(With thanks and apologies to Tina Turner for the title. J)
The last couple of coaching conversations with Coach Jim have centered around revisiting/revamping/revising/reworking my goals.
When I started a year or so ago I had three goals originally and fairly quickly added a fourth.
The first three were pretty basic—one relates to my health, one relates to being more of an optimist (though I don’t really use the word optimist to describe myself—I told Jim it felt a little like calling myself a Republican—it just felt like something that would never be true! ;-)), the third one relates to my emotions.
As it had been many moons since I had really looked at my goals they were probably over-due for some revisions. I’ve made a number of changes in the past year and have progressed to the point where the goals as written weren’t really “big” enough for what I now want to do.
It was nice being able to go in and tweak them as needed! It helped me see I have indeed made progress. Who knew?? (Well…..I suppose everyone close to me knew…..I was probably the only one holding onto an old picture of myself. LOL!)
The fourth goal kinda stumped me. It originally read:
“I perceive myself as positively as others see me. I am comfortable with myself and my emotions. I allow myself to be vulnerable when appropriate and allow others to serve me or take care of me when necessary.”
A year ago it was a huge struggle for me to put even that much into writing. It felt like a huge leap.
I see it from a different perspective now. It seems overly restrictive. It seems somehow limiting. It seems….well…it seems small.
While I haven’t achieved (for lack of a better word) this goal—oh heck no, I’m still far from it — I want more. I’m not satisfied with that as my goal—I want something more all encompassing.
You know how from Einstein forward physicists (or at least some physicists) have been working to develop a unified field theory? (You don’t? Well check this out. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/everything.html) They are searching for a single theory to tie two incredibly diverse fields/areas/whatevers of physics together. They are searching for something bigger. (Which, if you believe string theory may be an answer, ironically turns out to be something super small. J)
I found myself wanting something similar. No….not a string! One unifying goal. One goal for the big picture. One goal that the other, more specific, goals fall under. Something to tie everything together with a nice bright piece of ribbon—or string if you care to stay with the physics analogy. Grin!
And I couldn’t quite come up with anything. Actively thinking about it didn’t give me visible progress. Letting it “stew” in the back of my mind was equally unproductive. Trying to write about it produced lots of blank space on the page.
Hey! I know! I’ll talk with Coach Jim about it! Cool…….maybe an actual out-loud conversation will help my brain find what I’m looking for.
So I did.
Almost two weeks later I still don’t have my fourth goal fully developed. AND I’m perfectly okay with that. Talking with Jim helped me find the direction I want to go with my “unifying” goal.
As you can probably see from the original fourth goal, I don’t feel like I have an accurate view of myself. I can tell you 3.2 million things I do wrong, or areas that “need” improvement. But ask me something I do that I’m proud of? Something I do well? Yeah……not much material for those questions. My vision of myself, my perception, is skewed. I know that and it doesn’t sit well with me.
So originally I wanted to see myself as I am. Flaws and all.
And now I realize that isn’t quite enough. I want more.
I want to be comfortable with who I am. I want to accept myself.
And that still isn’t quite enough. I still want more. The “unifying” goal is bigger than that.
So as I talked with Jim about all of this our conversation kept taking twists and turns…..which is normal and really cool! It felt like the more I talked the more I realized that what I was saying wasn’t big enough. It wasn’t hitting home.
I talked about wanting to be kind to myself.
That wasn’t quite right. So Jim kept asking, what else? What other words? What is bigger?
Hmmmmm….okay….I dunno….gentleness? I want to be gentle with myself?
While that is true (I typically am harsher on myself than anyone else would ever be….long stories there….I’ll spare you the details.), it still wasn’t resonating with me. Kind I felt I could claim—I could put that into a goal. It wasn’t what I was looking for though. I wanted more. Gentleness didn’t sit well. That seemed to feel like I wouldn’t hold myself accountable—that I would let myself “get away” with too much. That wasn’t working.
Jim kept asking, what else? What is bigger?
Hmmmmmmmmm……I don’t have a clue Jim! Okay Spudise….keep going…..keep searching….keep tossing the nets wide and into new waters…..
Think. Think. Think.
Okay….what encompasses kindness and aspects of gentleness and still allows me to hold myself accountable for the stuff I need to be accountable. There’s got to be a word. There’s got to be a concept. Keep working your way through this. Keep going. What does that unknown concept look like in others? What allows you to extend grace and at the same time hold other people accountable?
Whomp. (How’s that for onomatopoeia??? ;-)) Right upside the head. It hit me.
And it scared the livin daylight out of me! Seriously. It scared me. I knew if I didn’t start talking immediately I’d chicken out. So I started talking.
“Blah…blah…blah….blah…I can’t even believe I’m about to say this Jim….it’s love. Love is bigger than kindness and gentleness. Love. That’s what I’m looking for. I want to be able to say ‘I love me.’ and not burst into tears at the thought. Blah….blah….blah….”
(The “blah…”part is me stalling by the way. J)
If this caught Jim a fraction as off-guard as it caught me he probably fell over and hit his head. Seriously. Self-love is NOT a topic I have ever wanted to discuss. The mere mention of it a year ago had me in tears. Jim asked me at one point if I could say “I love me.” which caused me to promptly burst into tears.
Could I speak the words? Sure I could. Speaking the words is easy. Speaking them and meaning them? Nope. Couldn’t do that. And speaking them without meaning them felt wrong—it felt like cheating—it felt like it was going against everything I had committed to when I decided to work with Jim. I had committed to being honest. I had committed to being open and not hiding. And saying “I love me” when I clearly didn’t “love me” would be lying. And I wasn’t about to lie. I could NOT say the words and have any sincerity behind them. I could not say them and have any truth in the statement. So I chose not to say them.
The tears didn’t come from a physical inability to speak simple words. The tears and drama (not that I would EVER admit to being even slightly dramatic ;-)) came from knowing and feeling that I couldn’t honestly say them.
And here we are…..a scant year later….and I’m the one bringing it back into the conversation. How bizarre is that?!
“Do you know what you just said Spudsie?” Jim asked.
“Yeah…..blah…blah…blah…” Desperately trying to avoid talking about it. Maybe if I just keep talking he’ll let me off the hook.
Snort! Fat chance with that Spudsie! J
Jim kept talking about what a huge change that was from a year ago. The more he talked the more I wanted to get away from it. I just wasn’t ready to dive into it. It’s still a brand new thought. I didn’t want to think about the implications just yet. Fortunately Jim’s really, really , REALLY terrific at saying things in a gentle way so that I can hear them for at least a fraction of a second.
Frankly I don’t really remember much of the coaching conversation after that point. And we ended early because Jim could clearly tell I wasn’t really able to move forward at that point. That I’d hit my “maximum progress” point for the day.
So we talked about books for a few minutes. And I LOVE talking about books!! LOL!
Where am I now? In terms of having a “formal” goal on paper….I’m no further than I was 2 weeks ago. And that’s okay for now. I’m still trying to be comfortable with the thought. (And please, no Yoda quotes about “Do or do not. There is no try.” Grin!)
So my starting point for my “unifying” goal is “I love me.” I want to give it more definition…I want to give it measurableness (is that even a word??? Spell-check certainly doesn’t think so!) I want to be able to define a little more what that looks like. Okay…okay… I want to be able to begin to define what that looks like. When you have nothing I suppose defining it “a little more” isn’t very precise. LOL.
Goal number four. The unifying goal. I love me.
Can I do it? I don’t know. Maybe? I think so.
And that’s a good place to begin.