How to do hard things

With the April New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Taurus…

…now is a great time to kick off change–and in particular, by taking concrete steps to make your desires real in the here and now.

To help you do this, I want to share some insights that have been coming through super duper strongly while I’ve been working on my new boundary-setting class.

If you grew up in a wounded family system, chances are you were expected to do hard things without sufficient support.

You might have been expected to caretake for adults when you were just a kid.

You might have been thrown into the deep end of an experience and left to figure it out.

You might have been punished for not doing your best, even though you were never shown how or allowed to practice.

We can recreate that pattern as adults by expecting ourselves to do really hard things without any (or enough) support, and sometimes we’re so entrenched in this pattern, we don’t even realize that what we’re expecting of ourselves is way too much!

For instance, I was talking to a friend this week who’s struggling to set boundaries with family.

He’s never really done it before, other people in his family aren’t in the habit of setting boundaries, and it all feels understandably difficult.

And yet, even with the awareness that boundary setting isn’t something he was taught and it feels really hard, he then told me that at an upcoming, multi-day family gathering, he was going to just show up and set whatever boundaries he needed, and it would be totally fine.

Easy peasy!

Wait…what?

And let me excuse my friend from the hot seat and say that I have done this to myself approximately two gajillion times.

I don’t know how to do this difficult thing? No matter! I shall waltz into a very heated, potentially triggering situation with zero preparation or support and expect myself to win at life!

Fast forward to the next day, when I’m buried under a pile of blankets with a crushing migraine and a shame hangover, vowing never to leave my bed again.

Nailed it!

This New Moon, let’s set ourselves up for success:

I’d say that 99.999% of the time, we need to break things down into bite-sized chunks in order to succeed.

We need to learn new skills.

We need to give ourselves time to practice them.

It’s a powerful form of self-love to offer ourselves the support we might not have received growing up, and we rewrite old patterning every time we do this.

Let’s go back to the family visit example.

Last fall, I went to a family memorial, and rather than flinging myself into the deep end and hoping for the best like I’d done in the past, I sat down and journalled.

I poured all of my concerns onto the page.

What was I worried might happen?

What feelings were coming up?

Once I had that information in front of me, it was much easier to brainstorm ways to support myself.

For instance, one of the things I was worried about…

…was feeling massively overwhelmed by seeing family members, including some that I’m intentionally estranged from, all at once.

As I sat with this, I remembered that I’m more likely to get overwhelmed when I haven’t slept well and I haven’t eaten.

Super basic but super important! (Just ask my husband who now insists that I bring snacks absolutely everywhere we go.)

To support myself, I decided to book a hotel room the night before the memorial, so we could do the seven-hour drive the day before and get a good night’s sleep.

The day of the service, I woke up refreshed and had a swim at the hotel, we went for a hike in a beautiful nature area, and we left ourselves plenty of time to eat a nourishing meal.

I didn’t expect myself to navigate family interactions straight off a long drive while exhausted and hangry. No thank you!

I also knew there was a possibility people would challenge my decision to be estranged from certain family members, so I came up with a short script to use rather than waiting until I was on the spot to figure out what to say.

Even just having this simple statement prepared relieved a TON of anxiety, which also contributed to feeling less overwhelmed.

In fact, once I started thinking about ways to support myself, it actually felt fun to get creative with it!

This New Moon, how can you break your intention down into smaller chunks?

And then, for each chunk, what forms of support would really help you thrive?

Human-ing is challenging enough. We don’t need to set the dial on hard mode.

You’re allowed to take your time, check in with how you’re feeling, and support yourself every step of the way.

Happy New Moon!

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