A friend recently asked me a great question. He wanted to know how, as a counselor, I helped people Live the Life. My answer went something like this…
I have a friend who leads powerful training sessions all across the country. On many
occasions I have heard him say that one of the reasons he is not married is that, as he helps people change their lives, he sees the kinds of relationships they have with their spouses… and he doesn’t want to live life like that. Each time I hear him say this, my gut hurts. I know that many times he is right. Husbands and wives often live lives of quite desperation and loneliness, intense conflict and ugliness, or vacillate between the two extremes. There have been points in my own life that I feared my wife and I were doomed to be one of those (see I was Desperate for one of those times). At the same time I recognize the sad state of many our marriages and familes, I hold to the hope and knowledge that we were created for so much more. And that is what Live the Life is about.
Living the Life means living our lives with passion, intimate connection, and total commitment. It means living a life of purpose and meaning and being productively engaged with friends, family, community, work, etc.
Living the Life means being engaged in a continual restorative work. Becoming that unique, creative masterpiece you or I were created to be! But, like a painting that has become faded and tarnished and its value is hard to recognize, you and I become tarnished by life. The lives we live fall short of what we were created for. We get frustrated and demoralized because we can’t get where we want to be. It seems like there’s an impenetrable wall that we cannot break through and we become discouraged and disillusioned.
The “problem” might be obesity, anger, relationship conflict or distance, depression, anxiety and worry, professional stagnation or failure, over working, or any number of other issues that seem impossible to change. We often have the skills and knowledge needed to live differently, but still feel powerless to change. We might even experience bursts of motivation where do our best to change but give up after we make little or no progress.
The walls that keep us from living the life we were created for are many and as varied as there are people on the planet. However, below I describe some of the more common types of walls that I see people dealing with:
Conflicting Commitments: Sometimes the things we believe we are committed to get sabotaged by conflicting commitments we are not even aware of. I had been experiencing one of these walls until last summer when I discovered I was more committed to being safe than successful.
Past Trauma or Abuse: When someone experiences a traumatic event, our bodies are designed to produce chemicals that shut down parts of our brain. Because of this, our brains don’t fully process information from that event and a portion of the memory is frozen in time. This results in responding to something similar in the present with the full emotional weight of the past.
Negative belief systems: I often see this in terms of believing lies about ourselves. Sometimes this comes from a confused identity, from negative programming as a child, from past trauma, or something else. For example, if I believe in my core that I’m a failure if someone is unhappy, then I will live most of my life as a failure because, there will almost always be at least one person in my life that is not happy at that moment.
In short, most of us live lives that only dimly represent the splendor and richness we were created for. I am privileged to help people engage in the restoration process so they can live their life as the masterpiece they were created to be.
Live the Life
You were created for More!
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