Emphasizing my problems is not helpful
Since I am not a social worker, let me share how I understand this concept. I am not motivated to change if you point your finger at me and tell me what a lousy job I am doing. That just makes me do one of two things: 1) Dig in my heels and refuse to change OR 2) makes me give up entirely. Emphasizing my problems is not helpful. I am now angry at you and probably at myself. I want to find a place to hide and give up.
On the other hand, if I am approached with what I do well, I sit up straight. You have my attention. Tell me more. I start to feel good about myself which makes me hopeful. I can do this. I can keep going. I am more inclined to allow you to come alongside me and help me figure out what positive changes I want to make.
A great fitness instructor makes everyone in the class feel successful. They may point out the great effort you are putting into those sit-ups rather than berating you for only doing two. The friend you want with you when you are attempting something new and difficult is the friend that will encourage you and not point out your failings.
Positive change needs a friendly environment to blossom and grow. Others can help us see our strengths and give us words of encouragement or simply come alongside us as moral support.
I am also aware that I need to create my own friendly environment for positive change in myself. Am I looking at my strengths or my challenges? Am I pointing my own finger at myself in condemnation? Do I tell myself I can’t change? Am I my own worse enemy in the desire for positive change? Yikes. I need to remind myself of what I am doing well, where I am succeeding, and then tackle something I want to change.
What I want to change will motivate me because it is my desire. If someone else tells me I need to lose weight, it is doubtful I will be particularly motivated to lose weight. But if I decide that is what I want to do and set a reasonable weight loss goal, then there is a higher chance that I will succeed.
So, back to those New Year’s resolutions. Let’s remember what we are doing well, if we want to change something, let’s set a reasonable goal, find a friend to encourage us, and remind ourselves that we’ve got this.
Contact us at The River Center so we can help you connect with the right supports to achieve your goals. www.rivercenternh.org.