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Use your imagination

So, how’s that treating yourself with compassion thing going? That loving yourself, so that you can love others. It’s tough to sustain changing your behavior. And life’s getting busier. We’re right in the middle of Hannukah, two weeks away from Christmas and Kwanzaa and then – bang! – it’s New Years! Busy, busy, busy.

I have a suggestion. Use your imagination!

Sometimes when I’m feeling the frenzy rise – maybe I’m trying to finish up the last two errands and get home to feed the cat and cook dinner but I just turned the corner and got stuck in a traffic jam (ugh!) – I will tune the radio to the classical music station. Not classic rock – classical. And, I’ll just imagine myself a character in a story where the music is the soundtrack. The back and forth of the violins matches my hurried pace. The boom, boom, boom of a tympani drum matches me finding a parking spot, getting into the store and finding what I need and getting right back out. The French horn or oboe woos me into a comfortable satisfaction and, as I turn the car into my driveway, the full crescendo of all the instruments coming together at the end salutes my accomplishments. I’m the star of my own movie!

Maybe you have to attend an obligatory office party and you’d rather stay home. Whatever you decide to do, play it out in your imagination the way you WANT it to go. See yourself at the party, speaking to that new hire you haven’t had a chance to really talk to for five or ten minutes, saying hello to one or two others and then graciously thanking the host and leaving before the Yankee Swap. Or you’ve said, “No, thank you,” and you are home in your PJs, having a sip and a snack while finally watching your favorite Christmas movie that you haven’t had time for until just now, because you made the time. Either way, picture it and then make it happen.

Using your imagination is like magic. And once you actively harness this skill, you can make miracles happen in your life. Instead of reacting, be proactive. Instead of feeling stuck, imagine a different outcome. And, if you think this is too hard, you can’t change who you are, you might be interested in a guy named Prochaska who posited a five-step theory of changing behavior in the ‘70s that is quite highly regarded where you don’t even ACT until the fourth step!! He got it. He knew change is hard. And he knew that you need to use your imagination before you can even THINK about making any change. In fact, the first step is pre-contemplation, which is basically not even thinking about it. I love that!

So, yes, if being kind to yourself is hard, you have a lot of company. But you can do it. And you can even have fun doing it. Use your imagination. ‘Tis the season.




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