Dealing with our Dragons – Self Growth

DEALING with our DRAGONS
Become aware of the dragons and fears inside you. If you understand
your feelings and allow them to just be there without judging them,
they’ll move on, heal, and become transmuted.

If you fearfully resist them, labeling them bad/wrong/ugly, they’ll
stick to your mind and grow. Acknowledge your feelings. You don’t
need to act on them, just see them. Invite your dragons into the
light….take a dragon to lunch. Then accept them. Feelings aren’t
right or wrong; they just are. A gentle climate of love and
acceptance fosters healing and growth.

Change is action; old habits are reactions. To change and transform
we must consciously choose new actions. All the buried patterns we’ve
talked about are ingrained, passive, fixed, change-resisting reactions
to people and circumstances. The only way to be free of them is to
create fresh, new actions to replace them.

We need to act rather than react. As we learn to break out of the
cycle of reaction we become better able to be who we really are.

As I have been discussing, the steps outlined in this book are the
basic tools of change. Now let me share with you a somewhat wider
perspective on self-change.

UNDERSTAND, PAUSE, CHOOSE

Step l. Awareness, Acknowledgment, and Acceptance: Bring into the
open old patterns, reactions or fears,

Step 2: Pause.: Before you act, step back, take time out…a
breather…to gain perspective. You can’t see much with your nose
pressed right up against what you are looking at. Examine your
feelings; then compare your options: remember how you have reacted in
the past. Is it appropriate now or would you rather choose other
deliberate, creative, healing actions?

Step 3: Choose: This step is crucial. By pausing, you’ve taken
yourself off automatic

pilot so you are free to decide on a new course of action. How would
you like to act? If the old reaction isn’t working, choose to act a
different way. You don’t have to continue old patterns. You are now
in the driver’s seat.

If you take a single word out of this book and make it your own on
a day to day basis, I hope it’s choose. If you can choose to act in a
different way, even while feeling the old way, yu will find it
tremendously liberating.

Once when my ex and I were having a confrontation in which I felt
judged and rejected, I recognized an old reaction pattern, a 3 phase
dance I used to go into whenever I felt threatened. First, I’d feel
guilty and wrong for “making” him unhappy, so I’d become jovial and
conciliatory in order to jolly him out of his mood.

When that didn’t work, I became the counselor-in- residence and (oh, so
calmly) pointed out the error of his ways, reasonably citing the
various psychological bases of the misunderstanding.

That never worked.

No one, especially our mate, is ever very receptive to being
“enlightened” concerning the reasons for his or her irrational
behavior while they’re in the midst of feeling hurt, angry, or frustrated.

When neither of those tactics worked, I became frustrated, lonely,
and discouraged. I would withdraw into righteous anger and slog
around in a cloud of resentment and disappointment. Obviously my mood
was his fault. Why couldn’t he be different? I had fallen into my
victim mode.

During this particular episode, before the familiar pattern got into
full swing, I paused and asked myself some very important questions:

l. Have these reactions worked in the past?

2 Do I feel better when I react in these ways

3. Is our relationship better after I’ve gone through the old,
familiar reactions?

In each case, the answer was a resounding “no”. So the next
question was obvious:

4. Do I still want to react this way?

Now, having paused and stepped back from my feelings, I could choose
how I would act.

I decided to detach myself…to withdraw from the events that were
taking place…not in anger, resentment, or with a feeling of
rejection, but in order to let him take responsibility for his own
feelings. Instead of trying to convince my husband to change, I
changed. I stepped out of the victim role, the overly responsible
role, and the I-must-be-wrong emotionally dependent role and took care
of myself.

I felt still guilty, rejected, scared, and lonely all at the same
time. I talked to my body and to my scared inner child, telling them
that I would take care of them. I encouraged myself to relax and kept
assuring myself that I was safe and that I no longer needed the old
feelings to protect me.

Very slowly, my body began to get the message.

After a few hours, the exhilaration in my head percolated through my
entire body and I felt great.

From the book: “The Courage To Be Yourself” by Sue Patton Thoele.

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