Joy sets goals for continuous achievement, and loves connecting with others by helping them reach their own ideals and aspirations.
Deciding Fear Categories Wisely
What are the most immediate fears stopping you from delighting in life? What keeps you up at night? What would you change about yourself emotionally, if you had the power to choose and have it done?
You're not that far from being able to do just this, dear reader.
Let your most immediate, urgent fear be your starting point for the exercises and techniques given in this article. This does not necessarily mean your strongest fear. It means the fear that is most messing up your life now, or will be the most inhibiting in the coming month.
If you are unsure which fear is the most urgent, define it using the following suggestions.
Determining Your Fear Categories
What is the next event or holiday which you wish didn't exist?
What happens when you brainstorm categories and aspects of your life which disturb you?, i.e. Valentine's Day, water, poor health, your relationship with __________.
What pops up when you use the lists from the emotions exercises in Part 8 of this series, "Facing Your Emotions"?
What makes you feel manipulated by others, or even yourself? For example, when someone says, "Please" or "Thank you," what do you really hear? (For me, "please" makes me feel obligated, and "thank you" sounds like, "You were acceptable, but now your job is finished—go away.")
Consider using topics you've already come up with as you've explored yourself through the time spent learning the techniques in previous articles in this series.
Valentine's Day—Personal Experience
The first time I did this exercise effectively, Valentine's Day was looming in front of me, about a month away. I hated and dreaded Valentine's Day. As an adult, it had proven to be an encapsulation of stress, horror, flashbacks, and sexual and emotional trauma. I wanted to wipe it off the calendar, and out of my partner's memory. Since I couldn't get rid of either the day or my partner's expectations, I set out to change my viewpoint. I sought to make the days leading up to it times of wonder and creativity. I first asked myself the questions:
- In what ways did the reality differ from my ideal?
- What was my ideal?
- And in what small ways could I provide for myself a few pleasant experiences, in spite of traditions, routines, and my partner's expectations?
- What had I always wanted to do, and never done?
For me, making and decorating sugar cookies was the answer. This in itself was a huge undertaking.
Making cookies was a thing that always sounded fun, but quickly turned into a chore or a nightmarish experience full of regrets and brokenness. Not to mention a disaster of frosting smears, sprinkles, and piles of dirty dishes.
But I had been telling myself for the last several years that I would try a wet-on-wet decorating technique for some holiday, and I realized this had better be the one. For one thing, I envisioned my own regret a year or two down the road when my daughter was too old to want to make cookies together. This might well be my one chance to make good on a longstanding ideal as a mother. So be it. I needed at least one happy memory of making cookies as a mama.
Planning the Change
I browsed Pinterest and gathered a collection of ideas calculated to inspire and delight, while keeping the project as simple and direct as possible. Since my goal was to reformat my emotions about the holiday, almost two weeks before Valentine's Day, I mixed up a never-fail rolled cookie recipe. The dough sat in the refrigerator overnight. I lay awake after getting in bed, going over which cookie cutters I would use, and how many tints of frosting I would mix. I had long ago settled on a basic pattern, based on three colors of icing done in swirls and stripes.
As it turned out, my daughter wanted to help cut out the cookies, and between us we made hearts in two styles, alongside chickens, and stars. It was a rather odd assortment, but made us happy.
That afternoon, we decorated a trayful each. I had made icing in two shades of pink--one deep and one mild--also white, and black. This was my first time using activated charcoal powder in frosting, but we loved the results. The consistency was softer than the other colors and took longer to set, but the look was everything we had hoped for.
My husband and son were present while my daughter and I frosted the cookies, and it turned out to be a lowkey, pleasant experience. The wood stove was lit, the weather was brisk, and just as the decorating challenge was finished, the sun shone in golden and lit the way for some satisfactory camera shots.
Many of the cookies were eaten before Valentine's day, but a few remained until then.
The act of eating one or two per day, and recalling the unhurried, unconfused way in which they came about, made them worth all the effort. My view of Valentine's Day as containing nothing but dread began to be revamped.
That's one happy memory behind me.
Valentine's Day Resolution Inspiration
Why the Plan Worked
Starting way ahead of time on the plans and goals paved the way for a smooth experience. Taking time to build a file of fun ideas, then winnow it down to the most needful and doable (aka stress-free), took time and repeated effort. Yet the time I invested ensured that I knew what I truly wanted, and could define the steps to getting it. It also ensured that I had a clear vision of various acceptable outcomes, not just one, and that I could happily modify my approach in case of illness, exhaustion, lack of involvement from my daughter, or unexpected events.
Careful planning of procedures and tools ensured that I didn't forget crucial items, and that my DID system had a chance to discuss the event, with each alter deciding whether they wanted to be involved, and how. I made sure I had all baking ingredients in sufficient quantities, and that they were easily accessible. I gathered and cleaned all the cookie cutters I thought I might use, several days in advance. (Some had been used in a kitchen display; others had been stored in odd places at different times as, being a collector, I sporadically acquired more.)
The last essential springboard to success involved finding goals I adored--not merely ones I'd settle for. The fun of all this planning and the lovely results meant I would be glad to recall the experience in coming years, and could use it to encourage myself to create more changes in other areas. Also, I now have a Pinterest file of foods and activities I would like to try for future Valentine's Days.
I know now that it is possible to readjust my viewpoints, providing potential happiness no matter what others choose.
Herein lies a huge truth: You can only change you. And nobody else.
I am calling this truth the MakeoverMe concept. This is how I label it in my Vision Boards.
At first, before the MakeoverMe concept, I had some Fear Category ideas tucked away in a Pinterest Board called "Fears Are Resolved". I designed Section titles which made me feel inspired to click in and review my choices and options. These satisfying titles lead automatically to thoughts of joyful changes.
- SpringEcstasies, EasterGlow
- SummerRomance, Star•Haven
- Local Jaunts
- Travel Joys
- Friends Connect
- When a Grandmother