There’s no doubt about it – change is hard. And it isn’t hard because we don’t know what to do to achieve our goals. If we want to be healthier, we know this means being more active, making better choices in our diet, and giving up sedentary and unhealthy habits. If we want to spend more meaningful time with family, we know this means having “no-screen” time and planning out things we can do with our loved ones to build stronger connections and memories. But even with this knowledge of what to do, actually making change – or at least, making a change that lasts – is something that many of us struggle with. But why is this the case?
In this video, speaker Mel Robbins shares with us the neuroscience of change, why making change is a challenge for most, and simple tips for making change successfully. Watch the video, then read below for some of the key takeaways from this talk.
As I watched this speech, there were some definite “ah-ha!” moments that I’d like to share with you here. As you review, consider the questions asked and how you can use this information to build up your capacity for success in making change happen.
As a counselor, one of the things I deal with daily is working with people who are experiencing negative life events, crisis, grief, or any other thing that is causing them emotional discomfort and pain. These events can be extremely traumatic – dealing with loss, death, divorce, long-buried trauma. As a counselor, my role is to help people understand, reframe, and cope with these feelings. When I found this video, I felt like it wasn’t just an inspirational story – it really described the frame of mind that is most helpful for those who show enormous resilience in the face of adversity and strength when times aren’t going as well as they might like. Take a look below:
The lesson of this video, which I think is beautifully put, is this: It doesn’t benefit us to place judgement on any situation we experience by naming something as “good” or “bad.” Does that mean we shouldn’t have feelings about the things we experience? Absolutely not! When something painful occurs in your life, it’s normal to feel grief, sadness, and anger. When something positive happens, we should feel joy, pride, and relief.
But when we start naming these events as “good” or “bad,” when we place a fundamental value of the event within the trajectory of our life, we start internalizing. Instead of things that happen to us, these events become part of the story of who we are. And when we feel like many “bad” things are happening, it can be easy to start turning the blame for that onto ourselves or the people around us, instead of recognizing these as simply things we are living through.
That’s the power of “maybe” – having the wisdom to know that the tides of life are ever-changing, that the things that happen to us are just that – passing moments. Without the ability to predict how an event might actually shape the course of our life, how can we assign value to it? Everything we experience, both positive and painful, sends us down a journey that we cannot know. Peace is understanding that we will not understand our path until we complete it, and being open to the twists and turns as they appear before us.
As you reflect on this video and article, I encourage you to think about and journal on the following:
As a final exercise, journal for a few days on your initial reactions to events in your life. Note how often you are placing a value judgement on these events. Once you’re done, reflect on this list and consider what impact placing value had on your mood and attitude the remaining part of the day. Then, for a few more days, do the same journaling, but force yourself to stay in the “maybe” mind frame. How does this change your mood and attitude? See what works for you in maintaining this approach versus assigning judgement in the long-term.
Happy Father’s Day from me to you! As I was reflecting on this day and considering the special role of fathers in children’s lives, I found myself circling back to the idea of the gifts fathers impart. No matter who served the father role for us, whether that was a biological parent, a step-parent, or other friend or family member, I think we all know the moments of most importance from childhood: The ones in which that person, our father, took the time to make us feel loved, to teach us a skill or lesson that we still carry with us, or to ensure we had the self-confidence to march proudly through life.
When I work with fathers, I sometimes hear this discomfort about their role – with all of the pressures and stress of life, it can be easy to feel guilty or worry that we’re not spending enough of our time or giving enough to our children. That’s why I love this video – what a simple but impactful way to spend a few minutes with a child and give them a solid foundation of values and self-esteem without hardly any investment. Take a look below:
I’ve written on the power of affirmations before and the ways in which we can use them as adults to boost our own feelings of self-worth and confidence. But what an amazing tool – to use affirmations as a bonding experience between father and child, to instill confidence, to teach values. I love this video because it illustrates how the simple presence of a father, or either parent, spent in ways that builds children up, not only benefits them, but allows us to feel a more complete connection to our role as parent.
To those reading this who are parents, or are planning on becoming parents, consider the following:
By thinking about the role of the father and how you fill it, it becomes much easier to feel confident in successfully parenting children (and reducing relationship tension with a partner along the way). I hope that you have had a wonderful Father’s day, and know that your role as a father, while it may seem intimidating, is one that leaves immeasurable impacts on your child for years to come and a layer of self-fulfillment that is unknowable until you’ve achieved this.
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