Today I want to speak with you about how to grow from being the person you are today, into the person you want to be. Perhaps you want to change your life circumstances. Perhaps you want advancement in your career. Perhaps you want spiritual growth. Perhaps you want a more meaningful relationship. Perhaps you want to lose weight. If any of these things resonate with you, I want to give you some simple advice.
In order to grow, one has to be willing to move.
We often find ourselves stuck in the same old situations, the same old patterns, the same dead-end job, the same horrible relationships – the same old “two step.” We say we want more, we say we want change to come, and we say we want something different, but we insist on dwelling in our own misery. While there are many situations that exist outside of our own control we must understand and acknowledge that we have personal power.
We are in charge of our own happiness. We must recognize that we have to take back control and power over our own lives. I meet many individuals who insist on standing still … almost as if they are comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Yes it is true, as the lyrics of the gospel song “Stand” by Donnie McClurkin says, “After you’ve done all you can, you just stand.” However, that is after you have done the necessary things to manifest change in your life. The work that I do as a therapist in Georgia, through my teaching, and through my workshops and consulting, is all centered on movement – movement of the body, movement of the mind, movement of the spirit and movement of the soul. From my perspective, if you are unhappy, dissatisfied, hate your life, dislike your circumstances, you must do something. You must take some sort of action. You must move.
In order to move, your first must assess and critically analyze your own situation. What exactly is it that you want to change in your life? Next you must consider what role you facilitate in keeping things the same. Truth be told, (and you probably do not want to hear this) you may be at the center of what is contributing to your own demise. We often are controlled by our thoughts and our cognitions, which ultimately shape our behavior. It all goes back to the old adage, “I think, therefore, I am.” If you think you are (insert word here) then you probably are. Not because it is in fact true, but because you said that it is so. It is also important to understand that many of our cognitions are created not by us alone, but also by our experiences of living in the world. Many of us have narratives that have been written that are filled with mistakes, traumatic events, setbacks, and letdowns, among others, which have played an integral part in how we think about ourselves. Some of these traumatic experiences have contributed to unproductive thoughts and feelings such as “I am not worthy, I am not smart, I am not a good person, I am not (insert word here).”
Part of the problem is that we have internalized some of our experiences to the degree that they take over our lives. We frequently do not even recognize the destructive thoughts that we possess as they often operate at an unconscious level, which is one of the reasons why it is difficult for many people to solve their own problems (a reason why seeing a therapist could be a great idea).
These thoughts and cognitions have to be deconstructed, put to death, and buried in the ground. Once we have a clean slate, then the rebuilding process can begin. Your negative thoughts must be replaced with more useful and more meaningful ones. You have to be willing to shift and move your mindset, to let the old narratives go.
It is just like one of my friends, Dr. Jada Brooks (assistant professor at University of Maryland- Eastern Shore) suggests; sometimes you have to rewrite your narrative. Your narrative or life story is your creation. You have the power to rewrite the story of your life if it is not the life you desire. In order to do this, you have to be willing to move. You must be willing to move out of your own way, you must be willing to move others out of your way, and you must be willing to move your current way of thinking.
If you want to lose weight, you must move your body, but most importantly you must move your mind, specifically how you think about food, calorie intake, exercise, nutrition, etc. If you want to grow in your current career field and you feel as if someone is holding you back, you must move them out of your way. How do you move someone out of your way? You stop listening to them, you stop believing the negative things they say, you develop a plan, you visualize your future, you act, and you execute … you move. In addition to the above list, I add prayer to my personal life practice. Prayer may or may not fit with you in terms of your own religious or spiritual belief systems, but it is something that works for me.
In terms of developing a plan, you must first create a list of the things you want to change. You must identify the barriers to your desired outcomes, and then you must attack each barrier. For example, if you want to start your own business and you do not have any start-up funds, you may simply have to shift the way you are thinking about your needs. It is not necessarily about the financial resources that you do or do not have, but it is about how resourceful you are.
Therefore, if a lack of financial resources is a barrier for you, instead of dwelling on not having money, figure out what other resources my be available to you and start there. One thing people have often said about me is that I am very resourceful. I guess, with being raised in the inner city and not always having access to money, I had to learn how to utilize resources. I admit, that sometimes it seems so much harder when financial resources are not readily available, but I do believe and manifest, that anything is possible through hard work, diligence, perseverance, a higher power and movement.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that my words of wisdom do not only come from book knowledge, but also from my own experiences. I was born with a story, but I decided to be reborn to live in a new story, filled with joy, happiness, health, wealth, love and prosperity. In order to do so (and this is a continuous process that one does for a lifetime) I had to rewrite my own narrative, I have to continue to rewrite my own narrative, and I often come to the realization that I have to move out of my own way. It is not easy, but you can do it. In order to grow, you have to be willing to move, be more, live more, Have more.
Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, an assistant professor in marriage and family therapy at a University in Georgia, and the founder of The Moore Therapy Movement. He is a north Minneapolis native, obtained his bachelors’ degree in African American studies from the University of Minnesota, his masters’ degree in marriage and family therapy from Valdosta State University, and his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Virginia Tech.
Please note this column is for educational purposes only. It is not to diagnose or treat any mental health issues.