sister’s death, I can’t help but think that . . .”
To remain authentic to the experiences that shape us, we must create bridges that allow change to be a source of connection rather than isolation with those willing to understand how our beliefs, and values are constantly under construction. Today, try re-introducing yourself to someone who already knows you, leading with those parts of yourself that will never change but also highlighting the parts of yourself that have been transformed in response to life’s callings, transitions, and changes. And if you’re seeking to make a comeback and haven’t really experienced a change worth noting create that change by starting with these three steps.
Step #1: Believe that something in your life must change. Do you kinda want to get into shape, or do you absolutely have to lose the weight? Does dropping a few pounds sound nice, or is living another day in your current body simply unbearable? In order to reinvent yourself, you must believe wholeheartedly that things must change.
Step #2: Believe that you must change it. It is vital that you take full responsibility in making the change rather than assigning responsibility elsewhere. Sure, others may help you, but in the end you are the one who is going to make it happen. You have to want this change enough to make it your personal mission—no one else can do it for you.
Step #3: Believe that you can change it. Don’t let past failures get you down. The truth is that you are capable of amazing things when you put your mind to it. Believe that you are able to lose weight or to make any other positive change in your life.
Why do most people fail to make change stick? They rely on willpower. This works for a while, but you’ll soon revert back to what’s comfortable. The solution? Change what you are comfortable with.
People are motivated by two things to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. When you want to change a behavior pattern, the key is to associate pain with the behavior that you don’t want and pleasure with the behavior that you do want. Retrain your brain. You know that you want to lose weight and that to do so you need to quit eating comfort food late at night. You also know that you need to start exercising on a regular basis. Up until this point your brain is trained to associate pleasure with eating comfort food late at night and to associate pain with exercise. For example, retrain your brain to feel the good about exercise and to feel the bad about eating late at night. Think about all of the negative things about being overweight and connect these unpleasant thoughts to your late night snack. Now think about all of the wonderful things about being in shape and connect these pleasant thoughts to exercise.
You are capable of making big changes in your life. Remember, change happens in an instant. Make your comeback about your experiences and even more so about how those experiences have changed you. How they’ve impacted your values and beliefs. Maybe your change is still a work in progress even better. Share the place that your at and create those bridges towards real connection. Stay dedicated, stay motivated and for now, here’s to living!