Today I am working hard to change my inner “Script”. That does not come easy. I have learned that this phrase is true…..”No significant change comes without pain”. As I am working through the pain of trying to change my old behaviors and beliefs, the memory of where this phrase came from hit me right between the eyes like a 2 X 4! (Usually the only way I see a life lesson)
The first time I heard the phrase “No significant change comes without pain” I wanted to punch the person who said it! It was said by a military style counselor at Canyon State Academy (a military type school) in Arizona where I was dropping off my 15 year old son after several failed attempts to save him from what was shaping up to be a long life of drug abuse and jail time. When I heard that phrase, I remember thinking to myself, “OH MY GOD! Hasn’t this kid hurt enough already?! How in the hell can more pain help him?”. I believed he was a product of our failed parenting, a kid caught in the middle of a horrible divorce and emotionally neglected by the two people who should have put him first. Instead, we were wrapped up in our own hateful fighting. Ignoring all the dangerous signs and both blaming the other. I carry a lot of regret from those days. At the time I had run out of options and the juvenile judge ran out of patience for his antics. I had to do something before the State made that decision for us.
When it was time for me to leave him at the academy, my son broke down crying, begging me to take him home, promising me he would change. I had heard these words before. I truly believed that if I didn’t do something drastic, he was going to die…. and so I hugged him tightly and then turned around and walked out of the facility. I could hear him calling to me through his tears as I left the building. It broke me. For me, the months that followed were riddled with anxiety attacks, depression and a feeling of complete powerlessness and failure. Little did I know that this was going to be the catalyst for not only his transformation but mine as well. This was certainly a “pain” that would bring about “significant change” for me. I began to realize that this was beyond anything I could control. It didn’t matter how tough I was or how much I thought I knew. This was beyond me. I tortured myself with questions like, “Was I just prolonging the inevitable with my son or was this choice I made for him going to alter his course? If it did alter his course, was it going to be for the better or worse?” That all depended on him. Not me. It was out of my control. This was probably the first “brick” in my “compound of control” to come crashing down. So many more followed in the coming years.
Fast forward to today (many years later). My son has told me on many occasions that his stay at Canyon State Academy saved him. He was pushed so much further then he thought he could handle but, in turn, he realized that he was so much stronger and smarter then he thought. What was strange was that my lesson through this ordeal was exactly the same. Well, at least the part about being pushed much further then I thought I could handle. The whole “stronger/smarter” part didn’t come until later.
I try to remember this event in my life every time I have an anxiety attack about pursuing my life’s ambitions and every time I feel like the pain and scariness of the unknown isn’t worth the effort. I’m done with the old “script”. I’m ready for significant change.