Do. You. is a guest column by Tasha Richardson a Public Ally for the National Runaway Safeline. She dreams of changing the world one thought and…

Do. You. is a guest column by Tasha Richardson a Public Ally for the National Runaway Safeline. She dreams of changing the world one thought and positive interaction at a time.  She is in her third term of service with AmeriCorps and would love to dedicate her life to service in the years to come. 

Just in time for Mental Wellness Month (January 2014) “Do. You.” provides helpful tips on coping strategy, being more resilient, and working through problems. In this installment, Tasha encourages us to embrace our inner change (visit earlier installment below).

We can only change our stories, our thoughts, our actions, and ourselves.  Oftentimes, when we adopt the belief that our situation can only get better if we change the people, circumstances, events, and things that surround us, we are settling for temporary ‘quick’ fixes and/or inertia over action.  This is akin to placing a bandage on a wound that really requires stitches–placing a delay upon the inevitable.

Let’s face it!  Sometimes, we just cannot change our outer circumstances.  Most times, this change is impossible because people will not change unless they want to and because many things, events, and circumstances lie outside of our locus of control.  Examples of this include us not having the means, ability, know-how, or legal authority to effectively change the outer world.  Where does this leave us then?  This situation begs for us to turn inward, allowing us to see what changes we could make within that could improve our situation.

This list of externalities can be limitless.  In fact, those not versed in something like the Do.You. model could see this list of externalities and feel stuck, vacillating between hopelessness/despair and self-righteous indignation.  Those who do choose to adopt a way of thinking such as the Do.You. model will use this as an opportunity for an inward retreat.

Tatiana’s story can help us illustrate this principle.  Here are some of the outer facts that Tatiana has no choice but to contend with:

  1. Tatiana is 15, a minor subject to the laws that govern those of her age group.  For example, if Tatiana does choose to run away, she’ll be subject to even greater danger
  2. Her mother can choose to continue focusing much of her attention on Ramón.
  3. Ramón can choose to continue to act in ways that Tatiana dislikes.

This list of externalities can be limitless.  In fact, those not versed in something like the Do.You. model could see this list of externalities and feel stuck, vacillating between hopelessness/despair and self-righteous indignation.  Those who do choose to adopt a way of thinking such as the Do.You. model will use this as an opportunity for an inward retreat.

Tatiana and those like her can opt to see the potential and empowerment that exists within rather than the limiting factors that exist without.  Just as Tatiana was able to see the things that were holding her back from action, Tatiana could now consider what things she could do that could propel her forward.

Practical Tips for Tatiana and the Reader:

  1. Be honest with yourself.  What is it that you really want?
  2. Rephrase what you want as a question.  Since you have followed the first two principles, you may now have an idea of what it is that you want. Brainstorm actions you can take to receive those things.
    1. Example: After self-exploration, Tatiana found that she wants a better relationship with her mother and acknowledgement for the extra contributions she’s been making.  So Tatiana would write: How might I achieve a better relationship with my mother and receive acknowledgement for my extra contributions?
  3. Brainstorm people and other resources that can help support you in your efforts.
  4. List good things that have come from your situation.
  5. Every day, write about the people, places, circumstances, and things for which you are grateful.
  6. Name some goals and activities that you take pleasure in doing that is not related to your current situation. Be sure to engage in them often.
  7. Smile about and visualize your ideal situation.
  8. Find encouragement from expected and unexpected places.
  9. Congratulate yourself for all of the empowering efforts you have made to create a new situation for yourself.

This concludes our fourth installment of the Do.You. Series.  Stay tuned for our final installment where we put it all together and find helpful resources to help us on our journey.