Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Law of Evolution #2: Measurement Is Empowering

Evolutionary Law #2: Measurement is Empowering. In order to evolve constructively, I must remember where I started, acknowledge the roads taken, and consistently measure my progress. Intelligent evolution cannot occur without consistent and accurate personal measurement.

The purpose behind the second law is to learn how to apply the discipline of the personal responsibility to foster evolution in a positive, intelligent, grounded, and empowering manner. The second law is rooted in the application of personal responsibility with a focus on becoming an observer of ourselves in our lives, instead of just a participant. In order words, we must focus on learning about our behavior instead of being victimized by it. Mind you, this does not happen all the time -- but we need to understand when it does, and why we chose in that moment to react that way.

Divorce can be such a roller coaster ride. The range of emotions you experience can be overwhelming at times. And it is during these times that we lose our focus on what is truly beneficial in our lives. Since the roller coaster is an internal one, it can be difficult to recognize in the moment what you are feeling and the effect is has on you as you live your life. Depression, anger, resentment, pity, fear, doubt, guilt -- each of these feelings can be debilitating. It is in these debilitating moments that we need to look inside ourselves, and make an effort to understand and measure the following about our experience through divorce:

  • Why do I feel like this? It's important to get to the root of our feelings. As yourself why your feelings have taken this turn, and be honest with yourself about what you are experiencing (try to be as specific as possible; "upset" is not the same as "angry and rejected"). While it is important to live in your experience, is it also important to not be driven by it. No empowerment can come from a lack of control. So, ask yourself humble, introspective questions and be brave enough to answer them with dignity.
  • What triggered these feelings? Once you can describe your feelings, the next question to ask is what triggered them. Was it a conversation, or familiar memory, or maybe even a feeling or emotion? The importance behind this question is that we need to understand the root or source of our experience if we are ever going to be in a position to change it.
  • What is my payoff for feeling like this? In addition to getting to the root, we need to ask what is the "benefit" we are receiving for our feelings. Now, I use the word benefit loosely here, because it most cases there really isn't one. As part of our evolution, we need to understand the payoffs that help perpetuate our less-than-beneficial emotional states.

Through these questions, we can construct a framework for measuring and educating ourselves regarding the root of our experiences. Once we understand that, we can then empower ourselves to change our experience for the better. Divorce can be so reactionary, so defensive. Well, when we react and become defensive, we release our ability to be introspective about our experience. Try to recognize this the next time you find yourself reacting to an event stemming from your divorce.

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