Better Choices + Time = New Life

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 1.00.44 PMOne question I have been asked often recently is this:

“After years of childhood misery and years of unhappy, unsuccessful adult relationships, how did you manage to change it all and ALSO find a great guy?”

Basically they are asking me, “How did you get happy?”

The simple answer is: I realized I was the common factor in my unhappiness, and changed my choices.

Here I refer to three bits of wisdom a therapist once gave me.  (Did I mention he’s Italian?)

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PITHY ADVICE FROM THERAPIST #1

He said something like this:

“You walk into a bar. You see a person at the bar you’re really attracted to. S/he’s got that “spark” that all the other people you once loved (and went through hell with) also had. Walk over to where s/he is sitting, TURN AROUND, AND TALK TO THE PERSON STANDING NEXT TO THEM.”

I never forgot the simplicity of this advice. The message is: what is familiar may be a “draw” for you. “Spark” may resonate with all the hope of finally fixing your love life, or maybe even your childhood, but when you go down that path… you usually get drama. Despair. Frustration… and end up back on the usual emotional merry-go-round. What to do?

TURN AROUND AND TALK TO SOMEONE YOU WOULDN’T CHOOSE.

Yeah, yeah, I know…

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But look. If you are like I was, your “picker” is broken. You simply have to look around at all the people you are not currently picking.

So be brave! Say hi to someone you might not have.  You never know where it could take you. Honestly, it’s how I met the love of my life.

Speaking of which…

PITHY AND REMARKABLY USEFUL TID-BIT FROM THERAPIST #2

…went something like this:

“Take a pencil and a piece of paper. Draw a simple circle. Make a point in the middle of the circle. Now draw a line from the point in the center of the circle to any point on the outside of the circle. (This is a lot easier than I am making it sound.) Now draw a second line from the center point maybe 3 degrees from the first line.

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If you kept on drawing those lines further and further out, they’d end up really far apart from each other.

Line ONE is the path you are on.

Line TWO is where the new choice takes you. Just 3 degrees of change can make you end up far away then where you were headed.”

BETTER CHOICES + TIME = NEW LIFE.

BTW SARK has many suggestions as to how to make what she called MICRO MOVEMENTS fun. (I love SARK.)

PITHY AND SURPRISINGLY USEFUL ADVICE FROM SHRINK #3

“Here’s your homework. Go home and WATCH JUDGE JUDY.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 12.41.57 PMSeriously… my therapist told me to watch Judge Judy. When I did, I realized that I was being really “wishy-washy” in my life, giving some people FAR too much credit, and definitely not standing up for myself. I needed a New York Overhaul and JJ was just the lady to help me out. I can’t say it worked overnight, so if you are shy, like I used to be, repeated viewing is highly suggested.

Finally, in order to accomplish any goal, all you really need is one attribute. I think this ONE THING is what separates those who change their lives from those who never do.

WILLINGNESS. If you are willing to change, or can cultivate the willingness to change, then you can change your life. I admit, sometimes I know what I have to do in order to change, I’m just not willing to do it. But at least I am 100% clear that I am choosing to NOT be willing. The willingness to change sometimes comes slowly and is usually accompanied by great pain, and pain… well, pain sucks. But enough of it sure can make you willing to change.

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11 thoughts on “Better Choices + Time = New Life

  1. Cady,
    Your last two posts have been really helpful to me. I love the post it note from the last post, I try to do that once a week now (with a different saying each week) I met up with an old friend recently, and I laughed more than I have in a long time. I am definitely going to try the “talk to they guy on the other side of me” The last few guys I’ve been attracted to, of course ended with drama. Thank you so much for sharing, I’ve been looking to make a change for the better in my life and your last 2 posts seem really poised to help me with that. Thank you so much!!!

  2. This entire post speaks to me, but that last paragraph about willingness really got to me. It’s been a little over a year since I asked for help and really felt willing and able to do what I need to get to a better, safer place to find myself and to trust that actually exists. I’ve found that pain inflicted on me gave me the strength to speak up — but in that action it did also bring more pain. I am so close — my fight is almost over because I’ve been willing to keep going and do what I have to do. But I’ve noticed that as the freedom gets closer, my willingness to fight is getting harder. I’ve spent more days in the last few months not seeing the point, wanting to give up, feeling completely alone like no one can see how hard it’s hitting me. Yet, I’ll feel that way and recognize it’s not the kind of energy I need in my life, and I think, at least I can recognize it even if I have a hard time pulling myself out of it. (Especially when things like the hair incident the other day occur.) In my head I don’t WANT to wait for all of the extra steps it’s taking for me to be safe. I just want this to be over and in the space and freedom that’s mine. My willingness is shaky and I don’t like that. Change is showing me who’s boss — and then I read things like this from you and I know I can’t quit now, that would just be stupid. So, thank you. Your voice has been so invaluable in getting me through the end of this battle. I hope you know that and know how much that means to me. I think you do. Sending so much love your way, always.

    1. I am so glad that you are looking for your FIGHT. It’s so important. Not that it means we become unreasonable, but that we stand strong for our personal dignity. Sending you waves of good energy!

  3. Thanks so much Cady! Your positive views have made me feel better and have inspired me. I really want to make a change for the better, it is just tough because I have kids so it will impact them, but for the better too! We only have one life to live and I want to live the best I can and to be happy!

    P.S. My mom used to say I looked like you when we would watch Dixie on AMC! I was in high school at the time and we would watch AMC when I would get out of school. It was a great memory we had together. (She passed away at age 50 in 1997 from breast cancer.)

    Glad I can follow you & your career!
    PLEASE keep writing!

    1. So sorry to hear about your mom. That’s tough, I know. My mom died from breast cancer when she was 57 and I was 25. No matter how crazy she was it was devastating. But I do encourage you to make sure your kids don’t have to witness unnecessary drama or suffering. Childhood only lasts a few years but impacts you the rest of your life.

  4. Cady, I think this is excellent helpful advice. I have seen quite the smorgasbord of therapists in my day, and sometimes it is the smallest, pithiest comments that do the trick in terms of illumination or contextualizing a behaviour that finally click. One for me was quite recent. My shrink said to me after I just had weight-loss surgery, “food is not companionship”. I’ve been dancing around this idea with other therapists for decades, but four words from this guy and it was the proverbial light bulb going off over my head. Another oldie but goodie is this, which you sometimes see as a meme on Facebook, and is attributed to Einstein: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” When I kept dating narcissistic men and wound up miserable, I was in mid-kvetch to a shrink and he said this to me. The takeaway is that I, me, MYSELF had to change MY behavior in order to get a different outcome. I really appreciate your openness when it comes to being in therapy–why people still have reservations about it is beyond me. It has changed my life in many positive ways, but mainly it has freed me up to be the power and change in my own life. Better choices and time = new life is the answer to self-destructive behavior patterns. Thanks for sharing yours with me.

    1. Wow that’s a great line, “Food is not companionship.” I will have to remember that. I know that second one, but it’s always apt and useful. Good stuff! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with me.

  5. Love you Cady..always wanting to help! I will read this several more time THANK YOU!! Maybe others can actually improve from your years of therapy! Money well spent when you share…have a great feeling about this advice!

  6. I don’t remember how we got on this topic but you passed on “PITHY ADVICE FROM THERAPIST #1” to me the last time we talked and it’s definitely working.

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