Permission to Be New

September 8, 2023

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by Kim Childs, CPPC

Three and a half years ago, life as we knew it changed as a global pandemic began to shut things down and create new behaviors and circumstances, some still with us. Weather patterns have also been changing and, whether we accept these alterations or not, there’s no going back to “normal” (whatever that was).

From my perspective, this gives each of us radical permission to be new and different, too.

Adapting to pandemic-related and climate changes has been part of my agenda this year, while major shifts in my business and family life have also challenged my acceptance and equilibrium. It’s been a hard and scary ride and I’m hanging on as best I can, while allowing for the emotions that come with grief and loss.

I’m also discovering that clinging to what’s going or gone is an unproductive and painful strategy.

As I make more and more room for change in my life, I’ve been thinking about how I get to be someone new in this process, even if that identity is revealing itself slowly. Letting go of the past and how things were means I also get to let go of my past and who I’ve been, almost as if those things happened to – and were – a different person.

Of course, I can keep any good memories, traits, habits, people, and things that truly serve me if I so desire.

What being new looks like on my end is exploring behaviors, word choices, habits, and ways of thinking that are different from what the old me would have done. This includes practicing generous love and acceptance for myself and being less critical and judgmental of others, in words and thought.

Note that I said practicing, because it’s all a work in progress, and the old ways do fight for their life.

Humility is a big part of this, as is audacity, contrary as that seems. For example, when I disagree with someone I may stop to think, “Well, I could be wrong” or “There’s another way to view this.” When I’m feeling self-conscious, I’ll challenge perceived judgment from others with “Who cares (about whatever flaws or imperfections people might notice in me)?!”

For me, it’s a lot more about flowing than forcing these days. It’s also about learning to master my reactions and responses to produce the mindset and results I desire.

What would being new look like to you? Can you change how you’ve always been and still hold on to what’s essential and true about you at the core? Can you improve upon what’s already great in you and try some new ways of being and doing that expand your comfort zone?

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

Q: What story about who and how you are no longer fits or feels helpful?

Q: What behaviors (or coping mechanisms) are no longer working for you? Can you start changing one?

Q: What seems to be ending in your life, even if, or especially if, you don’t want to acknowledge it?

Q: What have you never allowed yourself to even try or do that you could experiment with now?

See what answers come, experiment, and have lots of patience with yourself, because the old you (and your amygdala) will push back and try to keep you safely stuck in what’s familiar. And if I can help you on this journey, please reach out.

Kim Childs, CPPC, is a Certified Life and Career Coach specializing in Positive Psychology, creativity, and life transitions. Click here to learn more and schedule an initial consultation.