I was in the midst of a pity party. I was in full-blown victim mode, gasping for life in a drowning sea of blame, excuses and reasonings. Granted, some of my excuses were good ones — and some of the blame may have been well placed — but regardless, none of that was solving my problems; it wasn’t easing my pain.
Like pinpoints of light at the end of a long, black tunnel, some ideas presented themselves to me. Not a one was a novel idea or new realization. They were statements I had both heard and said many times before. But in a dim, distant sort of way, considering them began to offer me some relief — some hope. As I focused on them, I turned them into a chant complete with gestures.
# 1. Nothing Changes Until I Change!
I held out my index finger and pointed to my chest as I said the word “I.”
# 2. It’s Not Too Big, Too Hard or Too Late!
I held up two fingers and made an emphatic point with them each time I said the word “too.”
# 3. You Gotta Do Something Different to Get Something Different
I used my fingers to count out the syllables of the word diff-er-ent and then held my three fingers high as I finished the phrase.
# 4. Little Change for Big Rewards
I held up four fingers as I said the word “for.”
# 5. I Can Do It – Exclamation Point
I held up a finger for each word and the exclamation point.
This was the beginning of that particular beginning. I just kept chanting that set of exclamations, and over the following week I began to believe them, and hatch a plan for my exodus from turmoil.
One thing is sure. If I had done nothing at all but shout out those words and gesture like a fool, nothing — NOTHING — would have changed. But it’s equally true, that somehow the silly act of marching around my house proclaiming this news induced the single guest at my pity party – ME – to move on and get busy.
I still use exclamations today. I change them all the time. I craft new ones to enforce new habits, such as “Hydrate, Wait and Satiate!” I design them to overcome blame when I notice it, with epithets like, “I’m in charge of me now.” To contradict my limiting beliefs, I create verses such as, “this will work if I work hard at it.” I believe these exclamations are powerful and effective.
But they are not magic. The work must still be done. I am more likely to do it however, when I have encouraged myself in this way.